Monday, April 23, 2012

Can't Afford It Yet...

Having a pet DOG I mean. We have some neighbors who have pets and sometimes, we would meet them at the elevator. My little girl would always say "Wie süß" which means "how sweet" in English and I can see her delight each time she sees a dog or a cat. Most of the time, she would attempt to pet them.

If only it is that easy to have pet dogs here. Not only are they expensive, you have to pay taxes and also have the responsibility to regulary walk them. We cannot afford such additional expenses yet. And if you add the different pet care paraphernalia like bed for pet, leash, coats, cage, toys, etc., I can say that it is not yet time. Aside from the inability to afford it financially, we also cannot afford it time-wise. It is just too much work for now since I am busy working on my Master Thesis. Instead of taking care of a pet, I would rather spend my time at home taking care of my family and our household.

I know that there will be a time for everything. The time to care for pets will just come.

URUS: Lamborghini's SUV

Sport Utility Vehicles or SUVs have been very popular in the market especially in the late 1990's and early 2000's because of their off-road capabilities. These are usually big cars, meaning they are built on a light truck chassis. They are also referred to as "off-road vehicle", "four-wheel drive" (4WD) or "four by four" (4x4) in other countries.

Although not a car enthusiast myself, I cannot help but be updated on the latest about car models, thanks to a husband who basically works with cars and who is an avid follower of Top Gear, a British television series about motor vehicles. The latest is about the revelation of Lamborghini's latest concept car: the URUS, a sport utility vehicle.

This car concept will be made public tomorrow, 23rd of April at the 2012 Beijing Motor Show in China. In the meantime, enjoy these leaked renderings of the SUV concept:

More photos at

It Helps To Read

So many special offers abound the internet today and they are very tempting because they all seem to appear really CHEAP. They appear to offer big savings to the buyer. One must be careful when buying these internet "deals" because there are fine prints written at the end of the page, conditions that in the end, if you sum things up will cost you almost the regular price available in shops.

I am not saying to stop buying these special deals, because I too purchase some of them. I am just saying to read first to learn more about the benefits before jumping in. It is better to be sure on what you are purchasing, otherwise if you change your mind after you have completed the purchase, it will be too late and you can't return it anymore for a refund.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Stuttgarter Frühlingsfest 2012

It's raining, it's pouring... The first day of the Stuttgarter Frühlingsfest 2012 began today with dark, cloudy skies, scattered rain showers during the day and a downpour in the evening. The  But they say rain promises good things. Perhaps it is true since weather forecasts for next week indicate that beginning Wednesday, there'll be more sun and it will be warmer. Gott sei dank!

A snapshot showing the giant ferris wheel at Cannstatter Wasen. Shot taken at 23:21 this evening. 
The Stuttgarter Frühlingsfest is an annual spring festival now on its 74th year and is one of the most attended festivals here in Stuttgart. It takes places, as always, at Cannstatter Wasen in Bad Cannstatt and will run from the 21st of April until the 13th of May. Sometimes called the "small Wasen" because it is smaller than the Cannstatter Volksfest (Stuttgart's Beer Festival) in autumn, it offers fun for all ages with its multifarious rides, food and drinks.

For families, Wednesday is the best day to come because it's Family Day! Families can enjoy the rides and game booths at reduced  prices and there are many wonderful surprises that await children such as face painting, balloon art and more.

Other interesting scheduled events to take note of:

The International Hot Air Balloon Competition "Stuttgart Linde Open 2012"
Saturday, 12 May 2012 - from 6:00 PM

Musical Fireworks
Sunday, 13 May 2012 - from 9:45 PM

Entrance to the fair grounds is FREE. Just be sure to bring with you lots of loose change so you can enjoy the rides, the food and the drinks! Have fun at the Stuttgarter Frühlingsfest!

Visit (in German) to learn more.

Longer Days Are Here Again

Yes, longer days are here again. For a few weeks now, one can observe that the sun now sets at half past eight in the evenings. Kind of difficult to send your little ones to sleep when they can see that the sun is still up, right? They would always reason out: "But the sun is still up, it is not yet dark... Please Mommy, one more game!" And they look at you with their pleading eyes that could easily melt your heart. What's a mother to do?

I have a trick for keeping the sunlight out though. I roll down the shutters when me and my daughter get home from the Kindergarten. I make sure that the little princess is preoccupied with something before I do so so that she will not notice that it suddenly became dark inside the house. If you don't have shutters and have a penchant for natural home decors too, bamboo blinds would be a good option. Or you can also opt for thick curtains in the bedroom to block the light. Just make sure to allow light to stream in during the day though so your room doesn't get stuffy.

With longer days here to stay in the next few months, one can do so much... But one has to keep his or her sleeping time or else you lose hours of valuable sleep. And that is one thing a child shouldn't be deprived of: a good ten hours of sleep.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Vertically Challenged

We Asians are not really tall people so that compared to our European neighbors, one can say that we are "vertically challenged". But what we lack in height we compensate for our being big-hearted. Don't you agree?

In my country, I have average height. Not tall and not short. But here, I am considered a "shortie". And yes, there have been challenges, especially if you are mixed in a sea of tall people. It will be very difficult to find you in a crowd or it would be hard to see the performers at a standing concert, especially if you're at the back. Ever had any difficulties reaching for grocery items from the shelves. I remember having to ask hubby to reach a bottle of shampoo or anything that is out of my reach for me or ask someone tall to get a pack of mineral water from the shelves because I cannot reach it. It is sometimes embarassing but I have to do it so I can completely tick off my grocery list. :)

Even at home, there are challenges too. I would need at least two step stools to reach for something that is stored in the overhead cupboards. Then my lower back would hurt from standing while washing the dishes. This is because the sink is quite high and it is not a very comfortable position to be washing with your arms a little bit raised than normal. Thankfully though, we got ourselves a dishwasher. We get to save water, which is very expensive, and my lower back wouldn't have to suffer so much!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Insel Mainau The Second Time Around

Looking for a place to go to this Spring? It is always a good idea to visit parks and gardens at this time of the year because it is the time when tulips are abundant. Growing up in a country where hibiscus and orchids abound, I have always wanted to see tulips and be able to enjoy its beauty even at my own home. Since Keukenhof Garden is a considerable six hours from Stuttgart, we opted to visit the flower island of Mainau, which is located in Lake Constance (Bodensee), which is only a two-hour drive from here.

This Sakura or cherry blossom tree is very famous among the park's visitors.
A souvenir photo is a must!
It was already half past twelve when we left and when we arrived there, we were still able to enjoy the walks, the flowers, the view and the playgrounds, thanks to long days. What is nice about Insel Mainau is that it closes when the sun sets so if the sun will set at 20:15, that is the time when it will close its doors to the public.
Best discovery of the day: a sea of tulips!
It is a good idea to have a park map on hand so that you can tour the place efficiently. But since we were not that in a hurry, we took our time, walking around and took a different route. And we found a very pleasant and beautiful view: a sea of tulips growing on one side of the soft slopes of the island. I never imagined it to be that beautiful... I know my photography skills are second to none and it cannot do justice to the beauty in front of me so all I can do was take in the moment and savor its beauty while I am there.

My not-so-little girl  happily  feeding the goats.
My not-so-little girl was also able to enjoy the children's playground and the Streichelzoo. The weather was fine and she was able to play around, crossing different rope bridges, climbing wooden structures and pulling the raft. She was so happy to see some farm animals like donkeys and ponies, llamas and goats, chicken and rabbits, and also be able to pet the goats and feed them. I even learned a new word from her: Ziege, the German word for goat.

It was a relaxing afternoon. Although it was just a short trip, it was enough to recharge us - renewing our batteries and taking away the stress - enough indeed to last for the next few months. Until the next trip!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Turquoise Anyone?

When you encounter the word turquoise, what first comes to mind?

Image Source:
One could easily associate it with a gem of the same name but it is more commonly associated with color. Turquoise or türkis (in German) is a color with a blueish tone of light green. Seeing this color alway reminds me of pristine, shallow waters of white sandy beaches.

Photo source:
This color is also very popular in the spring season so that it is more or less a must in your spring wardrobe collection. Popular fashion items include footwear, accessories, tops, belts, dresses, even nail polish color. With this color in your wardrobe, you are surely on the right track.

Say It With Car Magnets

You have a white car. You have a business and is always on the go. You want to place an advertisement on your car but is very reluctant to have the ad painted directly on it because the ad will only be for the time being. The  best way to go? With car magnets, of course! You could just imagine the endless possibilities these little but very powerful wonders could do!

An effective marketing tool. Placing an ad with your business name, website address, contact number and even a short catch phrase on vehicles is a very effective form of marketing tool. This is because most people these days are visual. If they see something that is eye-catching, chances are they would check it out. And in this modern world, where there is a very competitive market, an attractive and customized ad design is just as important as the actual service rendered by the business itself. I guess what makes vehicle ads appealing is that it is dynamic and flexible.

Endless possibilities. Car magnets need not be limited to business ads only. You could design it and stick it on your car according to your present need. It can be used as a political ad during the election period. Or as a welcome banner to important persons. It can even be stuck to wedding cars with a message bearing "Just Married". It will give a modern touch to it... You can be creative. There's even reflective ones to make the sign visible even at night, which is very helpful for law-enforcement and security vehicles.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Dry or Wet?

HUMIDITY. We all hear this word every now and then. We hear of it almost always being mentioned in weather forecasts. In industries, process engineers have to deal with it. I personally had to deal with this word for one or two semesters. Then there's the label that says: "Store in a cool, dry place." We don't realize it but it affects our health as well. No, this is not a lecture. It's just that, it was only until recently that we realized its significance since it has greatly affect my husband's health. :)

Maybe we are paranoid but ever since we moved here, Hubby's asthma has worsened. It heightens during the winter season, when the air is "too dry" = very low humidity. The specialist said that the asthma is an allergic reaction to house dust mites. I always try to keep the house dust-free and I replace the beddings at least every two weeks. But hubby still has attacks. It pains me to see him suffering.

One day, we saw this program on German tv about dangerous substances and molds inside the house and how it can greatly affect the health of those living in it. These are chemicals used in the treatment of wood which may be released into the air as time passes and may be inhaled, causing the dwellers to suddenly fall ill or be ill for long periods of time. Molds is not a new subject... we know that it dwells in warm and moist areas so that it is important to always ventilate the house, especially in areas that are wet, like the bathroom and the kitchen. The expert in that particular program always checks the humidity in the house that he investigates using a hygrometer. And that is where we got the idea. We thought it would be good to monitor the humidity in our home too.

So in-between looking for some Deer Solution online, as a gift for a friend who has a garden and wants to keep away stray animals from destroying her plants, I also did some readings about humidity, but on the health point of view. And here's what I found out:

During winter, the humidity is very low resulting to a very dry air. During summer, humidity is usually high, which equates to wet air. If the humidity in your home is too high, try to ventilate the rooms. Install exhaust fans or AC if necessary. If it is too low, you will need to add in moisture or water vapor. One can do this by installing a humidifier or for a quick remedy, boil water in a large covered pot and once the water has boiled, move it into the area that you want to humidify and open the lid to let the water vapors out.

Very low levels of below 25% causes increased discomfort and drying of the mucous membranes and skin, which can lead to chapping and irritation. Low RH also increases static electricity, which causes discomfort. This could also be the reason why my hair refuses to behave itself. :) High levels of humidity, on the other hand results to condensation indoors and on surfaces, which serves as breeding grounds of molds and fungi and leads to more health problems. A healthy indoor humidity? Between 40-60%.

Of Pedals and Stompboxes

I do not come from a musical family but I do love music. Although I love music, I do not know how to play a single musical instrument. Thankfully, my husband is into classical guitar playing. For three years now, he has been self-practicing and then found this online forum where he gets to have free lessons. He has made a lot of progress and is almost at the end of the "first year". I know he wants to enroll himself at a local guitar school but just doesn't have the time yet to get himself into one because of a hectic work schedule.

Anyway, he has equipped himself with some useful tools for his classical guitar lessons. He recently got himself a digital recorder that will record his music. Since he has some difficulties especially with rhythm, I think Zvex Effects stompboxes will help him to get into rhythm, or perhaps not. I am not so familiar with such tools or if effects pedals are applicable to classical guitars. I am certain though that most guitarists use this gear to help give their music that characteristic tone and unique sound.

STOMPBOXES. EFFECTS PEDALS. Two very foreign words that I thought I never would encounter in my life but just did. Hmmm... I wonder if the husband also knows... :-) Can someone tell me how they work?

Spring Brings New Life

Spring is here... And I love how everything comes back to life again... The flowers begin to bloom, the trees begin to grow their leaves again, the birds begin to sing in the crisp, morning breeze, squirrels begin to scuttle from tree to tree again. Yes, everything is coming back to life. Perhaps that is why they call it SPRING... to spring back to life.

But Spring has another significant meaning. In the Christian tradition, it is also during Springtime when we celebrate Easter, the day of Jesus' resurrection from the death. He was crucified and died on the cross and on the third day He rose again. Such LOVE is so great so that all of us may be saved.

This Holy Week, may we reflect on how great God's love is for us. And may we find ourselves celebrating Easter in a meaningful way. Indeed, Spring and Easter is something to be very happy about. Because from it,  HOPE comes. As a certain Bern Williams puts it,

"The day the Lord created HOPE 
was probably the same day he created SPRING."

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