Thursday, October 31, 2013

The History of Euro Halloween…through the eyes of my pumpkins...

Say hello to Stuart, the minion pumpkin :) #2013
It all started back in 2010, my first year in Europe. In a small town Maribor, Slovenia. 

The end of October rolled around and so did my expectations of a haunted 31st. I quickly came to the reality that my dreams of candy corn, pumpkins and witches were not going to be taking place on the streets of Europe.

There were many culture shocks and adjustments that year, but this? No Halloween was a tough one to wrap my mind around. 

Lucky for me, I had fellow Americans surrounding me, an American teammate, my brother a few hours away and my best friend in Austria; we brought the holiday to life. Dressing up, carving and all. Going out in our best costumes on Halloween night in Austria and having a ridiculous amount of stares at why our faces were painted was definitely a highlight of my many Halloween experiences. Halloween 2010= Success.
Dressing up for Halloween in Klagenfurt, Austria

Pumpkin Too Cool #2010

When we do things, we do them all out. Face paint and all

2011 I returned to Europe, but this time sans-Americanos. I was going solo this year. And I wasn't about to have a pumpkin-less Halloween. No thanks. 
And so the tradition began. Pitch my crazy American carving pumpkin idea to my current team and all brave enough to take on the adventure of buying a pumpkin and sinking their knives  in to it, would join!

Dasa's first pumpkin!! Happy happy happy!! :)

And I am happy to report I haven't had a disappointed customer yet. They all end up sharing my love for starting with a lump of orange and turning it into a glowing master piece. 

And no one has disappointed me. In 2012 we even had a one handed carver because her hand was broken and in a cast, no fear; I learned you only need 1 hand and 2 good feet to carve a pumpkin! Awesome!

The year 2013 has proven to be no different. This year being my biggest carving party yet and the result of 5 beautiful, unique kurbis', German style :) 
I would like to introduce you to:
Moot, Bleh, Helga, Hey Mulina aaaaand Stuart


Thanks Mama Valentine for the AMAZING decorations that completed our Pumpkin Party :) 

My favorite entry of the 2013 Annual Pumpkin Carve goes to a late entry by a non euro resident. But it was so good, it didn't matter that it was done in America. My brother. We were chatting the day of my pumpkin carving and I told him what we were up to and he mentioned he wanted to take part, I told him he definitely should. My night came to and end, I sent him my pumpkin, Stuart, and he was impressed. Then I went to bed.

The next morning I woke up to a myriad of text messages and Facebook posts from him. This was the first text:

"I have a sweet idea for a pumpkin. Devoting the rest of my Sunday night to it."

And then the pictures ensued. 
And this was the final masterpiece: 

"I see your minion and I raise you one evil minion"
#2013 MVP 
This pretty much just sums up why my brother is so awesome. I don't even have to explain. I just love it...Congratulations on your MVP Pumpkin Award brother, you never cease to amaze me. :)


There won't be any dressing up this year for us on Halloween but we did get to dress up as 'normal people' and not volleyball players Monday night after training and go to a "Player's Night". An event hosted by one of the newspapers in Hamburg.

The only thing that you need to know from this night was: The. Food. Was. Legit. 
Probably one of the best restaurants in Hamburg. Amazing.

The favorite of the night: Duck.
It was like Thanksgiving…but wait, isn't it supposed to be Halloween? But, Europe doesn't celebrate either of those…ok, now I am confused and I'm sure you are too. 
Point being, the duck was unreal.


Our next game is next Wednesday at home, the first round of Cup!
We play in 3 different types of leagues throughout the year. The first being, regular German league, the second being German Cup and the last is European Challenge Cup. 

Wednesday we drew Kopenick at home for the first round. The Cup is a win and advance or lose and go home situation. Therefore, we will be looking to pick up our first win of the year and a very important one at that, because advancing in Cup is a BIG deal. 

And I would say after all of the work we have put in this week and a few days to prepare next week we are going to be more than ready!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The sky is blue, the sun is shining and the PUMPKINS are out!! 
Purchase made today! 
What will your pumpkin be this year??
Kürbis-Zeit :)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

iiiiiiiit's HUMP DAY WEDNESDAY! So why not a random blog post to help ya through!

#ohhappyday #america
Nothing says, "It might be Hump Day Wednesday, but today is still a great day!", like new floor mats from my landlord. 'Oh happy day' and America.. I mean, she knows me so well eh? :) 

I also have a feeling this means wet and snow are around the corner...which brings grey and ughhh.. but for now the fall, 'herbst', in Hamburg is still beautiful as EVER!
My favorite tree outside of my kitchen window is beginning to lose it's beautiful leaves but tonight's sunset is great!

There was a late entry to my birthday blog post and I loved it so much it had to be shared...more words to live by! 

-Focus on positivity, daily
-Do excellent work, always, no matter the task
***We are meant to be ‘whole’ persons..think creatively, about life balance***
-Develop a leadership & communications style that conveys competence, character, courage and caring about others
-Embrace other women & girls:  be a role model and advocate for them

Try this simple exercise each day and you will be amazed about how your day goes; make this a routine for 30 days & I guarantee it will become habitual
1.      Before getting out of bed think of what you are grateful at that moment
2.      Then think about the last 24 hours and what you were most grateful for
3.      Lastly think about the day ahead and what you are anticipating to be grateful for, ideally it should link to a person

And if you're feeling bored on this Wednesday and need a fun game to pick you up, here's one for ya. The name of the game is: "If a face could tell a story, what would it say...."

Here's your picture:
If you're really bored, play with all 3 faces haha
Have fun!


And one last reading tid bit to leave you with, because hey, all you need is love in life and well this just sums it all up if you ask me!

"Because when you truly love, you give yourself completely.  You are filled with purpose. You open up and allow yourself to receive as much as you give. Theres a balance, an equilibrium, a sense of happiness. You are selfless but full of self. You are aware, and alive. You are full, satisfied but hungry. 
And this goes for all different kinds of love, on every level. So fill yourself with love, acknowledge it, feel it and share it. Love is coming at ya every day from all different angles, you just have to have the strength to see it and admit it. 
It comes from the hug of your mother, the hello of a co worker, the cool breeze in the air, the flowers you saw on the walk to work in your neighborhood, the smile from a stranger in the subway. Love is such a beautiful thing. And when you are fully immersed it is when you can feel truly alive. Love is the motivation behind everything and anything.... TO LOVE IS TO BE ALIVE."


Monday, October 21, 2013

*Photos credit of LIVE SPORT PHOTO*

We had a great crowd and atmosphere Saturday in our first home game and it felt so great to be back playing in our gym. We weren't able to pull out the win but there were improvements from last week's game and I am very positive for this team and the potential we hold.

Our next game is Saturday so we have a good solid week to work hard and prepare..success is on the horizon, I can feel it!! 

I came across this today and couldn't agree more with the message. So often we see the end result of how we want to be successful and don't see all of the work that goes in to it. And yes it is often very messy. If it was easy, well, everyone would be winning and then sport would not be what it is for us, thrilling, heart breaking and exciting. 

So back to the video room and gym we go; to find our flaws, grind through the hard times and we won't stop until we are successful.

Keep those fingers crossed (daumen drucken :)) for us as we keep working!! 

Sunday we had a fun opportunity to go the Hamburg Freezers Ice Hockey game as a team. They will in return be at our next home game!

They won 3-2, and we are hoping they return the favor of bringing good fortune *hint hint* :)
At the O2 Arena in Hamburg

Me and Stanley hanging out at the game :) 

In other parts of Euro living, I am working on improving my Deutsch every day. I find it really funny when I get to have conversations with my landlord. They are a really nice older couple that live below me and she is often asking me questions or how things function around the apartment.

It never ceases to be entertaining as our levels of each other's languages are about the same. And we both are trying to be accommodating for the other. I like to use the opportunities to use the German I have learned and I think she is doing the same with her English. 

I always walk away from the conversations laughing to myself at how ridiculous we must look using hand gestures and all kinds of different words to explain what we each want.

I am improving, and I think she is too! So everyone is winning and we almost always get the point it just might take a little more time than usual haha

Friday, October 18, 2013


Our first home game is tomorrow, Saturday!!
We play Wiesbaden at 6 pm AND you can watch it online here:

Los geht's mädels!! :)

Wednesday was our season opener in Vilsbiburg. To get to Vilsbiburg you have to drive a solid 10 hours. Good news we got the longest bus trip out of the way for the season, bad news we didn't come away with a win so that 10 hours seemed even longer on the way back when you get to think about the match. Over and over again.

But, we did learn a great deal from this match, most importantly that we do have SO much potential, so much that I am excited about with this team. When we fix a few things we are going to be rolling! And tomorrow is a great chance to show these lessons we learned!
Pre game practice at Vilsbiburg

Gorgeous sunrise on Game Day!!
Yesterday I went in to the city to pick up my working VISA along with Alyssa, we are now officialy legal for the year! We celebrated by going to a great place to eat, Dean & Daves. They have really great salads and wraps, super frisch (pronounced fish with an R, in German :)) We both had the special salad with pumpkin, gouda cheese, cranberry sauce and goodness. It was like Thanksgiving on a salad. Sehr sehr lecker!! 

Fall weather sure does get more and more beautiful by the day. The colors on the trees are boldly popping in all shades or oranges, yellows and reds and I am LOVING it :) 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Pre Season is actually coming to a close..

Our promo poster in the Hamburg train station!
Yes you heard me right. I have been away from America for a solid 2 months and I know you are all beginning to wonder if I am actually playing volleyball of if I just dress up like a volleyball player and pose for pictures.

We have been working our butts off the past two months, and after a number of 2 a days I wish not to count, but only to pat ourselves on the back for a job well done, GAME WEEK is finallyyyyyyy upon us.

I felt it this Sunday morning when I woke up. There is always a different feel in the air when you know you have two games in the upcoming week rather than just a load of practices and weights.

It is here. And I couldn't be more excited about it, that is all I am going to say :)

My dream became reality last week as one of my favorite movies, Pitch Perfect came to life in a team video. (I have seen it about 3 times in German and a handful times in English, for me the person that sees just about NO movies at all, this says quite a bit)

There was a task handed to several of the German teams around the league, both men's and women's, the past weeks in preparation for the upcoming season, "Das warten hat ein ende" ..basically, the countdown.

Was macht ihr gegen das warten? ..What does each team do while they wait for the season to start? I wish I could take responsibility for this ingenious idea but our ever so talented and creative scout, Malte, came up with it and we just fell in love with it.

Lucky for me, my three sisters had joined the craze of the "Cup Song" this summer and learned it in no time, singing included.

We spent mornings on our back deck with them trying to teach me how to do it. I would watch in awe as they would effortlessly flip the cup and sing in unison no problem as I fumbled clumsily with the cup.

Luckily I had a good background so when Malte asked me to do this part in the video I just needed one Skype call home for a refresher course!

The video was a lot of fun to make and turned out better than I could have imagined.

So this is what we do in our free time; play the cup song at breakfast when we're bored, practice it on the piano, and paint our nails; dreaming of opening day 2013.

More dreams are about to become reality. Wednesday we begin. In Vilisbiburg, southern Germany. And then our first home game Saturday against Wiesbaden.

Auf gehts mädels! :)

Enjoy the video!!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

My (second) favorite time of year

Riding my bike to and from practice every day just got that much more enjoyable.

I feel like the coming of fall happens so fast. Boom! One day you wake up and all of the leaves are in full change of beautiful oranges, reds and yellows without much of a warning.

That happened to me today. As I was riding my bike in the crisp fall air; the sun still shining and not cold enough to have to wear more than just 3 light jackets haha, I noticed the leaves beginning to fall all around and beautiful trees bursting with color.

Nothing can of course match the game that summer brings to the table of life, but fall is sure holding a very secure second in my book.

Here's to many many more days of gorgeous trees, just a slight nip of cold in the air and the sun still in the sky... (yes Germany winter I am talking to you, listen up)

With love,
Summer lover (but hey, sun and color is good too :))

#Hamburgdays #oKtober

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Birthday Blog

"You know when you find your name etched in the streets of the cities you're are in the right place"  -me.

The space in between feelings and words…those are my favorite moments in time. 

When I think back on my 25th year of life, I feel like this year has included those moments more than ever. 

I am not sure what it is about this age of 26 that is really hitting me differently this year. I feel like it is the next mile stone after the big 21st; all of the other ones have come and gone with great pleasure, but 26...26, it just sounds so responsible. And adult like. I feel like at 26 you should have your life together. 

But what does having your life look like anyways? Society might tell you it's having a secure job, paying your bills, being married, at least one kid on the way all while preparing a list for what things you need remodeled in your house, how you are going to make the next payment on your car and a very detailed 5 year plan with the 10 year one lurking very close behind. 

Well if we're going by society's standards I am 0 for about, yep, everything. I am very much living the nomad life, my belongings consist of clothes divided up in suitcases; the summer ones left in America for my months there, and the rest with me here half way around the world in Hamburg, Germany. I do still have my trusty car from college, Tommy Bobby, that I bought for $2,000 which sits in Colorado waiting for me to make use of it when I return home for a few short months. A house, well that goes back to the nomad life. Married, couldn't be further from getting hitched and my biggest response to society telling you to get married young….a big fat 'Danke, aber nein danke'; I whole heartedly believe you need figure out who you are before you take the leap of a lifetime with someone else. As for the 5 and 10 year plans, I am very happy to make it to the end of each year. Yes I have a list of goals and things I would like to accomplish, but I am not a planner.

But let's focus on what I do have. I do have the most supportive family a girl could ask for; sisters and brothers that think I walk on water and love me to the ends of the earth. Parents that are 110 percent always behind me in love and support. Friends. Friends all over the world that have helped shape this 26 year old in to who I am today. And, experiences; stories, pictures, a passport full of stamps and memories of laughter, hard times and exhilarating life changing moments. 

I am not living the typical 26 year old life. And I couldn't be more thankful for that. 

I feel like my 25th year was a big growth year for me; finding a little bit more about who I am down to the very core and what makes me tick. I loved more, I was more open, I was hurt more, I laughed more, and I cried; way more. 

And this is what I think the trick is. BE more. Be open to more. Find what makes you come alive inside, spend time discovering who you really are, not who society is telling you to be and then PURSUE it. I am not happy all the time, but I am a majority of the time. And I don't think I have always been. I am happy because I have opened my heart to the people and experiences around me. Sometimes it has been for the better and sometimes it has caused me pain. But the pain is what makes the happy moments that much more glorious. 

I think every individual has something different and unique to offer the world, each person IS special. And don't listen to anyone who tells you different. But the key is not just knowing that you are special, the key is actually DOING the special. Doing the extra, doing the hard, doing what is right; in your heart. You have to find out what makes you the best YOU and then work your ass off every day to GIVE that to the world. 

In the weeks leading up to my birthday I knew I wanted to blog about life in general and I knew the people I wanted to ask the most, were the ones that meant the most and have had the biggest effect on me personally thus far in my life and helped shape me into the very unique me, that I am. As well as meeting the age requirement of above the age of 26. :)

The biggest thing I got from these responses is that there is no one secret to being successful in life. Each individual has their own path, challenges and triumphs. But the one common thing we all do have is that we each have something different in us that no other person in this world has. 

My advice to you: find that attribute, talent, quality, ability; whatever it is. Discover it and figure out how to let it shine the brightest to the world. Every day, rain or shine. 


These are my loved ones insights on pursuing the best you. Use one, use all, use none, up to you. Enjoy...and BE YOU! :)

-Quality over quantity in all aspects of life: Friendship, love, work, and play. Surround yourself with people who make you better. Do what makes you happy and live with no regrets.

-Keep being you.  You have that “go for it” attitude and it’s one of the things that makes you so very lovable by everyone who meets you, everyone who sees you.  Keep enjoying life and keep spreading that passion every time you touch somebody else’s life.

-Always focus on the positive in life! And Jesus I trust in you.

-We always have more in us than we think we do, and it is so important that we get it out of ourselves no matter how painful it seems, or how much fear we need to overcome. It is in the most desperate times that we find out what we are truly made of, and who our true friends are.   Just because life is hard, does not mean it is bad, it is the hard that makes it great.

-LIVE freely. LAUGH always. And LOVE with your whole heart. 

-One, always be honest in all you say and do.  A dishonest person will never be trusted or accepted.
Two, work hard in everything you do.  Life is not easy, but by working hard at all things all the time will pay enormous dividends.
AND, three,  always place the Lord first in your life.  Always remember that everything you are, all that you have, and your future are the result of the Lord's blessings.  

-Don't be afraid. Don't be afraid to experience good things, don't be afraid to take chances, don't be afraid to get hurt! It's all good! It makes you stronger! It makes you realize what you want or don't want! Getting hurt is not necessarily a bad thing! Throw yourself into things sometimes. Unconditionally! 

-Be GRATEFUL for ALL that you have. Today will never come again and tomorrow is not promised...make this life a BEAUTIFUL one-Just like you.

-"A strong woman won't let anyone get the best of her...but a woman of strength gives the best of herself to everyone. A strong woman wears a look confidence on her face...but a woman of strength wears grace. A strong woman has faith that she is strong enough for the journey...but a woman of strength has faith that it is in the journey that she will become strong."
Always look on the bright side and be positive.

-The good Lord never gives you more than you can handle.
Always be able to look yourself in the mirror

-"Get close to God before getting close to anyone else.  God without man is still God but, man without God is nothing."


-Be yourself, everyone else is already taken

-Integrity and morals are harder and harder to come by these days and they are a refreshing rarity as people think they can take short cuts to get where they want to go, in the end, it is not a gamble worth the risk. Don't ever compromise your values - do it once, do it right; if you underestimate your opponent, he will take advantage of your weaknesses, so do your homework ahead of time, life changes so fast - you always have to be ready as "...many are called, but few are chosen!"

-Success in this life is not determined by things of this world,
but of relationships and experiences that lead us
back to our ultimate destination: which is life in eternity.  
Heaven; is the ultimate life we are all searching for,
that can begin here on earth, in seeking God who made us. 
Success is:  obtaining that which we were made for.

Nothing says another year older like Oreo Cheesecake :)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


Concerts. They are quickly gaining speed on my list of things I love to do. Watching real, raw performances gives me goosebumps... for days!

I am proud to say I am a loyal follower of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis and have been with them since the beginning. I remember first discovering their songs from a friend and then watching as they rose in popularity and are now off the charts and crazy loved by everyone.

Last year we would jam to their, 'Thrift Shop' and 'Can't Hold Us' on our bus rides getting pumped up before games before they even hit the radio, and our statistician made our end of the year video last year to the song 'We Danced'.

Needless to say, Macklemore has a special place in my heart.

Last year they came to Hamburg but it was after season and I just barely missed them. I learned last night that crowd was 1,200 people.

About a month ago I saw they were coming to Hamburg this fall and I started looking in to tickets, they started priced at 150 euros. Love them, but not quite that much. But I was so so close to shelling out the dough.

Then I woke up the morning of the concert with a message from one of my American friends playing in Stuttgart, Germany saying she could get me free tickets. And not from just anyone, from Ray Dalton (the guy who sings in Can't Hold Us)

Unreal. I jumped at the chance and next thing I knew I was on a train in to the city to see a great concert with 13,000 other fans. In one year their crowd had multiplied in size by a ridiculous amount.
Train ride to the concert

And a great concert it was indeed. Entertaining, funny, real and so much fun.
A few of 13,000
DJ's, cellists, violinists, trumpet players, rappers, singers. They had it all. I was in love and my throat is here to prove it today being sore from being a screaming fan the whole time :)

Then after the show, Ray Dalton said that we could meet him. Well the security workers didn't quite believe that story, I'm sure they've heard that line a million and one times, "The performers are going to meet us! Please don't kick us out!" Ya right, didn't work haha.
He's great. Oh, and kind've talented :)
But we managed to sneak our way back in while they were cleaning up and Ray came out and we were able to sit and shoot the breeze with him for a solid 45 minutes. Such a nice, genuine funny guy. We swapped stories about living and traveling as nomads and our mutual love for volleyball. It was pretty special.

Great night. Great jams. Great people. The best memories.

Post concert bliss!

Oh the happiness!! It's real :)