Sunday Round Up #19: Mini ‘Up Close and Personal’

Hey guys,

unfortunatly I will have to integrate some Up Close and Personal in this Sunday Round Up because the realization that I am going through stuff (again -.- ) is overshadowing everything right now. I tried to ignore it for weeks, I just pushed on, thinking that if I pretend it’s not there it will just go away. Today or actually last night, I reached the point where I just couldn’t overlook it anymore. I think it’s some sort of depression/anxiety combination, because actually I don’t feel completely numb and broken like I normally do when I’m under, this time it’s more as if someone has been sucking all the energy out of me. I am constantly stressed, I sleep in weird patterns, I am heartily exhausted, especially of myself. I overthink everything, I keep on falling short of the expectations that I have of myself as a human being. You know I am not fishing for sympathy or compliments here, that is not how UpCloseAndPersonal works. I am merely showing you where I’m at at the moment and where I want to go.

So, at the moment I feel like I am not a good friend at all. I am self-involved, easily distracted and unable to show feelings properly. Like how grateful I am for the friends that I have, and how wonderful people they are.
I know that this will blow over, that I will get a grip on myself and be a better person again, but right now 9:05pm in Germany I am down, I am exhausted and I don’t like myself.

I built myself a cocoon today, cranked up the heating, hid in bed (2 duvets, 2 sheepskins, roughly 10 pillows) and watched silly rom-coms ( I Give It a Year: pretty decent; The Sweetest Thing: complete shit, no nicer way to put it). I haven’t done this out of sheer need for a while. Actually I haven’t done that ever since I returned from Bayreuth. Not like that. I am not desperate or hurting, like I said, I am just exhausted and I feel like my caffeine overdose earlier this week ties in with that. Apparently I operated under the assumption that when I just cram enough caffeine into my body I will feel better. Nope. Just gives me headache, nausea and severe dehydration.

Where to go from here? Accepting that something is wrong is the first step, I think. This coming week is going to be stressful. I am catholic and this is the week leading up to Easter. As stressful as this week is I normally love it. I love Palm Sunday with its celebration but also the first shadows of what is to come on Good Friday, I love Maundy Thursday, where my whole parish gets together after mass to have a meal and then Good Friday. There is something so bleak and miserable about this day, no organ, no flowers and the crosses are covered up and for a little over 24 hrs the world seems to come to a standstill. My family fasts this day, so no meat, no jam, no candy basically just butter and bread and some fish for lunch, and one heck of a lot of easter preparations. On saturday then the Easter Night celebrations, my favorite part: Arriving at a completely dark church, then bringing in the Easter fire from the yard in a procession and then the church is slowly lit by candles, no artificial light until the big Gloria where all the bells are rung. And after mass more eating and drinking with the whole parish. Man, I love this week 🙂

Either way I’ll try to cut myself some slack, I won’t put too much pressure on myself, one step at a time and be them baby steps. And I will try to do things that are good for me. Catch some sun, rest, eat right, drink enough and re-focus. I guess I’ll try to just survive. I have the week after Easter off, that should help me to get better.

If you got this far and you are interested to get into the normal Sunday Round Up stuff let’s do that.

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1. Make Up Shizz
I don’t like my make up at the moment. It is never quite like I want it to be and even though my skin is as clear and as healthy as it will probably ever be, I feel like no matter what foundation I wear, it is blotchy and weird and don’t get me started on my eye make up. I’m still trying to find a way to make it all work. I am currently wearing my Catrice All Matt Plus again. It is slightly too dark at the moment but it’s not too bad. I actually started to apply this with my fingers (yep, weirded me out, too). I’m still no fan of getting make up all over my fingers but, the outcome is actually nicer and the coverage is better than with a brush (whysoever).
On my desperate search for a blush that was not too in your face, didn’t piss me off and was no bronzer I dug out my MAC The Perfect Cheek. It is probably the nudest most natural blush color there is. It saves me from looking like a ghost without making me look like a clown.

2.Media Shizz
Music-wise I am still listening to the new Delain and Subway to Sally albums and Epica has actually released a new song from their upcoming album which is called Unchain Utopia and it is just about as awesome as Essence of Silence. If all the songs on The Quantum Enigma are like this we have found ourselves a new all-time favorite album. And as per usual the lyrics are brilliant!
I have been catching up on Hart of Dixie, which is a testament to the state I am in at the moment and I am about to start season 4 of Friday Night Lights. Both are total pick-me-up shows for me (borrowed that expression from Snowhoney and find that it is perfect).
Book-wise I am about to finish Dark Secrets by Hjorth&Rosenfeldt and I have the second one in the Sebastian Bergman- series sitting here. So far it is a good solid murder mystery but not spectecularly awesome (Man, A Song of Ice and Fire has ruined me -.- or at least set the bar ridiculously high for what a good book is).

Other than that there was not much going on this week other than that I have worked five days (which also didn’t help much with my exhaustion)

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Sunday Round Up #17

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Good evening, Ladies and Gentlemen!

How was your week? Mine was fine. There was more studying and working and a lot less party than last week, but not every week can be this exceptional, right? So what DID I do?

1. More cooking, baking and cleaning
I baked marble cake this week. Not exactly low carb but soo good. Also I made my first ‘Grüne Soße’. I felt like a proper Hessian woman when I succeeded. ‘Grüne Soße’ (direct translation green sauce) is a southern hessian specialty. It’s basically 7 specific herbs mashed up with some quark, mayonnaise, salt and pepper. Much like potato salad every family has their specific recipe here. We usually eat this with potatoes and it is traditionally a dish for the thursday before easter. I know easter is still a couple of weeks away but I wanted to see if I can get the sauce done, should my mom not be able to make it herself. We took some to the hospital and my mom said it was fine, so I guess I am good to go.
I also gave the kitchen fridge a good deep clean, the basement fridge is next.

2. Pamper saturday
I think I am dealing with a bit of a cold (or a severe allergic reaction, not sure). And after cooking, cleaning and baking on saturday as well as visiting my mom, I decided to run a bath (bright red and poppy scented), listen to some Dance with Dragons audio book and do a de-stress face mask. Man, that was nice. Now the last week of writing my linguistics paper can come.

3. Weirdo make up
Do you ever go through phases where none of your foundations look good on your skin? Seriously, either they are too dark, too glowy, too matte, too heavy, too light. Major nuisance. And the weirdest thing is my skin itself is pretty healthy and clear at the moment. And what is weirder: I don’t like my eye make ups either. God alone knows what’s wrong with me. What I do love though is my L’Oréal Miss Manga Mega Volume mascara. Makes my lashes super long, thick AND holds a curl. Amazing.

4. Pig skin withdrawels
I miss football. There I said it. I miss watching it, I miss staring at my play-by-stream, praying it won’t give out, because it is my only way to keep track of what my Pats are doing, checking back on the live blog, because I need Fred Kirsch to keep me sane, especially when my boys are pulling a massive comeback win, like they liked to do last season. And now that ‘my’ Julian Edelman has re-signed I am so ready for the new season!
Now, the only thing that sort-of helps is Friday Night Lights, a well-loved, critically well-received, dead too soon tv show, set in smalltown- Texas, centering around high school football. It is kind of a quiet tv show focussing both on personal matters, the smaller and bigger tragedies and joys in life and, well, football. It is quiet, yes, but never slow or boring. And Taylor Kitsch et al. are very easy on the eyes. Footballers, eh?!

5. I can’t read.
No, seriously, I can’t. I have started about 6 books, made it 3 pages in put it down to never touch it again. I hate those phases.

6. What else?
Subway to Sally MitGift ad nauseum. SO. GOOD.
AND my Delain Deluxe Edition of the new album will be shipped next friday. Yay.
The new Epica single ‘The Essence of Silence’ is LOUD. And dope.
I still can’t download the Veronica Mars movie from iTunes. I assume we are waiting for the German synchronization (which is already done, because I saw the movie in German at the theater). So eff you, iTunes. Grump.

That was that. Let’s make a tick under this week and move on into the next. May it be productive and happy!

That was about it.

Sunday Round Up #16

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What a week this was! I don’t even know where to begin, I had so many wonderful things coming my way both material and things that really touched my soul. In a way this Sunday Round Up is a list of things I am grateful for.

My job(s):
At the beginning of the week the boy I tutor basically told me he enjoys working with me, and that makes me so happy! If his exam turns out better than the one before on top of that I will be over the moon! He is a great guy with a great mind but his orthography escapes him sometimes a little bit. It was a bit scary at first but now it seems to work out fine. I sincerely hope it stays that way.
Later this week I returned to one of the stores I helped out at over the summer. That earned me money and a big hug from the one store manager and I got told off semi-seriously for not having heard the other one saying hello to me. It was so nice to come back to people who seem to genuinely like me. I feel really blessed about that.

I’m not telling you that to show off. From all those years of being bullied I am still surprised when people actually like me and accept me the way I am. I am not used to that. And it makes me beyond happy when someone does like me. Just like that.

Veronica Mars:
The Veronica Mars movie came out this thursday in Germany in a limited number of theater across the country. One of those theaters was in my hometown and my fabulous Snowhoney came home from work early to go directly to the theater with me and watch the movie on opening night. I had so much fun. The film was a total marshmallow (Veronica Mars fan)-pleaser. If you know the show, there were so many little things that made it special, but I think it is easy to understand for people who don’t know the series as well. My theater here in Germany was far from being sold out but it was fuller than I expected it to be. In the US the movie made the Box Office Top 10 (despite being released to only a limited number of theaters there as well, way to go US marshmallows!) and was sold out in places. If you like sassy blondes, murder mysteries, high school reunion type movies, great father daughter teams, epic love stories or any combination thereof  I can only urge you from the bottom of my heart to go see the movie, I know you will enjoy it!
I have a bit of a bone to pick with iTunes Germany, though. We were promised a worldwide release for the download version for friday. It seems to have worked everywhere but in Germany. I still can’t download the movie. I met with my best friends on saturday hoping to be able to share the experience of watching the movie with them (again). Imagine how upset I was when I couldn’t. I can only hope that the movie will be released as soon as possible (as there is no indicator by iTunes when it will become available). I really want to watch the movie again and I really want to watch it with my friends. It would make my day if I could get it on monday (hint hint).

Subway to Sally- MitGift:
Another exciting release this week was Subway to Sally’s new album MitGift  (play on the German word for dowry which can also be devided to spell ‘with poison’. German is a weird language sometimes. Or strangely accurate. Who knows.)- Mördergeschichten (murderer stories). The title is rather apt since it is a concept album in which every song is inspired by famous murder cases and old legends (like the cruel sister- legend) I won’t go into detail for every song that would go beyond the scope of this post. Suffice to say that all of the songs are everything that makes Subway to Sally for me only darker and better. Music-wise every single song is headbang-ready with a hardcore baseline, heavy drums and some electronic elements here and there. But the lyrics are still as beautiful as ever and the melodic parts have stolen my heart. Some of them are so gentle and heart wrenching that they seem to be the only thing that keeps the thrumming base and drums at bay,  keep them from swallowing you whole and dragging you down into the darkness. I love this album, not with the usual bright burning excitement, this time it is a dark flame but one that will keep on burning for a very long time. This album comes even closer to my all time favorite Engelskrieger (Angel Warrior) than Schwarz in Schwarz (Black in Black) did two years ago.

Make Up:
This week wasn’t much of a make up week at all. I am still testing mascaras for the next chapter of Confessions of a Mascara Addict. Snowhoney picked up the new L’Oréal Miss Manga Mega Volume mascara for me and it is awesome for a non-waterproof mascara. I also went back to my Catrice All Matt Plus that seemed to break me out last time I wore it. We’ll see if it does it again, or if it was something else.

Books and TV Shows:
In this particular case this week was a bit of a lost week. I started watching Vikings again, but was so distraught and distracted that I couldn’t really enjoy it. I was also too jumpy to read a book. I started to read Sons and Lovers (D.H. Lawrence) again in preparation for my thesis but I gave up after taking over an hour for one page. I just couldn’t concentrate. I will try very hard to do better this week. In fact I will HAVE to do better this week as I have a deadline in about 15 days and I am not nearly as prepared as I should be.

NFL Free Agency:
Wanna know why I was so distraught? Yep, free agency started last tuesday. For non- Americans like me who have not grown up with it: Free agency means that all the football players whose contracts are up at the end of the season are now on the open market and free to negotiate with any team they like and by extension that also means they can sign with any team they like. I understand this is rather exciting for Americans who have grown up with it and are used to going through this every year. Now try to imagine you are a little German girl who goes through this for the first time, has nothing but a basic idea how this works, is really awful with new situations and change and on top of everything her favorite player is out on the open market as well. And about three times it looked like he was coming close to sign with another team than the one she kinda lost her heart to. I just came off of an anxiety episode and my body was all too ready to go back to those patterns. Since tuesday I have slept only a couple of hours at night and whenever my phone went off I jumped. Last night around 8 (German time) finally the relieve came, where tweets popped up saying that finally my team and my fave player had reached an agreement. (I hope to God it is not another one year one. If it is I will have to personally swim to California and kick his ass, I really can’t go through this mess again next year. *welp)

Post Scriptum:
In order to restore my calm I am now re-watching Friday Night Lights and re-reading The Mists of Avalon for the umpteenth time. Any of the Avalon-series books is always great to give me rest and ease my mind.

This was it from me for you about this week. I hope yours was as bright and shiny as mine (the fact that ‘my’ player re-signed really blots out the mess of the FA 😀 ). Now let’s all check off this week and move on in a productive, anxiety-free new one!

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[Media Update] Best of 2013

One last best of and then we can officially move on into the new year I promise! Last but not least let’s take a look at what stood out to me in the book, tv, film and music world:

Books:

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First off: If you would like to get a conclusive look at what I have been reading all year you can click here

and this should take you to my goodreads ‘Year in Books’, also I started a new reading challenge AND I am on a bookban because I want to drastically reduce my sub-list (Still Unread Books). If you are a bookworm like me and would like to start your own reading challenge or just would like to see how I do with mine you can friend me on goodreads.com. I love this site, it neatly keeps track of my progress and helps me to remember all the books I have read and how I liked them. It also let’s interact with other bookworms, etc.

Book-wise this was a big year. I read Sebastian Fitzek’s Eye Collector and Eye Hunter, The Eye Collector pretty much in one sitting because it gripped me tight and didn’t let me go until the end. Fitzek renewed my love for psycho thrillers. Once the book ban is over I cannot wait to get my hands on his new offerings.

Next up was Ken Follett’s Century Trilogy parts one and two. Fall of Giants and Winter of the World were absolutely beautiful. The books follow the destinies of four families one from the UK, the US, Germany and Russia respectively. It was amazing to see all the strands come together that led to the first World War and to get all the different perspectives on World War I and II. So far I only really knew what happened in Germany and I only knew the basics about the other countries. This series helped to give the horrors of the first and especially the second war a human face. What stood out to me was the kindness that Follett showed towards the German characters. It would have been easy to make them the bad guys, instead he portrayed a family with a son falling into the nazi trap, a father broken by the fall of democracy and a mother and daughter who desperately try to do the right, good thing in a world where they may easily get killed for just that. Follett didn’t play any of the nazi crimes down but he also remembered there were human beings affected in this war on all sides.
The third book Edge of Eternity is coming out in the fall and I will break my bookban for that.

Another trilogy that stands out to me is Deborah Harkness’ All Souls Trilogy parts one and two A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night. Vampires, witches, a beautiful lovestory, gorgeous locations and lovable characters, these books have it all. I cannot wait to go on the last ride with Matthew and Diana, even though I dread it too, I don’t want it to be over. Book three The Book of Life comes out in summer and is another ban-breaker.

I also read and loved Susan Ee’s Angelfall, the entire Divergent-trilogy (unpopular opinion: I loved the ending), I finished the Infernal Devices-trilogy with Clockwork Princess and cried a river over another beautiful ending, I discovered my ultimate guilty pleasure in Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ Chicago Stars- series (chick flick with a little American Football on the side? YES PLEASE!). Honorary mentions also go to Alyson Noel’s Fated, Lauren Graham’s Someday Someday Maybe (great great love) and Nalini Singh’s Angels’ Blood (currently started to re-read it to get ready for the collab with The Bookbeauty, yay!).

TV shows:

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I fell and fell hard this year. Remember my 3 months long Tudors- craze? Then there was the Sons of Anarchy-phase (oh the brilliancy of that one! Will re-watch it once I am done with Gossip Girl), and of course the Friday Night Lights-phase. FNL and Veronica Mars hold the top spot of my most loved, most influential tv shows of all time. SoA exposes my masochistic vein: It cracks me open, strips me bare, shocks me and still I’m coming back for more.
Another show that was burned into my heart this year was Vikings. I have seen the first season about 5-10 times by now and in February the dvd’s are finally coming out, expect the craze to resume then!

Honorary mentions go to Dark Angel (still need to pick up season 1) and s4 of Smallville, I caught up on the Closer (another great love of mine, waiting for s7 now), on Trueblood (next stop s5), picked up two more seasons of Bones (s4 and s5) and finally found the courage to finish Lost.

On a different segment of the spectrum I watched the crap out of Mock the Week and Russell Howard’s Good News over the summer and I keep on coming back to rewatch a couple of episodes every few weeks. I don’t know what it is but there is something about British political comedy that makes me giggle again whenever I watch it again. Dara o’Briain, Frankie Boyle, Andy Parsons, Adam Hill and of course Russell Howard never fail to make me smile, no matter how upset I am.

I don’t really know what I am looking forward to this year. Well, clearly Sherlock s3, Vikings s2 and the new Der Letzte Bulle (German crime procedural), but other than that? Oh yeah and obviously new seasons of Mock the Week and hopefully Russell Howard’s Good News!

Movies:

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That one is easy: It’s a tie between Man of Steel and Pacific Rim.

Music:

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2013 was the year of me delving into new music worlds while still loving my old faves:

My main discovery this year was Mumford & Sons. Their two albums Sigh No More and Babel whisked me away. I love the combination of blue grass, a british accent and beautiful lyrics, I am constantly stuck between dancing and dreaming away.

My favorite band Saltatio Mortis brought out a beautiful new album, again with beautiful lyrics and an amazing sound somewhere between old and well known and a new spin.

A fairly recent addition is Awolnation with Megalithic Symphony but this album took my by a storm. It is quite different to what I normally listen to and it keeps me on my toes. It just feels fresh and new to me because it is so different to my normal power rotation.

Honorable mentions go to Lady Gaga – Fame Monster Album (yep, I’m late on that band waggon), Gloriana- Can’t Shake You, Fun.- Some Nights, Of Monsters and Men- Little Talks, Eminem- Recovery Album (currently binge listening to the Marshall Mathers LP2 and Curtain Call), Katzenjammer- A Kiss Before You Go Album, Delain (just for being Delain, I love them so much! also We Are The Others!), Tarja- Colors In The Dark Album, The Birthday Massacre and Letzte Instanz.