Monday, April 28, 2014

Operation Learn German: Week 5

Oh dear! I can't believe how close it's getting.. Week 5 of  9 (FREAKOUT!!!!)
Well Week 4 wasn't the greatest of successes.. I'm falling way behind with my study in regards to using my German book. However, I did manage to have the best conversations I have had yet. I was able to communicate a little more comfortably and closer to what I actually wanted to say so that felt good. I updated my der die das flashcards and I revised them, and my verbs book, much more than I had in any other week. This week I need to update my verbs book, now that I'm getting most of them firmly in my head, and work on my German book study.

  • Complete Part 3 of my German book. I really want to move forward through this book!
  • der die das flashcards. Continue to add more vocab and update, revise them at least 4 times this week.
  • Verbs. Add to my book, stop revising the ones that I find easy now. Revise them at least 4 times this week.
  • German conversations. I'm getting better at this one so hopefully I can do the same as last week.

This was taken in Salzburg.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Happy Snaps: Tasmania (part 1..)

In March I went to Tasmania, with my boyfriend Michael, for a whole week! I didn't bring my viola, I didn't bring anything except clothes (lots), a sense of adventure, and the tour booklet I made (yes: massive nerd and proud of it!). It was the most amazing week and we did so many excellent things! I was going to share them all in a Happy Snaps post but there are just too many things to cover so I'm going to do it in parts.

This first part is happy snaps of the boat cruise we did from Bruny Island. Tasmania itself is an island and then it has other islands as part of it. An island of an island! We did the boat cruise as part of a Pennicott Wilderness Journey; a company started and owned by Robert Pennicott. It was a moment of uncanniness when we realised that we had done a canyoning trip in Cradle Mountain with him! We didn't know it at the time that we were amongst Tasmanian and tourism celebrity. It was a fantastic tour and as they say a picture is worth a thousand words so I'll just get on with it:

Ever fashionable protective gear.
More Albatross!
Blow hole.
Cool rock formation.
Pretty sure this is called Dollarmite rock (don't take my word for it..)
That water..

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Weekly Wish-list

I cannot get over how cool this dress is. It is so amazing!!! Carven has integrated gingham to perfection. I find the soft colour of the gingham gives an old-charm feel while its appliqué on the bodice creates a modern feel. I absolutely love it for its quirkiness: it's certainly not a piece you'd find anywhere else or on anyone else!

Found on Moda Operandi. Volunteers from anyone wanting to be my personal benefactor?

Monday, April 21, 2014

Operation Learn German: Week 4

Last week was Week 3 and it went very slowly for my German. I think I've reached a sort of impasse where my brain won't absorb any more information without really really trying. So really really try I must! I almost completed three chapters from my German book, as set last week in my goals, but I found I was getting more and more incorrect answers in the quizzes so I clearly wasn't totally understanding. I decided to go back and work through some of the chapters again, focusing on my weak points. So it may feel like a step back but one step back, two steps forwards (I hope). I updated my der die das flashcards and that's all going fine, but should probably do it absolutely every day (I know I said that last week..) and my verb book is full now! I need to make sure I do these every day and start from the back because the last ones are my weakest. My conversation goals were reached, but I was really really slow in one of them. It seems to take me ages to form my sentences and even though I know a lot of things I seem to only be able to verbalise 30% of my knowledge and put it into practice. So this week's goals:

  • Complete Part Three of my German book. With the going backwards I should be able to complete this part of the book properly now and get some good results in the end of part test.
  • Use my der die das flashcards every day!!! In the words of Nike: just do it!
  • Verbs EVERY DAY!! And maybe conjugate a few random ones in all tenses here and there when I have time.
  • Have four conversations of 20 minutes with a German speaker. A friend of mine's mother is a German teacher by Skype so maybe I'll try to have a session with her.
This was taken in the Jewish museum in Berlin.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Happy Snaps: Bushwalking

Here are some happy snaps from a bushwalk I did with my boyfriend Michael. It's about 1-1.5 hours away from the city centre of Sydney and took us a good few hours to do. It was an absolutely gorgeous day; we went swimming in the creek and had an excellent packed lunch. For those of you reading in a foreign country I hope this gives you a little idea of how awesome Australia is.

A map of our walk.
Swimming in the water was heaven.
Perfect lunch spot.
How's the serenity?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Weekly Wish-list

Winter is coming! I've actually been loving the snuggly-up weather in Sydney of late. Unfortunately it's given me a hankering for a new sweater. I almost bought one of these, can you guess which one?

;) too cute Gorman (Image and buying possibilities)

Go Gorman: simple mismatched sleeves gives this just the right little hint of quirky. (Image and buying possibilities )

Collars! Colours! Demy Lee! (Image and buying possibilities)

Gingham: it's hip to be square right now. Derek Lam being so un-lame. (Image and buying possibilities)

Cheeky Ostwald Helgason! (Image and buying possibilities)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Operation Learn German: Week 3

Last week was Week 2 (and just fyi there will be 9 weeks of this mission). I set a few pretty ambitious goals and I'm sorry to have to fess up to you that I haven't completed all of them. I'm now at the point in my study where the chapter-a-day theory cannot be possible due to the kind of information I need to absorb and the growing number of verbs and words to add to my vocabulary. Last week I wanted to get through 5 chapters to take me through to the next part in my German book but I only did 3. This isn't so bad and this week I hope to also do 3. Another not-quite-achieved goal was to go through my der die das flashcards every day. I probably only went through them a few times however I did add the plurals in and start phasing out the cards that I get right more than twice. I spent hours fixing up my verb study book that I made to include the past tenses and that has been really helpful with improving my accuracy and confidence when speaking about the past. I also managed to have the three conversations with a German speaker! It has been great and I feel like most of the time I can get my point across and I'm getting more comfortable with it and less slow (unless my brain is fried, like it was in my last conversation). So here are this week's goals:

  • Complete three chapters in my German book. Make sure I revise each chapter appropriately.
  • Use my der die das flashcards every day. I'm going to really push to do this every day. It only takes me a five or so minutes so I'm going to make myself fit it in.
  • Verbs. Last week I became much better at remembering the verbs and their past tenses. However, I found whilst doing some of the written exercises in my German book that I am pretty slow at conjugation with the newer tenses I've learnt. This week my goal is to pick a few verbs at random and conjugate them in all tenses with various pronouns.
  • Have three conversations of 20 minutes duration with a German speaker. 
My final night in Freiburg with the friends I made.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Operation Learn German

Week 2

Last week was Week 1 and I set myself a few goals towards my main goal (refresher: to reach B2 level in German by 31st May). I managed to achieve almost all of these goals! I have caught up in my German workbook, I've used my der die das flashcards almost every day, and I've memorised loads of verbs (more on this later). The last goal on my list for Week 1 last week was to have three 20 minute conversations with a German speaker. This was much harder to achieve because I couldn't just rely on myself to do it, I had to get other people to help me. I had one 5 minute conversation with a woman I met briefly at work who is Austrian, I had a 2 minute conversation with my flatmate Phil who is Swiss-German and I had about 10 minutes conversation with an Australian living in Germany. Not bad considering, but need to work on putting myself out there more and organising more meetings with German speakers. So on to this week's goals:

  • Complete five chapters in my German book. Last week I realised that doing a chapter every day was pretty difficult. Achievable, but difficult because as I got further along chapters required more time and I needed to revise more verbs and work on my weaknesses before allowing myself to progress to the next chapter. So this week I've set five chapters because that's how many is in this next "part" of the book (part 3). I will try to do one every day and I've got two spare days of the week to help catch up or revise etc. Maybe this is being too ambitious but it's better than setting a goal that doesn't push me (and frankly if I want to be fluent by the end of May I really need to push myself harder).
  • Use my der die das flashcards everyday. I've updated my flashcard system now to also quiz myself on the plurals of each word. My flashcards are three words per card and all words have the same definitive article, so that I can create little memory images that associate all three. For example der Park, der Fahrplan, der Schreibtisch (park, schedule/timetable, writing desk) become an image in my mind of a desk in the park where a man is writing a schedule (the man is writing it because it's the masculine definitive article der). I've also decided that once I get a flashcard right instantly three times than it can be put in another pile where I'll revise it less frequently. It will then be replaced with a completely new flashcard with new words. This way I'm never trying to do too many cards at once nor am I uselessly revising words I can recall instantly and with ease.
  • Verbs. I really need to work on my past tense conjugations of verbs, as it's not too fluent yet. I need to update my verb workbook and write it out clearly so I can get my friend to quiz me and I also need to actually write out the conjugations of a couple of pages of verbs every day.
  • Have three conversations of 20 minutes duration with a German speaker. I'm keeping this goal the same because I think 20 minutes is a duration which will really test me. I hope that I can organise my time with people better to achieve this, and also that people will help me.
There's no better day than Monday for setting goals don't you think?

This is me twirling in my cape at the Berlin Wall circa. 2012

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Outfit Misfit

Well, it sure has been a long time! I've actually been extremely good this year and have not been shopping since Boxing Day (!!!! that is unheard of from me!) Saving money for rent for my big move to Germany has been a real priority. However, because I haven't been doing much blogging this year so far, I have a few outfits up my sleeves still to post which you haven't seen here yet.

I thought it would be nice to start with a piece I bought on Boxing Day. This one is from CUE and is my first mostly-white dress. Sometimes I think it's quite hard to wear mostly white because it can look too formal somehow, perhaps due to an immediate association: white = wedding. However with a couple of colour accents it was easier than I thought to wear on a number of occasions. My hair here does the colour trick (R.I.P pink ombre hair) and the flower crown was a nice pop of colour to tie into that. Now that my hair is all one very normal brown colour I've taken to pairing it with some pink shoes which have a white outline and bow.  This dress is super comfy and I wore it in the first picture on NYE, and in the following pictures to an outdoor music event in Canberra. It's super comfortable and has become one of my favourite dresses for when I want to look that little bit special but can't really be bothered putting in a lot of effort.

Dress: Cue
Shoes: Witchery
Flower crown: Sportsgirl
Bag (first picture and in this outfit too): Alannah Hill

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Weekly Wish-list

This week I've discovered a new favourite designer: Katie Ermilio. Apparently she is the granddaughter of Grace Kelly's personal clothier! That is some legacy. Her latest Fall/Winter 2014 collection is so shiny and new. Simple cuts with beautiful looking fabrics and a slight twist in design become classy yet still interesting creations. Here I've picked my favourites:

Bow detail.
Excellent cut of the skirt and the bow is a sweet touch.

Love the colour and the fabric looks like it would feel so soft.
Gorgeous full length skirt from the front..
..and back (*sigh* that bow)

Gorgeous shift dress.
All images and buying details from Moda Operandi.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


I've decided to can the Something Old, Something New segment because I'm not sure it was a huge success (speak up lovers of this segment or forever hold your peace!). Also sometimes I find it quite hard to get the classical music inspiration. I know I know.. I should really be listening more, seeing as it's my profession. Self-lecture received. Anyway, I've switched it up to be Tunesday and I'll only share one piece I particularly like each week (and some of it will probably be classical ;P).

This week, as you know, I've been putting my medal on the pedal (or what's that saying?) with my German so I've been trying a bit of immersion, or osmosis. I am listening to German pop music and watching German TV and hoping it sinks into my brain. I grab onto words here and there so I think it's useful. I literally just googled "German pop music" and found a bunch of pretty cool stuff quite randomly and I've been listening to three different groups. The song I'm going to share with you is kind of sappy, and a little bit retro-feeling (even though it came out in the noughties, I think), something to do with the chorus. It's Rosenstolz with "Ich bin ich (wir sind wir)"; the music video is really sweet too. Enjoy!