A Year in Reflection to Welcome 2018
This year has been quite a whirlwind of changes. From living in Germany and traveling throughout Europe, to settling in Maine and starting a new home base. Thanks to my blog and instagram I am able to express my life by storytelling through pictures, videos and writing and sharing with you all. Not only has my personal life changed, but also my Blog and Social Media Management. I’m doing exactly what I love to do, help others achieve their goals, and also my personal blog of expressing my style, the places I like to go, the people I love to see like family and friends, how I decorate my home, what my dogs like to do, and so on.
There are a few different GOALS I’ve achieved in 2017, my future goals I’ll list at the end =)
FASHION BLOGGER GOALS from 2017:
My most recent collaboration with IFCHIC.com
One of my goals for last year was to have brand partnerships that reached into the luxury market. Don’t get me wrong, I love fast fashion and the ability to keep up with trends as they come, but I also love the brand message that certain designer names hold like Alexander McQueen, a designer that will forever be one of my favorites. It seems surreal that just a year ago I would dream to get such partnerships, and now it is becoming a reality that I absolutely want to continue to do.
BUYING A HOME:
Something tells me that this New Year of 2018 has many more dreams to be fulfilled, and this year was just the beginning of making it all happen. love being a homeowner with my husband, two dogs and my step daughter. I created a home tour video! YouTube home tour was not my finest creation, but check it out here, it’s been a while since I’ve made videos and I’ll definitely continue onto 2018.
MAKING NEW AND STRONG FRIENDSHIPS:
Another designer that will always be one of my favorites is VALENTINO – a brand that evokes luxury and dreams of success and class.
The end of 2017 helped introduce me to new friendships, something I’ve always held on to was the necessity of having friendships, I believe they help you connect, grow your horizons, and influence your actions for the better. I can’t wait for what 2018 has to offer!
Being a Social Media Manager, this year has really taught me so much on how to maintain business relationships, but there can also be a sense of friendship when you are consistently talking with people about their goals, daily life tasks, dreams and achievements.
GOALS for 2018:
- Embrace the journey, but land each opportunity and do more outreach
- Find a great way to relax: yoga, meditation, create new habits? Not sure what this will be yet
- Improve the communication with my husband – although we already work on this daily and I love him dearly
- Create more content for my Blog/Youtube/TRAVEL blogger content – i’ve never fully embraced the benefits of being a travel blogger – so watch my travels in 2018 =)!
- Expand my business to further than just myself – finding ways to leverage my resources and maybe bring on my first employee or intern.
- Become more professional with my business – finalizing my website
- just OWN IT – must know my self worth – boost that inner self confidence
First Snow and Waterproof Boots – Sponsored by Zappos
The first snowfall is always magical and exciting, at the same time I’m thinking “autumn didn’t last long enough!”. The holiday season is certainly made better with a touch of a White Christmas.
Luckily I have been sponsored by Zappos and UGG boots just in time for the snow. My UGG boots are waterproof, stylish, and feel so comfortable. Everyone compliments me on my waterproof boots when I’m out and about.
The lining is so soft and warm, I never felt my toes cold at all while in the snow. My favorite color is the black, but the boot is available in 3 colors, you can check them out here. My husband also loves to see me in them, he thinks I look especially attractive in these moderately large boots! Haha =)
Our German Shepherd Blacky is such a goofy dog, and absolutely loves to play in the snow! I am certain that winter is his favorite time of year.
Although I love the winter, stay tuned because I’m actually off with a girlfriend to a tropical place coming soon!
Before the snow hit, I wore my other pair of UGG boots, the Classic with a bow. I have never had a pair of UGG boots before but I always wanted them! It’s now a classic in my life and I’m happy to keep it in my shoe collection, especially for fall and winter to keep cozy.
What it’s like being back in the USA
After living in Europe for a couple years (a few months in the states traveling in between), I’ve come to realize where my happy place is, and that is the USA. I knew in my heart that traveling was going to help me learn more about the world and about myself. I had to go out there and experience as much as I could so that I could get that feeling off of my chest, the desperation to seek and see. I still have it. Spending time in NYC last week really brought memories back of the 5 years I had lived there. It revived that excitement for wandering. All the wandering aside, I’ve never explained on social media WHY my husband and I decided to move to Maine. Below I will delve more into it.
Here is a photo-shoot I did with photographer Seth Gaffar and wearing all Anatomie clothes (besides the dress). I love their active-chic wear, so comfortable you can climb rocks and do adventurous things in. For 15% off you can use code “CW15” on http://www.anatomie.com
One reason I love being back in the States, is that I finally have FRIENDS again. My husband comes from a small city in Germany, and he grew up in a Village outside of it, can you imagine a city girl like me going to a little village? Yes a bit shocking! I love learning about different cultures, and I love that his village was just a couple hours driving to France, less than an hour to Switzerland, and Austria close by as well. It all is connected, like the States, but all the countries are extremely diverse and have histories dating back many centuries. However, making friends in a small village is almost impossible. So you stick with your family, your husband, dogs, his parents, etc. It’s all a close knit group with no extra outsiders. I’m just not used to that. I THRIVE in places that I can meet like-minded people. I read a girl’s Instagram caption the other day that said “We learn something from everyone we encounter” I really believe this to be true. Social energy drives me.
So, why did we pick Maine? My husband, Sascha used to play professional hockey in Germany, and he also played in Maine! He had so many wonderful things to say about Maine, and me, coming from Boston, MA originally, it’s just an hour and a half north so it seems similar. But people are not similar, people are much friendlier here in Maine. Also, we got an amazing deal on our house that we completely adore. We also have SPACE, 3,500 square feet to be exact. When you and your husband both run your companies solely online and are home most of the time, trust me, you need space.
It has been amazing back in the states because I have been networking and reaching out to photographers, models, bloggers, and more that are interested in meeting up, collaborating and working together to raise each other up. I just created a Facebook Private Group last night called Northeast Influencers Please request to join if you are interested.
Maine is a beautiful state. With crashing shorelines, amazing restaurants, wonderful people, it makes it a place very difficult to not thoroughly enjoy. It was one of the best moves of our lives! Just because my husband and I picked a place in Maine, it does not mean this is the end-all, be-all of our places! We also are looking into Florida for a winter home, and potentially a place in NYC if we find the right space. We can always rent out places we are not using at the time. Life is a journey, it is still the beginning and we can choose whatever paths we want, but we need to work hard for it.
10 Reasons you should say “YES, I can”
Recently I just asked the question to my followers if I should open up more, and the answer was definitely, that people want to know the real me and my life, and also other bloggers who might spark their interest. I think along with opening up, it might also be helpful to give people insight into my mindset, and it may help people who seek help in finding their way, getting over their next hurdle, or seeking more success.
I often say “YES, I can” or “YES, I want to try” or “YES, let’s go!” (excluding jumping from an airplane). It may be frightening to most people to take on more tasks, to leave everything behind that does not make you happy, make major changes, or to just leave and go do that trip you’ve been wanting to do.
Saying no limits you from experience, it limits you from pushing your boundaries to really see how far you can go, saying no basically means that you have no interest in learning or discovering that part of life. I do believe there are times that you should say no, like to addictive drugs, or absolutely dangerous stunts, risky behavior with strangers, life threatening things etc. However, saying yes to more adventures or opportunities can give you so much more possibility and reach in your life. I have listed below some reasons why you should say “YES, I can”
1) YES, I can be decisive
One of the biggest lessons I have learned in life, is that being decisive is extremely important for your sanity and your life’s journey. There are countless decisions we need to make each day, let alone each year, it is what can put us ahead or behind. The choices you make today will decide your future.
2) YES, I can go
We all make excuses and give ourselves reasons why it is not the right time to go somewhere, even if you’ve been wanting to do it for a week, a month or years. Waiting on others can also be an issue here. If you are ready but the only thing holding you back is the fear of getting out of the bird’s nest, then you will stay in hiding for a lot longer. The mind and body are very adaptable, pushing ourselves outside our comfort zone can help give us growth and maturity. If your friend reaches out asking if you want to go on a trip in a few month’s time, try your best to make it happen if that’s what you’d love to do. You can always rearrange your life for people, activities and things that bring you joy.
Personal experience: I was living in NYC and desperately wanted to go to Europe and travel, but friends in the US and those I knew in Europe were not receptive to the travel idea, and I didn’t know enough people to stay at their places. Meanwhile, I was trying to get my life together in the city, but my mind was far away. When I look back at that time, I realized that I was scared to leave by myself, worried about how I would navigate foreign transportation, my lodgings, expenses, but now I realize it would have been better to just leave and make it happen. Luckily, my now husband, invited me to come along and travel with him one summer, and that same week I was on a plane and left the life I no longer wanted in NYC.
3) YES, I can be happier
Realizing you are unhappy is the first step, understanding why and how you can change it is the next, and implementing the change is how you can improve your situation.
Personal experience: I found myself going down the rabbit hole of NYC partying, meeting celebrities, social climbing, etc. Did this help my overall happiness? Not exactly. I knew I was meeting interesting, important people, but I was drifting further away from where I had started and where I wanted to end up for a more wholesome life. I wanted sustainable growth and happiness and all sides pointed that I was in an emotionally vacant cycle. I chose to be happier, to change my life and to trust and depend on certain individuals to get me out of that world.
4) YES, I want to
You need to decipher what it is you want to do and what you don’t want to do. This is some deep self-reflection. What do you envision yourself doing and making you happiest? Learn your likes and dislikes and so when people ask you if you want to do something you can say Yes, or no, without hesitation. Do you enjoy concerts, plays, hiking, sports, drinking with friends, clubbing? Or do you prefer other things? Find out what gives you that spark. This can also relate to dating: when someone asks you out, is this a person you could see yourself with down the line? Is this someone who could actually build a real future with you? Is this person your type? You can end up spending a lot of time with the wrong people. Know the core values of the person you are seeking and try to learn those as soon as possible of someone you are truly considering as a life partner. Do you want to go out on a date with someone who doesn’t excite you? But also remember, no one is perfect, and anyone can change and develop as time goes on.
5) YES, I do
Being in a happy marriage is proven to give you a longer life, more wealth and more happiness. This has to do with finding an emotional support system and meaningful companionship. Being in the wrong relationship is detrimental in the opposite manner, but if you find someone that compliments your life, then accept this person into your life. This has to do with deciding to commit, if it is not right, it is not right.
Personal experience: I always knew that I wanted to get married at some point in my life, but who, where and when that would happen was completely up in the air. For a very long time I was scared of commitment and whenever someone would try to get closer, I would push away. My intentions were to lead people on without giving back my full self, to feel needed and to give myself options. Sometimes we need to take that leap of faith and trust that other person and their intentions to share a life with you. Maybe that’s who you were looking for your whole life, but fear of making the wrong choice got in the way of letting that relationship progress.
6) YES, I can make friends
Try not to shut people out if they are there for you, reach out to you, or make a conscious effort to keep in touch. Also, make sure to open new friendships when it seems right, and also make sure those you care about know it. These people matter now and will matter, they are the extended family you choose.
Personal experience: While living in Germany I realized that in the particular area, it was very uncommon for foreigners to live and there were very few people I could relate to for friendship. It seems that family is the most important and that friends are secondary to none in the countryside. I made sure to keep in contact with my friends who were back home or traveling so that I could have more support and give support, friendship is vital to help you relate to the world.
7) YES, I can do that work:
If you have the basic skills and experience, and have spent lots of time learning about an industry, you have the right to say “yes, I can do that project”. Taking on more responsibility is a natural way to grow and educate yourself and to help others achieve their goals in business.
Saying YES to opportunities opens a lot more doors for you and others for a more successful future. Be confident in your knowledge and embrace the real world, or create your own slice in the market share of the world trade and services.
8) YES, I can let go of old habits
Maybe that destructive habit was once a good time, but is it becoming a problem? Make sure to lessen the bad habits in your life and try to practice healthier habits like eating right, working out, drinking less, and start to circulate positive, life bettering thoughts.
9) YES, I can schedule
The mind should not always be blanketed in chaos, we need to see the big picture from afar and plan our lives accordingly. At one point living in chaos is no longer exciting, but detrimental to your peace. My husband and I have been focusing on moving back to the states, to settle down and to focus on our work and building a life there. Traveling is amazing to develop your experiences, knowledge and achieving dreams. I think it is also great when you are in between times of your life, for instance, you are no longer a student, not yet fully in your career, and trying to fully embrace your youth. Having a 1 year plan, a 5 year plan, or even a 10 year plan is really healthy for developing stability and a clear focus. You should always plan in fun, but you should also have structure to be productive. Follow your dreams but make sure you set a timeline to accomplish them.
10) YES, I can live there
You can always switch cities or move abroad, moving is good! If you dream of something else, go out there and make it happen. There are so many online resources to help you make the move.
Personal experience: I was always curious about living in Germany, and it all of a sudden happened! I began as a student and was able to get a student visa easily for 2.5 years, and could travel within Europe and back to the States with no problems. However, when trying to bring a spouse back to the states it is extremely time consuming with multiple steps to the process. As an American it is much easier to go off and live in new countries, something that should be taken advantage of! You can always come back to your roots, just like I will be with my husband, step daughter and pups in the very near future.
Barcelona: Style and Travel Guide
There are a few reasons why I visited Barcelona again: Because my best friend was traveling to another country for the first time; I had only been to Barcelona for one night last year with my family before we did a road trip through Spain (I only saw La Boqueria and Las Ramblas); and my husband and I have had to stay in Europe waiting for his Visa approval to move to the USA, so why not explore while I can?
The number one thing on my list to do this time was to visit
It was pouring raining when I got to this magnificent cathedral by architect Gaudi. My dress was a gift from Romwe and since it was white, my dress became see-through! I hid myself in a restaurant near by until the sun came out again, and by then my dress was dry.
All the details were as amazing as I thought they would be. Also there was very minimal refurbishing work done and so there were no construction cranes blocking the view like in recent months. This is an absolute must to visit for anyone visiting Barcelona or who lives there, it is the heart of the city.
Above, here I’m at the 25th floor of the W Hotel, it’s been a dream to finally come stay here and experience it. I find the best deals through Expedia booking.
The best vibes for sure, instantly you feel lucky and luxurious at the same time to be at a place like this W Hotel Barcelona! It is certainly a landmark as the location and shape of the massive hotel can be seen from miles away, pictured below behind us at the beach.
BEACH & MARINA:
It was so amazing to spend time with my bestie again, I was so happy for her to get some international experience, and I could tell she loved the exploring. We walked through the beach area and also walked through the Marina as a group, with my best friend Teresa and her boyfriend Andre. The more you walk around the more you realize there are endless roads to take and there are new areas to discover, especially near the water. I’m wearing a denim Storets top and a NA-KD fashion dress in these photos. Along with my Gucci bag, Valentino flats and Converse shoes.
PARK GUELL (GAUDI):
It was absolutely amazing to see this park. Ever since I’ve seen people posting pictures with this amazing view and mosaic benches, I had to see it for myself! I wore my Iro dress from Blue&Cream, which had lots of colors in it to match the design of the park. The park is so unique with shapes like snakes and slithering animals, with themes of reptiles. It seemed closer to nature than most architecture is.
The view overlooks Barcelona and you can also see the water, not so well in my pictures. There were countless amounts of people but I had come in the final group and so I just waited for the park to start closing before I took my pictures.
HOTEL SB PLAZA EUROPA:
Not many hotels have rooftop pools in Barcelona, and when they do, they are not always the most attractive. But when I scrolled through this Hotel SB PLAZA EUROPA on Expedia, I knew it was the hotel I should stay at next. Since I was just getting a single room, it was the best price hotel for the most attractive amenities. It is further away from the city center, so either you have to do a lot of walking or you have to pay for taxis, which does add up. They have a bar on the rooftop also so I invited Teresa and her boyfriend to join me.
Below is the mall that was right next door, Gran Via 2, where they had an amazing restaurant area, a massive grocery store and many great fashion shops.
My taxi drove by Fira at night, and I was absolutely in love with the architecture and had to come see it the next day. Since I had moved hotels, I was getting sick of taking so many taxis around, so I just started to walk for 6 hours! It feels so great to do that in cities, because there is so much to see in small amount of space, so it is impossible to get bored. I’m wearing my Storets top, Chanel bag (with extra clothes inside) and my Gucci sneakers.
There is a shopping mall beneath this view but you can take an elevator up for 2 euros to see the 360 view of Fira and other parts of Barcelona. There were many restaurants up there and so I had a quick bite at the Japanese restaurant (I had already eaten so much Paella!). After a full time of exploring, seeing friends, and having some alone time, I felt I had seen plenty but will be back again for more. Early the next day I took my flight home, even though it was a last minute booking I still found the best price on Skyscanner. Till next time, Barcelona!
Chic, Affordable Basics for Men & Women
Basics are the core of a wardrobe. You can have plenty of trendy clothes or designer pieces to stylize your outfits, but there should always be those items that can follow you through the seasons that will never go out of fashion (at least for the next 10 years). Recently, my brother moved to Chicago and he wanted to start a new look, mostly with basics because of the minimalistic style worn by tycoons such as Mark Zuckerberg, with his t-shirts, jeans and sneakers uniform. I also wear mostly basics, styling my outfits up with bags and shoes. For my brother, he just wants to feel comfortable, look good, and look like he has a clean style for his wardrobe makeover. I looked into different websites and thought that BooHoo has the best, stylish basics for really affordable prices (perfect for buying in bulk and makeovers) They still have an extra 50% OFF discount with code “YAY50”.
(Click Images to View on Website) Get the look for less!
MEN STYLISH BASICS:
(Click Images to View on Website)
Visiting Vienna, Austria @ Hilton Vienna
Vienna has been on the top of my list to visit ever since I started living in Europe 1-2 years ago. My husband and I travel extensively with our two dogs, especially throughout Europe. We spend a lot of overnights at hotels, so it was perfect that I partnered with the Hilton Vienna, the perfect excuse to go visit and have a suite stay! Not only was the lobby beautifully decorated with a giant silver and gold Christmas tree, it was also a wonderful and comfortable stay in the suite, with a panoramic view of the city and an extra living space off of the room. I always love it when hotels have bathrobes, and I always put them on after a nice bath and when getting ready for the day. We had the full breakfast in the restaurant the first day, but after that we kept going back to the convenient executive lounge at the top of the hotel, with complimentary beverages and food (yay! and delicious) Below are the images from the Hotel lobby and suite, with travel pictures to follow.
FASHION in VIENNA:
Before I talk about the touristing, I wanted to mention that I normally try to pack sparingly for all my travels, which means I usually need to mix and match outfits or prepare a look themed to what I’ll be seeing that day. I had to usually wear walking shoes, like my all black striped Adidas shoes. I also tried to keep things light in colors because I knew the buildings would be a light color. For evening I generally like to have darker or shimmering clothing. And of course I like to be a bit diva with my fluffy coat, especially when I know a city will have all the frills in architecture and decorations I love to look at.
SIGHTSEEING IN VIENNA:
Researching Vienna beforehand, I knew I would be seeing some beautiful architecture, and old style that we just don’t see being made these days. I do love the sleekness of modern style, but I love to feel and the essence of the past of royal taste. Some places we visited were the Belvedere Palace, totally walkable from our Hotel, and the dogs loved to come along and do some sightseeing with us. I was instantly in awe at how beautiful the landscaping was, and the sculptures strategically placed with beautiful marble. Afterwards we got some traditional food at a restaurant and house brewery called Salm Brau, where I’m pictured with a large house brewed beer. Right at sunset the lights about the city turned on, and it was quite charming walking throughout the Christmas markets and beautiful cathedral. My husband had a sweets craving so we walked to a famous pastry cafe Demel, where we got some nice treats. When we exited the cafe there was no mistaking the Hofburg Palace, a light shining at the end of the street. The next day I really wanted to go to the Art History Museum, and it was GORGEOUS!! I wanted to live there. Next time we go to Vienna I am totally going back there. The rest of the time was spent walking through the park with the dogs, wandering the streets, finding beautiful little corners and alleys, with little cozy restaurants tucked away. If it’s on your list, I would certainly try to make it happen. It is a city that is completely walkable and so much to see. Bon Voyage! instagram posts here: @catherinewanders
The Time We Went to Paris: Fashion Week 2015
There are so many things to appreciate about Paris, and I was so thrilled to have visited. It was always a dream after watching romantic movies and many travel photos of my friends able to go and see the wonderful sights. I realize that it almost seems like an extremely strong magnetic pull for me to go and visit certain places, they beckon me like it was my pathway in life to pass through. Paris, was certainly one of those destinations. Unfortunately, months later, there was terrible news about terrorist attacks, and I certainly prayed.
It just so happens that we came the weekend before fashion week and naturally enjoyed as more people came in the beginning of the week with their fashion maximized outfits. My boyfriend was so great to take my pictures and help capture my first time in this dreamy city.
When I pack for a trip less than a week, I know I have to be limited in items of clothes but also have high versatility. I mixed and matched many of my pieces throughout the days, like my leopard print strappy heels, my leather jacket and leather dress. I also made sure to bring layering pieces as well like my denim button down and sweaters, just in case it would get warmer or colder.
I really believe that we should all just go for what truly makes us happy and if that sparkle in your eye comes to you by being in Paris, by all means, just get on the next flight and go! Bonjour, till next time.
My Little Hideaway Place
Since moving from NYC, I must say that I get a bit nostalgic of the classy lounges and bars I used to visit often. In the small city in Germany I live now, I find there are more “charming” places many centuries old and I do not find more modern elegance. This hotel Der Oschbergof is my little happy place to visit and to appreciate the new elements of German interior architecture and the lovely Golf and walking grounds.
Although it is a fancier hotel where some dress up, I decided to make a blend of an outfit to match the more casual feeling of German culture and the dressier side of this hotel. I wore bell bottom denim with an Alice and Olivia Bodysuit underneath my criss-crossed sweater. I like to add elements of basic and unusual shapes together. Since the weather is getting a bit chillier here, I wore my espadrilles that I got in a German boutique and carried my Louis Voutton Alma Bag.
Inside the hotel there is a cigar lounge which seems a bit masculine but certainly my kind of taste every so often, and took off my sweater to enjoy the warmth of the fire. Autumn brings versatility in your outfits and so I find it fun to dress for outside and inside. Cheers =)