anatomy of an outfit 020: ex-pat living

As most of you are well aware of, I have been living out the majority of my (young) adult years – five and a half! To be exact – as an ex-pat in Berlin. Which is kind of insane, because making a home in a foreign country was never really on my list of priorities in my teenage or college years. In fact, the idea never really entered my mind. After college, I ended up taking internship opportunity which happened to be located in Berlin, but didn’t really think much of it. It could have been in New York City for all I cared. It just happened to be in Berlin. I had focused on German history in university, and wanted to pursue my researching goals and thought that spending some time in Germany would help aid in that process, so I figured that having an internship in Berlin could be helpful, but I never really thought that I would end up here semi-permanently.

I actually wanted to split my early 20s between Germany and Japan for research purposes in order to study post-war film from both countries – I wanted to study the ways in which these films aided in re-building morale and social identity in the post-war period as well as study how these films were used as vehicles of socialisation and politicisation. And although in order to do this I would have to live outside of the US, this was only thought of as a transient state – a means to an end until I would be sitting pretty as a tenured professor at a prestigious American university. Needless to say, I never made it to Japan. Or back to the US for that matter. I kind of got stuck here, and I kind of really fucking like it. I’m ex-patting the shit out of my 20s and to be entirely honest, although I do not like to over-think the future too much, I’m relatively sure I will be doing the same thing for at least a few more years to come.

However, when you end up staying put for so long, there comes a point where you sort of stop being the typical ex-pat and, instead, really settle into the place you are living. Sure, Wikipedia defines an ex-pat as: “a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country other than that of their citizenship,” but when I think of most ex-pats, I most often think of transient people who don’t really ever put down roots, travelling to different parts of the world every few years, still very strongly identifying with their native culture, viewing the country of residence as a foreign place.

And then there are the ex-pats like me – Those who move (for whatever reason) but somehow end up getting stuck, end up building a home for themselves in their new homeland, taking on the good and bad from the culture of their new home. This kind of results in some sort of hybrid mixed culture identity that just sort of happens one day when you turn around and realise that you’ve started to scoff at strangers over things that really don’t concern you and started to (unintentionally!) form your English sentences with the Grammar structure of the language from your new home but still crave that American friendliness and struggle with speaking German sometimes, wondering if you ever really did learn that goddamned foreign language or not.

Being an ex-pat is weird, and in a lot of ways once you go ex-pat you can never go back. Because people back home somehow don’t ever really get it and still ask you when you plan on moving back from what they see as an extremely over-extended vacation. But you also understand that due to the fact that you grew up in a land that is and will always be your home, that you will never fully be at home in the place you now live. So you end up with this sort of global identity that only other ex-pats or others with multiple identities understand. Because they understand that you can’t live your live in two places at once and they’ve also experienced how friendships from across the ocean slowly fade away as new ones form in your new home base.

But just as soon as you’ve built up a new life for yourself, you start to get itchy feet and think, “I need to get the fuck out of here and move to someplace new”. Because although you’ve taken that less travelled ex-pat journey, although you’ve built a home for yourself in your new land, although you’ve become part of the society here with the mentality of a transplanted citizen and not that of a transient party person, you start to realize that travel is intoxicating, and you’re hooked, and it’s time to discover something new. Because you’ve stayed long enough to understand the culture from a level deeper than that of a superficial 6-month stay and you feel as if you are beginning to stagnate. Which means you’re feeling ready to uproot yourself from everything you have built up for the past 5 years only to have that existence fade away in place of a new one you will have to create from scratch. Which is equal parts exciting and terrifying.

Someone once accused me of being an “eternal tourist” but why does that have to be a negative thing? Isn’t there beauty in curiosity and a thirst for travel? As long as you are leaving to explore something new not running away from something found, I see no harm in picking up and exploring something new. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE Berlin, and I could potentially see myself building a family here. I have also met so many amazing people and have so many amazing friends in my life right now, that it would be so hard to say goodbye to that all. But I’m also craving new adventures. After all, there isn’t just one proper path to take through this world and life is only so long and there are a lot of places on my travel bucket-list so I sure as hell better jump on that. Besides, home is where your heart is, so wherever I might be, I will always be home.

top: weekday | bottoms: uo | shoes: vans | hoodie: abercrombie and fitch
photography: Johannes Husen

Herzlich, Rae
past outfits | follow me on instagram | follow me on bloglovin | work with LFB

DIY 007: dream on


DIY Dreamcatcher

I have been feeling pretty crazy about dream catchers lately, especially after spending hours lusting after interior accessories I cannot afford on etsy and urban outfitters, which is why it was pretty rad when I came across this diy dream catcher tutorial over at the urban outfitters blog. I used to be really into DIY when I lived in the states – and I owe that all to big, inexpensive, one-stop craft stores like Micheals. Now that I am living in Europe, it’s a lot harder to come by all my supplies in one store, but I might make the concerted effort to piece together all that I will need to build my very own dream catcher.

Herzlich, Rae
past DIY posts | follow me on instagram | follow me on bloglovin | work with LFB

in the kitchen 014: baby cocoa cookies

Baby cocoa cookies

There is something about baking a chocolate cookie that has always kind of turned me off. Although part of this was due to the fact that I just tend to favour snickerdoodles and sugar cookies over chocolate ones, the biggest factor holding me back was that I somehow (wrongly) thought that baking a chocolate cookie was a lot more complicated. That was, until I whipped these up the other night, and came to the realization that – surprise, surprise – the only real extra ingredient needed was cocoa powder. Looks like I will be experimenting with chocolate-based sweets more often from now on!

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup Dutch process cocoa
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled to room temperature
1/2 cup natural sugar
1 1/2 brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened soy milk (original recipe calls for almond milk)
3/4 cup chopped pecans (original recipe calls for almonds)
1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips

001: Preheat oven to 350°F/176°C. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
002: In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, baking powder, and cocoa together and set aside.
003: In another bowl, whisk together both the brown and natural sugar with the coconut oil until well combined. Add the vanilla and beat until smooth.
004: Add in half of your dry ingredients, combine. Add in your milk, and the rest of your dry ingredients and combine.
005: Mix in your nuts and chocolate
006: Create tiny cookie dough balls and place on your parchment paper, about 2 inches apart. Smush the cookie balls down with the palm of your hand to make them flatter. Bake for 12 minutes (or until you get a cookie that is soft in the center but set around the edges). Let the cookies cool for 2 minutes and then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

This recipe has been adapted from “two peas and their pod”‘s Vegan chocolate almond cookies recipe. Original recipe can be found here

Herzlich, Rae
past recipes | follow me on instagram | follow me on bloglovin | work with LFB

WATCH THIS NOW 013: Withdraw

Seeing as it’s been a while since LFB has featured video content, I would like to share with you to you a wonderful short film I recently stumbled upon. George Butler, an artist and illustrator whose work focuses mainly on travel and current affairs, was recently filmed by Tim Brown, a director and photographer based…

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visual stimulation 037: Gui Martinez

I don’t think I could ever tire of looking at portraiture work. There is just something so intimate and beautiful about letting someone else capture you on film, and the results can be absolutely amazing. Caste in point? These portraits of Shaula Vogue for JAGR Magazine, taken by Gui Martinez, a freelance photographer based in…

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instafinds 013: free the bird photography

After a brief absence away from LFB due to surgery, I am back and with some beautiful visual inspiration for you guys on this lovely Friday morning… I love when I come across photographers whose work is so beautiful that it both inspires and motivates me to push myself creatively. Jai, a photographer based in…

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anatomy of an outfit 019: clumsy

I am currently sitting on the sofa in sunglasses. As I am not Corey Hart, and never will be (partly because I’m not a white dude but mainly because no one can lip-synch more enthusiastically as that brilliant man), you might just be asking yourself why. Well folks, I have undergone eye surgery. That’s right…

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visual stimulation 036 – fvf’s travel blog

By now, you should have somehow realized that I am constantly thinking about travel, which is why I am such a great fan of Freunde von Freunden’s Travel Tumblr account. With just a scroll of the mouse, I can travel through mountains, trek through the forest, or sunbathe on the beach while still sitting at…

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in the kitchen 013: a very berry morning

My go-to breakfast, whether at work sitting at my desk in the morning or on the weekends longing around cross-legged at the kitchen table, is a crunchy mix of tangy berries and chocolatey granola and nuts. This little number is super easy to prepare and keeps me full until lunchtime and tastes so good, that…

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This weekly round up is full of wanderlust, the origin of a beautiful design, a bittersweet and unusual love story that sounds like something straight out of a Chuck Palahniuk novel, cats, and uh… more cats! 001: If cats took over the world, it would look probably something like this 002: You know Kraken, that…

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in the home 003: boho and industrial interior inspiration

Oh hai there. My name is Rae and I am addicted to homeware. Of course on my budget, I mostly just end up spending most of my time scrolling endlessly through pictures of beautiful interiors, drool dripping down the side of my mouth. Just kidding about the drool part – except not. Except yes. Just…

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visual stimulation 035 – ewitsoe

Erik Witsoe’s Flickr feed is made up of city and landscapes both close up and zoomed out and the occasional portrait here and there. Although much of Witsoe’s post-processing is very different from what I am personally attracted to – many of his images have a color and contrast quality that I do not particularly…

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Photograephie 006: hustlin’

Now I don’t really know if it’s old school to hand out business cards, but as a freelance photographer, who always feels slightly creepy when approaching complete strangers and being all, “Can I take yo’ picture, can I take it?” (Anyone catch the reference? If not, here you go), I somehow feel like having a…

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nick in london




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