Stovetop Cleaner

This evening, I burnt my hand cleaning my microwave. I am special like that. I put the water/vinegar mix in the microwave for a minute too long and it exploded when I opened the door. Oh well.

In other news, I finally figured out the best solution to cleaning the stove-top. First, sprinkle Dawn and baking soda all over the glass. Then spray it down with peroxide. Wait a few minutes, then scrub it in circles. FYI, a little goes a long way. Once thoroughly scrubbed, wait a few more minutes, then scrub again. Use a washrag/paper towel to remove the scrub and enjoy your pretty stove top for the next 12 hours until breakfast.

The Off the Beaten Path Berlin Guide

Berlin Guide-01

My four month adventure in Berlin turned into a year and one day adventure,  for which I will be forever grateful. I really learned so much there not only in school but also about what I want out of life. I also spent my fair time exploring the city and exploring new things. I made a Berlin Guide for a friend one day and I have ended up giving it to over a dozen friends thus I thought I should just save everyone the hassle of asking me for it and post it online. This is not your mother’s Berlin guide, this is for the ones who have done the normal touristy things, or are just looking for good eats!

The Markets:


  • Markthalle

(5? Maybe 6 till 10pm)

near gorlitzer. It gets packed, so don’t expect to find a place to eat sitting down but it’s still fun. I recommend the following booths:

Bao burgers: sweet pork belly with spices in a fluffy rice bun, it’s f***ing amazing. But too messy to actually share.

The hipsters that sell juice in the middle: delicious hand pressed apple juice with ginger. Expensive but good and help feed a hipster!

Erst Sahne or something: really good gluten free desserts that you can’t tell are gluten free. Think ritzy Italian cupcakes

The Brazilian place that does tapioca crepes. amazing. Both sweet and savory. I love the Romeo and Juliet one, it’s GUAVA!!! I love guava, so I always get it.

The ceviche place is also great, there are beers (gross) in the back left corner that are supposed to be good craft like ones. Whatever. I prefer the French guys in the middle that sell wine.

Spatlze guy. Also sometimes at Neue Heimat. In old van looking thing, not creepy, just good.


  • Breakfast market 

At markthalle, same thing BUT BREAKFAST FOOD. UNTIL 4PM. And yes, I’ve been there at 3pm, still going strong.

  • Neue Heimat

So if taking the sbahn, exit right. Walk northish. Past the weird photo booths. Take right at sketchy potato dealer. Walk alllllllll the way to the end. It will have Christmas lights stating the name. There may be a 1 euro fee, whatever. Worth it.

Soooo buy a bottle of wine because it’s more cost effective, duh. Still expensive. Ugh.

Find the hipster potato/pumpkin guys. Their signs are in brown with white lettering and they have lamps. Get the kürbis potato mash one, you want parm cheese. Share it with a friend because there is so much delicious food here you don’t want to get full on one dish.

Arapes guys – chorizo one, yummy! But too messy to share.

Pad Thai is good if you haven’t eaten enough of it already at all the “Asian” restaurants.

WHISKEY RIBS. Omg, yes. Find them! Sometimes outside.

Skip the oysters, not fresh. 

The people with the obnoxious ladies clad in lingerie for their backdrop have really good food, damn them. It’s like melted cheese on bread things.

Lady that sells dessert in little pots is the best.

Also there will be a Dj playing weird music and too many hipster but the food makes up for it.


  • There is a cool English pub under the train tracks at hack. Markt. If you get off the sbahn, walk to end by freid. Direction. It’s by the river. I think it’s called pug or something, they have a bunch of pugs. But what’s cool is that the tables have taps on them and you pay by how much you drink and so you can purchase like .23 l or something. You fill up how much you like. Their prosecco is passable.
  • Das Gift– another English/Scottish bar, THEY HAVE MY PATRON THERE! Monday’s they do trivia, I won once! Let’s go play! But good drinks. Hermanplatz or str, whichever is not the end station.
  • Krackenklucken…. I have no idea how to say this, it’s on top of the arcade in neukoln. Sweet view. The hut makes me feel like I need to be on acid, I’ve never been on acid but I think I would enjoy the trance music and crystals and lights more if on acid. Their only drink in the hut is a weird chai with rum or whiskey. Not my favorite, but it’s cool. Also you have to take off your shoes. The other bar is more normal. I say wait till it’s warm again.
  • Somewhere there is a gin bar. They only serve gin. It’s near Oberg stop. If you want more info, I can ask where I was.
  • Wienerie– my favorite! Every night starting at 8pm, it’s 2 euros for a glass, and then at the end you pay what you think you drank. Closes around midnight, but fun! Last semester, I had a standing date there every Thursday. It was a blast. Also if you get there early, they have food and I think it’s the same concept. It’s also been referred to as the communist wine bar. If you go and don’t invite me, I will be upset.  Rosenthaler is the nearest ubahn, also accessible from the m10.
  • Torsend– SECRET BAR. Google. Go. Drink, feel classy.
  • Monkey Bar – View from the top.

Brunch places

  • Cafe krone – recommend before mauer park/burneur str tour or after.
  • Parker Bowles – omg GO and GO NOW
  • Melbourne cafe – get the gingerbread hot chocolate. Hermanplatz thing again. Also do trivia on Tuesday nights.
  • Betty n’ catys – FRESH JUICES PEOPLE. LIKE REAL PRESSED JUICES. Also adorbs. Pberg.
  • Bastard berlin – small but amazing. Get the Chorizo and sweet potato thing (seeing a pattern?)
  • Roamers– tiny but delicious.
  • Aunt Benny – frankfurter alle or ostkreuz. Delicious also have lunch things.
  • That place next to hertie. Same street at Hertie if walking past where everyone smokes, it’s on the opposite side of the street- really good affordable lunch options. Menu changes daily but I’ve only had good things. Think soups salads and such.


  • Yam yam – Korean food. Rosa luxa. Amazinggggg. I always get the bulgogi, really good. So are the fried dumpling things as an appetizer. Aloe vero to drink, obvi. I love the gummy things in it but I know some people can’t get over it. The nut milk tea is …. Different…. Also the alcoholic drinks are WEAKKKKKKK. don’t waste your money.
  • Transit- win stop off the u8 (or thereabouts) . Asian food tapas style. I spent 10 euros and was full. 3 small dishes at 3 euros each and 1 thing if rice. Seasonal drinks are great! Only thing is you need to make a reservation.
  • Hashi – Japanese restaurant recommended by Japanese man. Also tapas style. Really good! I have no idea what I ate but it was all great. The squid balls (terrible name) were good and the chicken things on sticks. Also good cocktails bit pricey and not strong. I had the one that was like a bad giesha or something, I felt awkward ordering it but it was yummy.
  • Thai Place across the street before Transit. Google, figure it out. BUT LEGIT. Like teas in bowls legit.
  • Chickenberg-  soooo this is weird entry but if you ever just crave a rotisserie chicken and good fries, this is your place. Kotti. 5.90 for 1/2 chicken , fries, 3 pieces of veggies and a coke. Sometimes, I just want a simple chicken. Get the garlic sauce.
  • Santa Maria – ugh,  don’t try to go for taco Tuesday. Too busy but great lunch deal. 8 euros gets you a soup, drink, and 3 tacos. Done.
  • Ta’Cabron – y’all have been with me, I go there far too much.
  • Persepolis – really good restaurant off the U2. Middle eastern of some sort. Completely forget which country but delicious and so much food. Get the one with like raisins in the rice or something. Busy though, can get take out.
  • Soooo another option if you want to impress your gf with cooking but don’t know how or just like to try new things is kochhaus. It’s a grocery store that has 8 recipes with all the ingredients next to it. Like if the recipe calls for 1 tbsp of butter, you purchase 1tbsp of butter. It’s all premeasured for you. I’ve never had a bad meal from there. Plus cool kitchen gadgets. It’s just a cool place and I think there are three in berlin.

Things To Do

    • Mauer park – make fun of hipsters and eat the damn potato on a stick, best 2 euros ever spent, other than that glass at the weinerie.
    • Allied museum – yeahhhhh America!
    • Checkpoint Charlie museum – they have the things people used to escape the gdr, like a hollowed out surfboard or an air balloon. It’s cool.
    • Fernsehenturn – ehhh, it’s cool. Read the Wikipedia page first, it is the 4th tallest building in Europe. Buy ticket in advance, waiting in line is for peasants.
    • Kadewe– largest department store in continental europe. Go to the 5th floor and see the groceries and see how your country is defined. America is land of pop tarts, microwave popcorn and Swiss miss. Cute outside market some days. Walk down the shopping street and look at the big church.
    • SCHLOSSES ( pretty sure that’s not the formal plural, but whatever) – charlottenburg (don’t pay to take photos), Potsdam, there are so many!! And crowns everywhere!!!
    • Comedy in English! I’ve been to a ton of English amateur comedy nights that are really quite good! I like the fishbowl, and we are not gemused.
    • East side gallery – obvi.
    • Museum island– so much history!

PS I had the best Landlord Ever 

Breakfast Learning

Breakfast LEARNING

I consume a lot of information but recently, I have been consuming what I would like to call “smart” information and I am trying to learn it in a faster way. Gone are the Real Housewives of Some New City and hello, informational podcasts. ( I jest RHOBH is still my favorite, but I don’t watch it religiously.) I swear I am getting older, my friends and I discuss skincare routines and financial advice now, and I try to go to bed early. What has happened to me??? Now, I normally start each morning listening to podcasts or YouTube videos while getting ready, I love learning new things and with the end of my school life fast approaching, I have needed new ways to get my learnin’ fix.  Here are my favorite podcasts (I’ve added more to my old favorites list), YouTube videos, and other sources for learning new things.

  1. What’s the Point – an old favorite but a goodie, I love the intersection of big data and solving real world problems. This privacy podcast really has me reevaluating some of the ways I interact with these companies.
  2. Fight Mediocrity – I keep meaning to read all these books but I never have the time. This YouTube channel explains popular business books in simple animations, boiling down the information to just the main points. My favorites are Thinking Fast and Slow and 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
  3. Startup– a great podcast about starting a startup podcast company. Done in real time. It’s amazing and so many great lessons.
  4. Note to Self – Their tagline is making technology human and they do such a great job of it, from their digital detox to their fomo vs. jomo debates to infomagical week, I love listening to them ( I even subscribe to their newsletter, that’s real love)
  5. Twitter – Often I find great articles to read while browsing twitter, I don’t really tweet but I do consume information from it! My favorite sources are INC, Vox, Business Insider, and Entrepreneur, normally I find a bunch of articles and save them to me “read later” bookmark to consume while riding the bus.

What are your favorite ways to learn more information?

Skincare Routine 101

Like finances, skincare routines are an important part of “adulting” and can also be scary.  But finding the right one makes all difference. I could do several long posts about skin care, there is just so much to be said! I feel like every week there is a new tip I find saying I should be doing something differently or trying this new product. The best advice I can give you is to do your own research (I know, no fun!) because everyone’s skin is different. Often I watch Youtube Videos, read things on blogs, and search far too much on Pinterest. Here is my normal AM skincare routine:

Skincare Routine

-Cleanser- A friend told me not to use any cleanser that foams, something about that is bad for the skin, honestly, I forget the exact reasoning, but the fact stayed in my mind. She worked for an all-natural skincare store, so I trust her advice. Also, look for something with not a ton of ingredients.

-Toner- When I lived in Germany, my skin went crazy at first, i.e. breaking out like crazy. I went to Lush and the saleslady recommended a toner. Apparently, water is different everywhere and my Floridian raised skin was not liking the harsh German tap water, enter the toner fix. I spritz this a few times and then gently pat my face to work the toner in.

-Serum- It’s like caffeine for your face! But seriously, there are all different serums out there for your skin depending on what you need. Need brightening? There is a serum for that! Need some help with wrinkles? There is a serum for that! Need help with oil? There is a serum for that! Your best bet is to go to your favorite skincare store and ask for help.

-Moisturizer- My mother always reminds me to moisturize my neck too. You can get wrinkles there too, so its important. Generally, you should put on your moisturizer then wait 10 minutes for it to set before applying anything else. I like to use that time to pack my purse for the day, brush my teeth, and do my eye makeup, etc. This one is my current favorite.

-Primer- If you are wearing makeup, you should be putting on a primer. It helps your makeup ‘stick’ to your face and can help even out some imperfections. Personally, I like to mix this one and this one. The pink helps correct some discolorations and no one likes pores.

This is merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to skin tips, but hopefully this will help you on your “adulting” journey!



Financial Tips 101

Financially Savvy Tips

Image from Death to Stock Photos

I was having dinner with some girlfriends last week and the subject of “adulting” came up. Inevitably, finances were talked about in depth. We all offered about some tips and tricks we had learned to make it seem a little less scary because when it comes to adulting, finances is up there as one of the most important parts. Just like I mentioned before, when you don’t know something, just google it from when it’s the best time to buy a computer to what should you be saving for… There are plenty of great sites out there that can make it seem a little less scary. Some of my favorite sites are Mint and LearnVest Knowledge Center, they have tons of helpful articles about financial planning.

Some other useful tips:

  • Buy cars at the end of a quarter or year end to get the best deal with negotiating (and always negotiate!)
  • The 50/20/30 rule makes life a little easier! 50% to living expenses (housing, food, transportation -Louboutins don’t count as transportation!), 20% to savings goals (debt, retirement, etc), and 30% discretionary (dinner with friends, that new purse, etc)
  • Get a credit card and pay it off consistently!
  • Check your credit through the three credit reporting companies (Experian, Equifax® and TransUnion®) once a year on your birthday. Sure, it may not sound like the most exciting thing, but since it is free once a year (federal law), it’s an easy date to remember to do it. Check all three, since they all do things a bit differently.
  • Make sure you have saved for an emergency fund, which should be about 6 months of your salary.
  • Start saving for retirement today!
  • My personal favorite: the best financial information can fit on an index card!

What’s your best financial advice?

How to solve a problem like Maria…

How to Solve A Problem

Google it. If it is one thing I have learned this semester in learning Adobe Creative Suite is when in doubt, trying googling. Yeah, maybe you don’t know exactly the correct vocabulary for something (is it a path or a shape?? Do I want it to be isolated??? I just want it to work!), but other people have been there before you and there is probably a forum somewhere with the right answer. Watch a few youtube videos and you will get the task done!

Too often, when faced with the unknown, people freeze. The great thing about google is that no one has to know that you don’t know the answer (except the massive google servers but still!), there is no embarrassing raising of the hand in class to ask a ‘dumb question’,  there is no having to find a work friend to not laugh when you don’t know how to print something double sided. Just google it. Or Bing it or Yahoo! it, whatever.

The point is you can only gain from trying to figure it out on your own. And maybe, the internet won’t have the answer for it, but then when you do ask a live human, you will at least have some preliminary research! So I started in September with no Illustrator or R skillz, and  by the end of it, I am now moderately (which is saying something) good at them!

The Enlightenment was considered the last time when a person could know all the knowledge in the world if they had the time and ability to learn. Today there is too much knowledge for anyone one person to know but we have an advantage that wasn’t there even 30 years ago: the INTERNET! With the power of the internet, sites like wikihow, pinterest. allrecipes, and wikipedia, we have the ability to solve most of our questions and queries. It’s amazing! So use it!



Summer Learnin’

Summer Learnin'

This summer has been an interesting one for me. For the past 6 weeks, I haven’t had WiFi. It’s one of those things you don’t realize that you miss until it’s gone. I have a WiFI stick but with 5GB per month, you have to be tricky on how you use it.  Needless to say, I have been spending countless hours in Starbucks and other cafes hording the WiFi. I have had to get creative with how I consume the internet and how I spend my spare time. I have always been an avid reader (well since 4th grade) but I got bored of just plain reading after the few days. At the same point, I have realized I love learning and I miss it during my summer break. Not that I am not thankful for the time off from crazy grad school! Here is how I have been getting my summer learnin’ on:


You can see my favorite ones here, but seriously, these are the best for commutes or running errands or in general just lazing about.


This summer, I decided I was interested in some subjects but wanted to start learning them now! Enter Coursera, they have tons of free courses (or you can pay for a certificate  to show completion). I am currently enrolled in three, one has a schedule but the other two are go-at-your-own-pace, which is a nice break. There are tons of courses out there!


So I get access to Lynda for free from my university , check and see if you do too! This is almost similar to Coursera but it has just tons of helpful videos on subjects from how to take a better photo (something I struggle with) to excel tips (no fun, but needed!)

Ted Talks:

This is my favorite TED talk of all time. I make all my friends/family/random strangers I meet at parties watch it. I always feel so inspired to go do something better for the world after watching it. Did you know you can download TED talks? Just use your normal podcast player (ie the podcast app for iphones/ipads). I play them while I get dressed in the morning, they definitely pump up my morning.


I lied, Codacamedy requires the internet while in use, but its super interesting. I have decided in additional to the 1000x other things on my plate to learn Python because a programmer friend of mine recommended it to start. I am almost 25% through (they have a status bar – love it! easy goal tracking)!

How to Fake Graphic Designer Skills

Katy Explains It All

Photoshop is my enemy. I have triedddd to learn it, and I can do somethings, but frankly, it is too time consuming. While I am not a designer, I am a perfectionist. I like pretty things, and good design. I don’t really have the time to learn it all now (I do want to learn it eventually, but baby steps).  Here is how I fake being a graphic designer:

So let’s say I want to create a really awesome photo  or something, here are my steps for creating a pin-worthy design:

  • Pour a glass of wine, or whiskey. (Or a coke for you under 21 year olds) This will take a while, but not super long because you have my handy dandy notebook tips, so it’s best to be relaxed.

  • If I have my own photo, I need to edit it because most likely I didn’t do a totally awesome job taking it. For that, I use Snapseed. It’s google app for your phone and is so easy to use. I normally  increase the brightness, the contrast and the saturation (maybe a little bit of ambience if I want to pretend to be cool). Then I save it as a copy because I am paranoid about messing up (read: perfectionist). Check out my instagrams! Snapseed on point or fleek or whatever the cool kids are saying.
  • If I don’t have my own photo, I need to find one. Pronto. Google sucks at this (sorry Google) when it comes to copyright laws and such. I normally turn to Death To Stock Photo but often I first just search on flickr. It’s super easy to use and you can even filter by colors.  Wait, am I violating the creative commons law? How do I figure this out? Use this handy graphic.

  • So I have a photo, great. But now I need to do things to it, like creative things. I need to know what colors are in the photo, because “yellow” and “more yellow” don’t really work apparently. Enter html color. All you do is upload a photo and it tells you the color! Woot.
  • Wait, microsoft office does this weird RGB color thing and this is just one number. Okay, color hex tell me this in Microsoft speak! (PS. You know you can make your own color scheme in microsoft, right?)
  • I need to know all the colors though, ALL THE COLORS. Done.

  • I picked a favorite color but it’s like picking an ice cream flavor, I’d much rather have two different scoops. But what color goes with #alsdjfsd? I DON’T KNOW THESE THINGS. Opposites attract right? Pallento will tell me this. Wait, it gives me color swatches in things like plaids and other designs so I can see how it will actually look? Cool.
  •  I’m being indecisive and can’t pick a color, can’t some super cool computer pick it for me? It can? OMG DONE. Locking the first color. Pick away super computer. Pick away.

  • So I have colors, but what do I want to do with them? Something creative, like really creative. Like add words or squiggles, squiggles are in right?  Enter Canva, a non-designers best friend. It takes all of the guess work out. I can add lines, or text or icons! Or all three! (Plus it’s free and saves everything on the web, so you can’t lose it to bowels of your computer) And here is some knowledge on logo design but it can be applied anywhere, practically.
  • OH god, I have to pick a font. WHAT FONT? Do I italize? What does that even mean? Score, someone wrote a handy guide explain these terms. Skimming that now.  Wait, where do the abcs even come from? Answer. How do I pair fonts? I can’t even pair wines with food, I just order white with everything…. Speaking of wine, I need another glass.
  • What words do I pick? Tone matters, right? Here mailchimp will give me some examples. I think I use too many “!”… Ooops!
  • Downloading to my computer now. Wait, I need this in PDF form. Come on internet, solve all my problems. Oh, you can do that too.
  • Done. Finishes last drops of wine from bottle.

Summer Readin’ 2015

I read. I read a lot. Like normally 3 books per week during school days, and maybe a book a week when out of school. That must seem odd, right? Who reads more while in school? Well, that tends to be one book for school, and then two ‘beach reads’ as I like to label them. Nothing highbrow, no New York Times bestsellers. Just fun books to give my brain a rest. They just get downloaded on my iPad and filed away in a secret folder so I don’t accidently open them in class.

But now that school is out for summer, my reading habits change. I like reading books about real things, I like learning, and I hate dull things. I also love reading real books during summer. There is just something so nice about turning a nice crisp page. The rustle of the paper, the sound of cracking the spine for the first time, it just feels so adult! But don’t dog-ear that page. I often read when on the train or bus, or waiting for a friend. You would be surprised how many opportunities there are for reading if you manage to have a book thrown in your purse!

Anatomy of Crime

I found this book in a train station’s book store. I am a huge “Law and Order” fan, like it’s my ringtone. So a book about how crime solving works in real life? Um yes! It was fascinating and not too gory that you can’t snack on something while reading it!

The Tipping Point

This book had been on my reading list for a while, sadly. I finally picked it up in an English bookstore and didn’t put it down for the next three days. Even though it was published a number of years ago, it still holds strong. I loved all the case studies and I think I am going to pick up his latest book tomorrow!

Thinking Fast and Slow

Be forewarned, this one is a bit denser but totally worth it. It really got me thinking (get it? ha) about how I think. It took me longer to get through this one. On occasion, I had to re-read paragraphs but I really enjoyed it and learned more than I thought. (So many puns…)


Paris is undeniably one of my favorite cities, this book takes its history and moves it underground – metro stations that is. It tells the history of Paris through the various metro stops around the city and despite my love of Parisian history, even I didn’t know all of these things! I might have to travel back to Paris soon…


Okay, bear with me here. Debt sounds like it would be super boring and depressing, but it’s actually amazingly – interesting! Non-finance majors (like me!) can even understand it. Plus, you can find it online for free, which sold me on it.

Katy Explains It All: Coral Dress

Oscar Wilde Quote

On occasion, I get asked for some fashion advice. If it’s one thing I love, it’s to give my own opinion on things. Also, I love putting together looks and often I find it easier to do with others than with myself.

The first thing I always want to know is when is the event? Time? Day of the week? All of these things matter. Then where? Is it in a church, a barn, a country club, etc? Was there a dress listed on the invitation? Black tie is different than white tie… When in doubt, I always recommend referring to Emily Post for rules, and then Pinterest for ideas. You can even take clues from how the invitation itself is worded and the type of invite to get clues on how to dress. When in doubt, I agree with Oscar Wilde and frankly, sweatpants should never be worn in public unless you are going to the gym.

So you have a dress, you like the color/fit/style/etc. The next tricky part is deciding on accessories. The best looks combine color, texture, pattern, and shine (Thank you WNTW). Let’s take this dress as an example:

Fullscreen capture 1072014 90536 PM.bmp

It has shine and shine. All that is missing is pattern and texture. A bold statement necklace is one way to complete the look. For this outfit, I would recommend hair half swept back and curled in loose waves. You want something with volume. Nude heels because any color would overwhelm the rest of the outfit and nude makes your legs go on forever and who doesn’t want that? So onto the jewelry, often the scariest part of an outfit. Here is a great graphic on necklace ideas for different necklines.

The key to every outfit is balance. In this case, since the dress is very feminine in color and shape, I suggest a bold statement necklace. Coral can be a tricky color to match, so instead of driving yourself crazy,  opt for navy blue and gold. I love navy blue and no matter what necklace you get, you are guaranteed to wear it several more times. With your statement necklace, make sure it’s not too close to the neckline because you don’t want to detract from pretty sweetheart top. My current ideas are either a bold necklace like this:

Fullscreen capture 1072014 90519 PM.bmp

Or something frilly like this:

Fullscreen capture 1072014 90525 PM.bmp

I think either styles could really work with this outfit. To top it off, I would wear a thick black liner, perhaps winged. Here are some great tutorials on how to achieve that winged look (TBD, Jaclyn Hill, and Makeup Geek). I would stick with a nude pink-y lip since again trying to match the color would be near impossible and red would clash.

Putting together an outfit for an event can be tricky, I always test run my makeup and outfit a few days before the event to make sure I like it all together. I hate being under-prepared for something and what if  it looks great in my head and terrible together and I don’t realize until 30 minutes before I leave?!?! That is just too much stress for me, so I find it easier to spend 30 minutes a few days before and run through the whole outfit just to double check. But I am particular like that.