Dear Summer, See You Next Year

Well, not just summer…spring too, and soon autumn.

It happens every year, I think, this moment of saying bye to your most recent summer. I wake up, the autumn sun is shining, but the temperature dropped to subzero levels for the first time since March during the night and traces are felt on the air as soon as I step outside. Hats and scarves have been retrieved the evening before from boxes largely untouched over the spring and summer months. I’m going to wait as long as I possibly can before putting on gloves, because that one is always a winter signal for me, and all my deeply entrenched Siberian sensibilities resist the approach of winter as long as possible before common sense sets in.

The final twinge of my sentimental heart comes from looking around in the park on the way to work. The trees are still covered with yellow and orange leaves, but plenty of those are on the ground and I can see it’s the last layer sprinkling all those branches before they become bare and autumn, too, is over.

I arrive at the office, take my coat off, settle myself at my desk and after a moment’s deliberation I turn on the heating just a bit. And then I see them in my mind’s eye, the crystal clear flashbacks that would certainly make a pretty sequence in a music video, the ones that everyone must have and which I momentarily dive into. New maxi dresses swaying to your and your friends’ relaxed steps during the heat wave, walking along in the shade, spreading out a picnic blanket under that tree in the park during lunch, lying back and looking up at the blue sky through green leaves fluttering now and again in the breeze, laughing at my own bad puns barely after getting them out, evenings full of conversations you don’t forget, before going quiet and smiling at each other, because the moment was just full enough and didn’t need anymore words.

So here we are, and I’m not even being corny, I mean every word. I guess I’m not a winter person, even if I appreciate plenty of things about the season. Enjoying warm drinks becomes that extra bit special and sometimes you literally just need it to defrost on a thankfully still non-Siberian level. Hamburg gets decorated for Christmas. Everyone starts talking about Christmas markets opening two weeks before they are due to do so. Staying in for most of a weekend day, if you can, is an increasingly repeated answer to the popular question “How was your weekend?”, if you want to answer more than “Good, thanks.”

There’s also the fact that these are basically a few months you can use to prepare for the next non-winter seasons, by way of buying summer dresses now on sale (what an exercise in patience and being organized) or dreaming about the next day trip somewhere nice when the days start to get longer. Because they will, and that’s the fantastic part. You only have to hold out until December 21, then the shortest day off the year can be ticked off your list and, as I always say, we start moving towards spring.

Not biased, just opinionated.

Sunday’s Little Moments

There is something special about Sundays in the springtime. Maybe because here in Hamburg we usually have to wait for ours – nature takes its time and blooming happens slowly, thoughtfully. But when the season is finally here, it’s glorious. It also feels earned!

It rained this morning first, but in the afternoon the sun came out and I seized my chance to take a short walk. I had one quick errand on my list and as I sped along underneath some lovely old trees the height of a four-storey building, a generous dollop of bird poo landed next to me with a plop, narrowly missing me. Or so I thought! A few minutes later I discovered part of it on my jeans. Yay, because I was worried – it’s considered a sign of good luck around these here parts.

Every café in sight has tables standing outside and people are clearly enjoying the conclusion of a (mostly) sunny weekend, stretching out the Sunday evening before next week begins. I get some ice cream and sit down on a bench to enjoy it. Within a minute there’s a long line out the door while I leisurely eat my dessert, so thanks to that bird.

Two small children, brother and sister, dart out, a cone with two scoops (like me) for each. Their mother instructs them in focused German on how to eat the thing: “Turn the cone and just lick all around the bottom.” Well! Now I finally know how it’s done! By this point it’s too late to test the technique, because I’ve already eaten my ice cream, but I’m certainly savouring (no pun intended) the moment.

In fact, I’d gotten my two scoops in a cone, and I’m actually wary of cones, even though I love them, because I worry about dripping or dropping, since the top scoop (if you get two) is usually  sitting above the rim of the cone and is therefore in more danger of toppling over if you don’t eat it carefully or lick away too much of the bottom scoop. This is an important topic! But it’s 2019, and my cone trust has grown a lot. May this year signal the arrival of a new era in ice cream consumption outside as well as more little Sunday moments.

You Can Tell It’s Spring in Hamburg When…

Your favourite park doesn’t look like it’s sleeping anymore even if the trees are still bare, but they are not actually bare anymore, they are clearly waiting.

People are walking around with those tell-tale, increasingly ubiquitous regardless of the season stretches of bare ankle between low sneakers/ Chucks/ loafers and cropped jeans or chinos.

Jackets and coats are FLUNG open. Scarves flap in the light breeze or are discarded completely. Those daring enough sit without coats on in patches of direct sunlight. Sunglasses are worn like we do it every day.

Cafes start setting up tables outside, though with blankets discreetly draped over chairs.

There are crowds of people walking anywhere by the water, which definitely means the Außenalster (bigger Alster lake), the Elbe and the Port of Hamburg. No one will be going away for the weekend.

The sky was so blue and virtually cloudless (we always notice that here) during the day that in the evening, once it starts getting dark, the blue just deepens and you can see the almost full moon as clearly as if you painted it up there yourself.

Oh, and there was that little fact of it being 14 WHOLE DEGREES today. Let it be noted down in history that the first day of spring in Hamburg in 2019 was February 16 and it has so far lasted beyond the weekend. We’ll see what happens.

What to Wear #35: Spring Green and Pastels

“He can call me a flower if he wants to…I don’t mind.” Some quotes just stick with you forever. Say ‘flower’ to me, and there’s a 90 percent guarantee that I’ll say the former and also imitate this little…well, I can call him a flower, he won’t mind.

Wednesday the long day is behind me, today is more relaxing, with some drinks after work. If the weather gods favour us, we will sit outside, and if not, it’s still safe to wear this. My lipgloss tube is almost empty, as this is one of my favourite shades.

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What to Wear #31: Fabulous in Fuchsia

Well, OK, whether or not it’s a fabulous look is subjective, but… I don’t care, because I love this color and I feel good in the outfit! The sun is shining and it’s supposed to be warmer today. I’m also going out to dinner with friends in the evening, so I want to wear something bright, and fuchsia is also a color I connect with being cheerful. Unless it’s fuchsia with a touch of crimson. “It’s pink!” – “But I wanted it blue.” – “Now, dear, we decided it would be pink.” – “You decided.”

I think I would actually give that blue-pink mashup a go if I had such a dress. But what I’m wearing now is a higher-waisted fuchsia with possible hints of crimson babydoll dress with elbow-length sleeves. It’s cut a little lower in the back, and once I confused it with the front, logically thinking that the more open part of the dress belonged there (not necessarily, there are, of course, plenty of dresses cut lower in the back). I spent the whole day walking around wearing my fuchsia frock the wrong way around, and by the time I discovered my mistake, I realized one very important thing: nobody cared, least of all me. The material is very nice to the touch, jersey cotton, making for a comfortable choice.

Being that it’s a slightly shorter babydoll dress, I grab my trusty leggings box and go for a contrast – the already mentioned in this blog white leggings with yellow and blue flowers, for that spring touch. One of my scarves in several shades of grey (haha, yes, I see what I did there, but it was unintentional and it’s not my fault) that works with almost any outfit joins the team for a bit of warmth. A dab of pink lipgloss – don’t want to overdo it; small silver earrings, low black sneakers and the trusty grey leg-warmers. All layered up and ready to go.

 

What to Wear #30: A Spring in My Step

We just can’t stop talking about the weather, can we? It’s always there. It is once again a bit chilly, but it’s still spring, so how do I wear my spring clothes without getting cold? The answer is magic in its simplicity: those trusty layers! You layer and you search for a way to cover up your cold spots without feeling like you’re dressed for winter in Siberia (been there, done that).

The first item that pops in to my mind are my denim shorts, stopping just short of my knee and still suitably non-frayed for work. Next I take out some dark teal tights – I’ve seen this combo on quite a few musical YouTubers I follow and ended up liking it myself. You’re wearing shorts without being cold, and it’s a great way to add some color to your outfit.

One of my favorite plaid shirts joins the ensemble, along with a lighter teal sleeveless shirt. Red rosebud earrings and a lipgloss with a hint of brick red take care of the details, and heeled black ankle boots will whisk me off on my city walk.

What to Wear #27: Black and White…

“…look alright.” That’s a quote from a cartoon called Muzzy in Gondoland, which I saw as a small child. Some lines from it are stuck with me forever and lend themselves very well to various style situations. Actually, most, if not all of those lines come from a song one of the main characters, Princess Sylvia is singing as she prances about her castle choosing dresses. Mais oui! The fact that I adored Muzzy is the reason why even as an adult I still sing “I’VE GOT A YELLOW DRESS/ YELLOW IS FOR HAPPINESS” (another line from Sylvia’s song) at the top of my lungs when I pull out my yellow dress.

Yeah, I’m still basically just a weird kid. But we’re not talking about yellow, are we? We’re talking about black and white…and grey! Because only two colors is too little to work with for me, at least today.

I had thrown something casual together over the weekend and my sibling said in passing that it all matched. Coincidentally, the matching colors were black and white. The compliment stayed with me and cycled around my head, resulting in the following choices. I’m also meeting a dear friend I haven’t seen in a long time, so I want to look nice – she is naturally good at dressing tastefully and I always enjoy seeing her outfits, as well as the sparkle in her eye.

The knee-length sleeveless black jersey dress can be worn with literally almost anything, it can be dressed down, up, layered with other items in the winter, worn with a light scarf over the summer – yes, Coco, you were right. Though I wouldn’t characterize it as an LBD, because being tall, I don’t have anything little, but Coco’s wisdom is universal. The grey leggings are comfortable and of a nice stone grey which I like. The short white cardigan prevents the outfit from feeling or looking a tad severe, and the black and white scarf I mentioned once on this blog picks up on all the colors in the outfit, as well as providing the touch of whimsy I usually crave. Black heeled ankle boots will help me get from A to B.

I do enjoy my pop of color, so dangly earrings with a bright green stone (no, not jade, but something nice and semi-precious) in the ears and an intriguing lipstick from The Body Shop in the shade Colour Crush (warm, pinkish red tone) on the lips. The lipstick also has a little bit of glitter in it – bonus!