Tuesday, 25 December 2012

So to hell with holiday romantics. Not.

I hope you are all having the most wonderful Christmas days or are simply enjoying yourself if you do not celebrate Christmas! I myself am very happy and very very full right now. Yesterday I celebrated with my parents, my little sister and 7 different dishes and today we met up at a Spanish restaurant with the Spanish part of the family. It was delicious, loud and funny, as always. Tomorrow, my German granny, her sisters and the Count will come to our place for some more food and presents.

Here's a picture of how I (or at least my face) looked like yesterday, just because I can:

Anyway, I want to wish all of you wonderful people all the best! I hope your wishes come true and I hope nobody burnt their house with the candles on the Christmas tree. Don't give me that look, it happens.

Here is my Christmas song of 2012, I know, it's all anti and hipster and stuff but I still like it.

December is for cynics- The Matches

Mocking charols that we hate, 
damn, it's easy being great! 
So to hell with holiday romantics, 
december is for cynics, 
december is for critics! 
Let's get high on art supplies and hibernate, 
december is for cynics!

Happy Christmas and have a wonderful day!
The Countess

Friday, 21 December 2012

A Photoshoot

A few weeks ago I "modelled" for a project my friend Vivi had to do for her art and design school. I am by no means a model but she asked if I could help her and we have been taken photos together for years now so I happily agreed. Today she gave me the photos and I thought I'd share a few of them with you!

The first one is an supposed to be an idealized personal portrait. We wanted to use a picture where it seemed as if I was some sort of peaceful fighter for feminism and what came to mind as an inspiration this painting:

This is the result:

There are some other photos she took of me during these shootings and a few of them I really like:

Oh, also this happend:

Have a great day,
The Countess

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Times Have Changed or A Very Short Short Story

This is a little story I had to write in one of my classes today. A group of people had to simulate a lesson in an 8th grade and they let us write stories in groups. My group knew that I write sometimes so they let me mainly do it on my own (neither of us complained ;) ) Afterwards every group had to read their story out loud and the class had to vote for the best one. Guess what^^
We won!

Here are the rules that were given:

1. It had to be a Christmas story
2. We only had 15 minutes time
3. We had to include the following words:

macaroni and cheese, alarm clock, spare tyre, balcony, chandelier, space shuttle, ppt presentation, toilet paper, plug, chalk.

Times have changed:

Times have changed.

Even for Santa.

Children have changed too. 
They don't want apples and nuts anymore, they want IPods. And they do not send wish lists anymore, no, they send ppt presentations. If it were only IPods, fine. But no, they want everything and so Santa  had to send poor old Rudolph into retirement and get a space shuttle instead.  He used to have a truck, like the one in the commercials but who can afford all these spare tyres? Santa even had to switch to cheaper toilet paper, the presents are just too expensive. 

And everything takes so much more time than back in the old days! Therefore, Santa got himself an alarm clock a while ago, a new fancy one without a plug. But of course, he still has the big old chandelier in his bedroom. He is a traditionalist after all. Really, he'd rather be sitting on his chalk painted balcony reading Jane Austen.

Don't get me wrong, he loves the kids. They leave the nicest cookies, even though he prefers macaroni and cheese because yes, indeed, times have changed.

Even for Santa.

Let me know how you liked it!

Have a great day,
The Countess

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Real life Stories

 A while ago, the Count and I had this conversation:

The Count: " I know who Amanda Palmer is. She is in that band from Leipzig."
Me: "Um...no. You mean the Dresden Dolls."
He: "Leipzig, Dresden, what's the difference?"
Me: "They are not from Dresden, though..."
He. "But they call themselves Dresden Dolls!"
Me: "Dresden Dolls are really famous dolls that are produced in Dresden. The band used those dolls as their name inspiration."
He: "Hm..."
Me: "You really thought they (the band) were from Dresden, right?"
He: "No, I thought they were from Leipzig."

Monday, 10 December 2012

History Nerd Facts: Times New Roman or Why the Humanists were Idiots

This is Times New Roman.

It is one of the most used types in the modern time and it has its origins in the Carolingian minuscule which was introduced at the time of Karl the Great (king/emperor of the Holy Roman Empire 768-814 AD). Before Karl the Great there was a big variation of types, some of them looking very very different from each other. Today they are incredibly hard to read for untrained eyes as you can see below but even back in Karl's days having many different types wasn't exactly handy. Karl the Great introduced a unified education and writing system to the Holy Roman Empire, the most important one for us today is probably the unified type, the Carolingian minuscule.

If you look at the pictures below and compare them to another you will notice that the Carolingian miuscule is much easier to read for us. 
That has a reason: 
The humanists were idiots.

Back in the time of Humanism the people wanted to bring back the type of the Roman Empire because everything from the ancient times was seen as pure and good, in contrast to everything that came from the so called "dark ages" aka the Middle Ages. (see Stuff that didn't happen in the Middle Ages.)
So the humanists looked at old ancient texts, copied the type, spread it and probably felt very good about themselves. Well...
They DID look at texts that were written in the ancient times... Not on the originals though. What they thought to be originals were really manuscripts from ancient texts that were written in the time of Karl the Great. So what they introduced as the pure type of the ancient times was really the Carolingian minuscule.

Luxeuil type, one of the types that died out when the Carolingian minuscule was introduced. Source

Carolingian minuscule. Source

Do you enjoy this little series of mine?

Would you like to read something about a certain topic?

Have a great day,
The Countess

Friday, 7 December 2012

Some Everyday Pictures

I have realized that I have shown you a lot of photos from shootings or where I had just put on make-up, done my hair et cetera so i thought I'd show you some pictures of my in my real, honest everyday life. They're obviously less good than pictures where I look my best but I still kind of like them. Here we go!

Me at Mc Donald's, prettiest backround ever. Not.

It's getting cold...

This morning. I really need to clean that mirror...
Me and Albertus Magnus appreciating the first proper snow of the year at uni. Albertus Magnus is the statue, not the bike.

I am really excited about all the snow! I met some people from Spain at uni and they have never seen snow before. Can you believe that? They got really excited and infected me with their happiness :)

Have a great day,
The Countess

Thursday, 6 December 2012

History Nerd Facts

"The history of the world is but the biography of great men." -Thomas Carlyle.

This quote is often true but there have been some important, powerful women in the position as head of a country before Angela Merkel. Often, these women had to de-feminize themselfs in order to be taken seriously. Today I want to show you two very famous examples. They are not only a symbol of the repression of women by the patriachal society, not only victims. No, they are also proof that women can succeed in this world, can prove all the prejudiced people wrong. They used the fixed role systems for themselves, turned them around in order to fit to their use. These two women are very inspirational to me.

The first one is my favourite historical person of all times and also my idol:
Queen Elizabeth I., daughter of Henry VIII., sister of "Bloody" Mary I. and the first Queen of what we'd call Great Britain today. 

Queen Elizabeth is also known as the "Virgin" Queen, not because she really was a virgin but because she created this myth around her persona. She stylized herself as almost God-like, pure, above everything that is human. She did not do that because she liked being mythical but because it gave her the possibility to stay unmarried. People back in her time did not believe a woman could reign a country, they wanted her to get married as soon as possible so she could be replaced by her husband and become a wife and mother. It was regarded as unnatural to have a woman in a powerful, leading position, women were supposed to be mothers, wives, daughters, grandmothers but never leaders. 
There was one woman though, that everybody loved and hailed: 
The Virgin Mary.

So Queen Elizabeth decided to stylize herself like the Virgin Mary, She used white face paint, big wigs and impressive dresses to appear almost God-like to her people. They didn't see her as a woman anymore, they didn't see her as weak, as  unworthy, as imperfect. They saw her as this saint-like creature that was pure and perfect.
She went so far that she sometimes, when she referred to herself, she used the term "prince" or "king". If she could not be seen as the mythical virgin (for example when war was about to come up) she took the role of a man.

 "We princes are set as it were upon stages in the sight and view of the world."
  "I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a King of England too[...]"

This second quote is from her famous speech to the troops at Tilbury before the fight against the Spanish Armada. As the Virgin Queen, the saint, the pure perfection she couldn't lead her troops, so she showed them that she was indeed a King.

Queen Elizabeth's era is today known as The Golden Age. It's the time of Shakespeare and the time where Britain became the most powerful nation in the Western world. Queen Elizabeth supported the freedom of thought, especially when it came to religion, she is known to support the arts and she even has a US state named after her: Virginia.

Queen Christina of Sweden is the second woman I want to tell you about.
Her official title was "King". People addressed her as "queen" but her real title was the male one because usually the throne belonged to a man. Her nickname as a child was the "Girl King". Christina was brought up and educted as a boy because she was the only surviving child of her parents, the King and Queen of Sweden. She was Queen regent from he age of seven until she decided never to marry, converted to catholisism and gave away the crown to her (male) cousin. from that point on she was a Queen without a country. Most of the time she lived in Rome where she was a big supporter of the arts. Many people in her time have written about her not being exactly beautiful, she was probably what some people might call today a tomboy.

These two women can be role models for us, they show that women can succeed even in the worst times and even if they have to de-feminize themself. Elizabeth and Christina can also be reminders that equality is a long path. We are way better off than they are, no doubt, but we still haven't reached the goal. We are not allowed to use the limitations society puts on us as as exuses to lay back and stop trying. We have to follow our dreams, no matter what other people tell us to do.

Have a great day,
The Countess

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

I'm a Christmas Elf!

Or at least I feel like one. Everything revolves around Christmas in my life at the moment, the Christmas spirit took possession of me and now all I can think of are presents, cookies, snow and fairy lights. I baked the first cookies about 3 weeks ago and as I want to make all to make all presents myself this year I spent a lot of time crafting, cooking and melting.Yes, melting. I made candles. Scented candles to be specific.

Patchouli and Orange

Cherry and Lily of the valley

I also made some chai syrup for some of my friends. you add a bit in a cup of black tea or (soy) milk and voilá: Chai! It contains a bunch of spices that make it smell like Christmas in a bottle aka heaven. As its main ingredience is sugar it does not need to be stored in the fridge and you can keep it for a while. If you want I could post the recipe here.

Chai syrup

The last thing that has a christmas-y smell to it is the sugar-coffee-cinnamon-oil peeling I mixed as a present for a friend. I didn't take a close-up of this because it doesn't look exactly...pleasant. Honestly? It kind of looks like mud but it smells delicious and makes your skin super soft. The sugar and coffee have a peeling effect, cinnamon encourages blood flow and the oil leaves your skin nice and soft.

The peeling is in the bottle in the middle. Like I said: Mud.

The small jars contain lip gloss and a lip peeling. Again, I have the recipes here if you want them.

Making the lip scrub

The lip gloss, still in its hot, liquid condition

The final results
All that is missing now is a bath oil and then everything is ready for the first Christmas party of the year this weekend.
What are your favourite Christmas presents to give to your friends?

Have a great day,
The Countess

Monday, 3 December 2012

Christmas in Cologne

It's nearly Christmas! I love love love Christmas! On Saturday, the 1st of December, we had the first snow here in Cologne which is pretty early for the area I live in. To honour this wonderful time of the year I want to share some pictures I took in the city my heart beats for.
I proudly present: Winter in Cologne!

I hope this will be the beginning of a little series through december, if you like it at least!
Sleep well,
The Countess