German Music: Punk Rock Trio Die Ärzte

February 20, 2017
German Music, Learn German

die ärzte. Fotocredit: Nela König

Punk rockers Die Ärzte have been known to call themselves the best band in Berlin and the best band in the world. While they might not be as well known internationally as their peers Die Toten Hosen, Die Ärzte have played an important part in the German punk scene. Regardless of whether you’re a fan of punk rock or not, check out Die Ärzte — this month’s music recommendation for German language learners.

Continue reading

Hydroponic Tulips

February 17, 2017
Home & Garden

hydroponic tulips

How beautiful are these tulips that my husband gave me for Valentine’s Day? However, you might notice that those aren’t cut flowers. They’re tulips with bulbs still intact and sitting in water! These tulips are hydroponic.

After my marveling over the air-grown, substrateless epiphyte orchids at Longwood Gardens, it’s probably not too surprising that I’m a fan of hydroponic plants, too. Years ago, my husband and I used styrofoam coolers to try and grow hydroponic lettuce. We weren’t terribly successful but it’s a method of growing that has continued to intrigue me.

These tulips, from a company called Bloomaker, seem pretty ordinary. You can purchase them from the grocery store. But the bulbs are specially prepared for hydroponic growth. That means the bulbs must be very high quality and disease-free for dirtless growing.

Continue reading

German Film: Actor Heiner Lauterbach

February 13, 2017
German Films, Learn German

heiner lauterbach

Heiner Lauterbach is a veteran. He has more than forty years in the film industry so it wouldn’t be surprising if he’s already crossed your path. The actor has an impressive array of television and films on his resume, not to mention theater. And his resume is growing regularly. Already this year, Lauterbach is in three films for the big and small screens. From comedy to drama, Heiner Lauterbach has done it all. This month’s featured German film recommendations for German learners is Heiner Lauterbach!

Continue reading

Orchid Extravaganza at Longwood Gardens

February 9, 2017

orchids close up

It’s about this time of the year — halfway through winter and halfway to spring — when people start dreaming of warm locations and vacations on bright sandy beaches. But only just recently my fellow Pennsylvanian, Punxsutawney Phil, predicted a further six weeks of winter. However, I have found a loophole! A visit to Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA. The horticultural garden in suburban Philadelphia is currently exhibiting more than 4,500 orchids as part of Orchid Extravaganza. It’s a first taste of spring that really shouldn’t be missed!

Continue reading

Must See List: Sumo Tournament in Japan

February 6, 2017

grand sumo tournament

Last spring, my husband and I started watching the Grand Sumo Tournament Highlights that NHK World aired. It’s a roughly 25 minute recap of the best matches of the day. We were hooked. As with so many things in life where you make assumptions without knowing all the facts, sumo wasn’t quite as straightforward. I can only speak for myself, but what I felt had always been depicted as two very overweight men pushing each other actually had a lot more nuance. Since then we haven’t dared miss a day of highlights. That’s why attending a sumo tournament is on My Must See List.

Continue reading

Lunch at Philadelphia’s City Tavern

February 2, 2017
Food, reviews, Travel

city tavern restaurant in Philadelphia

For a long time, I was reluctant to try Philadelphia’s City Tavern. I passed by it countless times as a teenager and during my college years. It was merely a landmark on my route to South Street or when I’d go to rock shows at the nearby Khyber Pass club (RIP). I thought of City Tavern as just another tourist trap. And while that is true to a certain extent, City Tavern has a lot more to offer than most give it credit for.

My husband and I somewhat spontaneously made reservations for lunch a few days before our visit to celebrate our anniversary. It seemed like a fun place to try.

Continue reading

How to Make Vietnamese Coffee

January 30, 2017

Vietnamese coffee filter brewing

A couple of years ago, my husband came home raving about Vietnamese coffee. He’d had a cup while out to lunch with coworkers. He spoke so highly of it that I surprised him with a Vietnamese coffee filter and some coffee.

But I noticed that every time I mentioned Vietnamese coffee to someone, they had never heard of it. Which, in a world of coffee pods, instant coffees and barista brews, probably shouldn’t have surprised me. Vietnamese coffee takes a little effort, but it pays off.

Continue reading

Japanese Candy: Matcha, Chocolate, Gum

January 23, 2017

Japanese candy

Every time that I visit the Mitsuwa Marketplace in Edgewater, New Jersey, I have goals. I want to have a nice Japanese lunch (and it’s difficult to pick between the tendon bowl and the ramen). I want to do some grocery shopping (the shabu shabu beef makes darn good Philadelphia cheese steaks). Finally, I want to select a few different Japanese candies to try. Preferably matcha flavored sweets. It can be especially difficult to know what exactly you are getting with some of the sweets if you can’t read Japanese. So I wanted to share a few of the treats that I’ve picked up over the course of several trips to Mitsuwa.

Continue reading

Philadelphia Walking Tour & Giveaway

January 19, 2017

philadelphia walking tour gpsmycity

Central Philadelphia is great for traveling on foot. And, no, it is not just because public transit coverage is spotty. (Not the whole reason, anyhow.) In addition to being relatively flat, you can literally walk through time. From the Art Museum to the Liberty Bell. Across cobblestones and concrete sidewalks. Through streets where the likes of Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and countless other founding fathers walked during colonial times. I’ve put together a Philadelphia walking tour to explore the culture and the history — and get a bite to eat, too!
Continue reading

German Music: Legendary Electopop Band Kraftwerk

January 16, 2017
German Music, Learn German


Using music to learn the German language can be a great tool but it is not always easy. Sometimes it can difficult enough to make out the lyrics of songs in your own language. Recognizing the lyrics of a German song? It can be a whole other challenge. But with legendary German electronic music band Kraftwerk the challenge is not so great. With clearly delivered lyrics, catchy rhythms and songs that aren’t too quick, Kraftwerk are actually a great way to learn and practice the German language.

Continue reading