I'm super excited to share today's interview with you today as Love From Berlin is one of my all-time favourite blogs. And it's been awesome to get to know Rae a little more and I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did.
Can you tell us a little more about yourself?
Sure thing! My name is Rae and I am an American girl living and working in Berlin. I run a conscious lifestyle blog (the first of it's kind!) called Love from Berlin, work as a freelance photographer focusing on portraits and weddings at the moment, and also do freelance web design. I'm obsessed with travel, but who isn't these days?! Right now I am writing to you from Leipzig. It's a neighboring city about an hour away from Berlin. This summer I hope to take a lot more weekend trips around Germany and it's neighboring countries. When I am home I love spending time with my friends, and two kitties, play my guitar and write songs, and binge-watch Netflix - just a little bit obsessed with "How to Get Away with Murder" at the moment! I am also a very politically-conscious , socially-conscious and ethically conscious person. My convictions really inform a lot of my every-day decisions.
Yup! Love from Berlin (LFB) was created out of a need to blog about all the different aspects of life that interest me in one cohesive way. I also created LFB beause I could not find any other blogs out there who were blogging about both lifestyle, politics, ethics, self-care, and social responsibility in one place. Therefore, I decided to do just that and came up with the concept of conscious lifestyle - a lifestyle based on living with intention. It's about being aware and present while making decisions and choices about how we live our lives and treat ourselves, others, and the world around us. This concept is the backbone of everything that you will find here on LFB. Creativity and inspiration also plays a huge role in conscious lifestyle, as part of living consciously is about staying inspired and intentionally choosing our surroundings to not only make the environment happy but ourselves as well.
You talk a lot about conscious living on your blog, what does that exactly mean to you?
I already talked a little bit about this in explaining LFB, but basically conscious living is all about being intentional - to remember that our decisions should be ones that cause positive change in our life, and if we can help it, also cause positive change (or at least do not cause unnecessary harm) to others (people and animals) and the environment. It's about self-care and respecting ourselves and understanding our limits, but also about exploration and pushing ourselves to find what ignites our thirst for being alive.
What it’s it like being an Expat?
Being an Expat is definitely a special kind of lifestyle. I always say that there are two kinds of Ex-pats. The first are the transient ones who seem to never stay anywhere for more than 2 years and prefer to keep traveling around or end up going back to their home country. The second group of Expats are those who actually plant their roots in a specific place other than the country they grew up in and stay there for 2+ years, really carving out a life for themselves in their new home. They are both definitely completely valid ways of living life. I just happen to belong to the last group. Being an Expat for so long (I have lived in Berlin for over 7 years now!) means straddling two cultures. You end up taking on a lot of the cultural norms from the country in which you now reside. There are days when you are so happy to live in a place you choose to live in, but there are other days when certain cultural practices get you really frustrated because you personally would do things differently. On a more hilarious note, being an Expat means that I have had to accept the fact that I now speak some form of Pidgin English and German. I am fluent in both languages, but My English grammar has taken a serious nose-dive, as I oftentimes tend to translate things into English with German grammar without even thinking. I cannot tell you how many times I have said "Can you make the lights out?", "We see us later", or "Let's make a photo!" ...
What do you miss about living in America? and how does living in Berlin compare?
When it comes to things I miss, I would have to say that I miss the overall friendliness and openness in the US. In the states, it is entirely normal to strike up a conversation with a stranger in the Subway because they may be reading a book you have read before. You might talk for 20 minutes and at the end of the conversation, you have most likely already added each other on Facebook. In Germany, if you even smile at a stranger they will look at you like you are crazy. I also miss a lot of restaurants, and some of the convenience (America is seriously the land of convenience, but this is also not always a good thing). Lastly, of course which really should go without saying, I do miss my family, as they are all in the US still (save one cousin who lives in Israel) as well as my hometown friends. In terms of how American life compares with life in Berlin - clearly this is a pretty big conversation, but on a pretty basic level, I have to say that Berlin is an extremely creative and open city which is quite diverse compared so the rest of Europe. It is also and extremely young city full of 20 and 30 year olds - and for those in their 40s or above, they all tend to live very young as well. In Berlin there is always something to do, there is always some party happening somewhere. You can literally go out on Friday night and not roll back home until Monday morning. Back home in the US in my hometown, last call is at 10pm. It's just an entirely different existence. Berlin is free and wild and crazy. It's unrestrained and unapologetic. My hometown is a lot more structured and traditional.
You’re a seriously busy lady, how do you juggle everything?
I try my best! I definitely am not always on top of everything and there are days where I literally put some records on, bury myself under the covers, and decide to take a mental-health day, but I guess what keeps me going is the fact that I love what I am doing and I am trying to build some sort of career for myself. I also keep pushing myself because I have not reached the level of success I am looking to reach. When it comes to blogging, I try to do a lot of pre-scheduling of posts towards the beginning of the week, which free me up in the later parts of the week. I then have the time to work on photoshoots either for LFB, clients, or other personal pet projects, or use the time to travel in order to see more of the world, get inspired, and create more content for LFB.
What it’s like working with a team for your blog?
My team right now probably sounds more professional and impressive than it truly is! My team is basically made up of friends of mine whom I absolutely love and adore. They are passionate about LFB as well and love helping me create content, be it written or photographic. I am so lucky to have them as it does take a huge burden off of my shoulders. Running LFB is still 80% a one-woman show, but the 20% that my friends help me with is absolutely invaluable. I really hope to grow the team into something larger in the future as well. If any of you are interseted in joining the team, let me know!
Can you share more about conscious living movement you’ve just started on your blog?
So basically, for me blogging is more than just me writing posts and publishing them. It is about the community that is formed around LFB. I have created a hashtag #theCLmovement and urge anyone who is creating inspiring and conscious-lifestyle-based content to use the tag on instagram and twitter or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) in order to share your content with the rest of the LFB community. This content can than be searched for by other LFB members. I will also be sharing my favorite posts and content used in the hashtag or emailed to me in my weekly roundups as well as the Conscious Living newsletter. (The newsletter is currently being re-vamped, but I will be re-releasing it very soon!) If any of you are interested in joining the movement in other ways, like guest posting, please do not hesitate to contact me! I am very open to hearing from you!
What your favourite thing about running LFB?
I have to say that my favorite thing about running LFB has got to be the incredible people that I have met through running a blog. I actually met one of my best friends in Berlin, Betti (who also writes for LFB) through our blogs. Reading everyone's feedback or thoughts in the comments of posts also means alot to me. Although I do not always have time to reply to every comment immediately, I read each and every one of them and take them into consideration. I oftentimes even bring up some of the points readers have made with friends of mine in conversation about certain topics when relevant. The other thing I love about running LFB is the fact that it constantly challenges me to stay creative and stay alert. I am always trying to think of new things to bring to LFB while still giving attention to LFB's regular content, all while trying to keep the level of quality I expect from LFB the same.
YOU CAN FIND RAE OVER AT;