Category Archives: LifeStyle

Granny Aupair – A Different Take on the Traditional Au Pair Concept


Invite a German Speaking Granny to Look After Your Children

As expats we often miss that our children won’t be able to grow up with their grandparents. Not only does it make us feel at ease to have someone experienced to help raise our children but it’s absolutely precious to have someone look after them, who will also pass on some German traditions and values we ourselves most likely grew up with. Not to forget the nice benefit of having our kids be exposed to speaking German whilst they grow up far away from Germany.

Following the principles of an au pair service the German company Granny Aupair in Hamburg has been filling that ‘Granny void’ since 2010!

Have a German “Leih-Oma” Stay With You!

If you can’t have your own Oma stay with you, have a ‘Leih-Oma’ share in your family’s life overseas. That way your kids don’t have to miss out completely on the enriching grandparent experience. There is so much to learn from an older generation and Granny Aupairs come ready to share their generational wisdom while nurturing your children.

Granny Aupairs are active, adventure loving women aged 50 and above from all over the world but mainly from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. They offer a wealth of life experience and most often have raised families of their own. Child care, cooking and keeping a household in check is nothing new to them. They are experts in it!

An Enriching Cultural Experience For The Entire Family

“Since 2010 more than a thousand ‘Grannies’ have travelled to over 50 countries” with Granny Aupair, which was founded by Michaela Hansen (55) in Hamburg. Over the course of their stay many Grannies have become friends with the children and parents alike and have knit close bonds. Susanne, a mother in the USA mentions: “We had such a great experience that we had several Grannies over the last few years, and two of them have come back for a second stay. The children are really happy when a Granny comes again. We also had a “Granny Reunion” in Frankfurt in July this year with our family, my mother, and four grannies. It was wonderful to see all of them together!“

Many women, who choose to become a Granny Aupair are looking for a new challenge after they have retired or their own children have ‘left the nest’. They still feel adventurous, enjoy traveling and are in search for something granny-brigitte-in-kalifornien-2
meaningful to pursue. Granny Aupair Brigitte Köfler from Bregenz, who cared for a family of six in Los Altos felt very enriched by her Granny experience and puts it this way: “I got to know so many wonderful people during my stay…The family I stayed with was absolutely fantastic and they made me feel like a true part of them. The fun with the children and to feel so warmly appreciated was very fulfilling.“

According to an article in the British Telegraph and a 2014 annual survey by Nannytax there is in fact a trend that many families prefer hiring older, more life experienced women to look after their offspring. Granny Aupair offers just that on an international level.

I Am Ready For My Granny Aupair. How Does It Work?

Families and single parents all over the globe can now easily find their Granny Aupair. To get more detailed information and browse the database of Grannies, who are ready to be part of your family, you just simply have to register free of charge at www.granny- . Once you have found a Granny you feel fits your family, you need to become a member to start a conversation…and you are on your way to an enriching adventure!

Granny Aupair – Jetzt oder Nie!Logo


Granny Aupair – (+49) (40) 87976140 – – Facebook


Credits:  Images by ©IlonaGehrke ©GrannyAupair
(Sponsored Post)


Last Days of Summer


Last Days of Summer – Enjoy them before they’r gone…

Summertime, and the livin’ is easy… Gershwin’s silvery song from his opera Porgy and Bess rings in my ears while my husband and I lounge in pool chairs watching our children having fun in the pool right on the beach. “A pool on the beach?” you might say, “What’s so cool about that?”

Well, it’s a special pool. In fact it’s a historic pool! And it’s not somewhere at a fancy resort or so. No, it’s right here in Los Angeles and open to all!

One of the well guarded insider secrets of L.A. is the Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica. We love coming here! Every time we are in Los Angeles either going to the Getty, LACMA, hanging out at the Grand Central Market or just visiting the German Consulate, we make it a point to come here to pay this historic pool by the beach a visit before heading back home.


Built on 5 acres of beach property the Annenberg Beach House features a pool, a splash pad for the little ones, a fun playground and 6 beach volley ball courts right next to the Beach House. But it is also a community center that offers yoga classes, swim lessons and cultural programs and events like poetry readings and much more. You can rent out paddle boards for the day or book a surfing class. Do I need to say more…?

Even if you just come here for a few hours, it’s totally worth the parking fee of $3/hour or $12/day.  The kids can cool off in the water while you relax with a novel in a beach chair or just kick back after a busy day. If you are getting bored by the pool and crave some real ocean water, no problem! Just cross over the bike path along the beach and dive into the waves.


Beautiful Sunsets for Dinner

Oh, and lets not forget about the Back On The Beach Cafe with the most beautiful sunsets ‘for’ dinner! My suggestion is, make it a day at the Annenberg and stay for dinner. You will not regret it!

We love ending a day in L.A. here at this Beach House Cafe. Looking out onto the ocean, the pristine white beach in front us we dig our toes into the warm sand and unwind with a glass of wine. While we are waiting for our dinner to arrive, the kids hang out on the playground next to us, … and the most spectacular sunset is just happening right in front of our eyes!

A perfect day turned into a beautiful memory!


From Private Hollywood Estate to a Community Beach House for All

This beautiful site along Pacific Coast Highway was originally developed during the Gold Coast era of the 1920s by William Hearst, the publishing magnate who also built California’s Hearst Castle. The big estate was a gift to his mistress, actress Marion Davies, and hosted many of Hollywood’s celebrities like “Charlie Chaplin, Louis B. Mayer, Samuel Goldwyn, Greta Garbo, Clark Gable and other stars of the day”. After 1947 the property was converted into “America’s Most Beautiful Hotel” and housed the Sand & Sea Club before it was sold to the State of California in 1959.

A $27.5 million grant by the Annenberg Foundation paved the way for the transformation into today’s Annenberg Community Beach House a year-round public beach facility open to all. It opened to the public in 2009.

Annenberg 3

Today parts of the original historic Marion Davies Estate have been restored and are part of the new Beach House: the original Marion Davies Guest House, which serves as a museum telling the rich history of the Beach House and the historic Beach House Pool, which “features marble around the deck and beautiful tiles that were restored by hand.”

The Annenberg Community Beach House is usually open daily from 8:30am. Summer hours differ from fall hours so check before planning a visit. The pool schedule is seasonal and from October to May special Pop Up Pool Days are offered.

Annenberg Community Beach House
415 Pacific Coast Highway *
Santa Monica, CA, 90402

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Images: ©CaliforniaGermans



17th Annual Newport Beach Film Fest – German Spotlight



In a couple of weeks it’s time for the annual Newport Beach Film Festival (NBFF). A Festival that brings to Orange County the best of classic and contemporary filmmaking from around the world. This year the Festival will run from April 21st – April 28th and will spotlight over 350 films from around the world.

On Tuesday, April 26th, 2016 the NBFF will present its German Spotlight, an evening celebration of German cinema and culture. The event will feature the Regional Premiere of the highly anticipated German film, One Breath (Ein Atem) followed by a festive post-screening reception. The film centers on a greek nanny and a career-driven mother in Frankfurt who collide in this thrilling drama from German director Christian Zübert. When a child disappears the two women are forced to confront their fears and responsibilities. One Breath (Ein Atem) (In German with English subtitles.) is directed by Christian Zübert and stars Chara Mata Giannatou, Jördis Triebel, Benjamin Sadler, Apostolis Totsikas and Nike Maria Vassil.

The German Spotlight film will screen on Tuesday, April 26th 2016 at 8:15 p.m. at Starlight Triangle Cinemas (1870 Harbor Boulevard in Costa Mesa, CA 92627). The post-screening celebration will take place at 10:00 p.m. at Design Within Reach – SOCO (3303 Hyland Ave, Costa Mesa, CA 92626). The evening will include several of Orange County’s top restaurants serving signature tastings, multiple DJs, live entertainment, a special performance by Orange County Aerial Arts, hosted bar by Stella Artois Beer, and Tito’s Handmade Vodka.

Admission to the German Spotlight film One Breath and the post-screening party is $45.00. Post-screening party only is $25.00/ Film screening only is $20.00.   CaliforniaGermans readers enjoy a $5 discount with a special promo code:  GERMAN2016

For ticket information and updates visit 






Revisit the hits of the 80’s with Modern Talking

2015April-modernTalking Foto

Remember songs like, “You’re My Heart, You’re My Soul”, “You Can Win If You Want”, “Cheri, Cheri Lady”? Yes, you are right. That’s the guys from Modern Talking, the #1 German band of the 80’s! And you can experience the best hits of the 80’s live again this summer in Los Angeles!

Here a short flashback: Thomas Anders and Dieter Bohlen, the successful duo, formed the group Modern Talking in 1984 only to split up a few years later in the mid-1987. Both artists then went separate ways and invested time in their own projects. Bohlen formed Blue System another German pop group, and Anders started a solo career.

After a short reunion in 1998 they decided to split up for good in 2003 shortly before the release of “The Final Album” a compilation album with all the duo’s singles. Since then Thomas Anders has been engaged in his solo career and many other projects.

If you had been waiting to hear Thomas Anders with his Modern Talking Band in a life concert again, your wait is finally over! Experience the most unforgettable hits from the 80’s this summer! Thomas Anders will give his Los Angeles Debut Concert on August 15, 2015 under the stars at Starlight Amphitheatre.

Ticket sales started April 1st, and you can buy yours here!

WHAT:  Thomas Anders & Modern Talking

WHEN:  August 15, 2015

WHERE: Starlight Bowl Amphitheater, 1249 Lockheed View Dr.
Burbank, CA 91501

More information at 


Dining along the Beach – Restaurants with a View

©CaliforniaGermans (Venice Beach)

You love sunrises, sunsets or just in general enjoy walking along the ocean and breathing in the salty air? Well, what a better way to start or end a day in a nice restaurant along the seashore!

From Europe we are used to numerous restaurants or cafés crowding next to one another along the beautiful Mediterranean shoreline inviting us in for a delicious lunch or dinner. Here in Southern California I was sometimes surprised to find not at all the ubiquity of restaurants that one would expect with these endless miles of supreme coastline. Along Venice Beach for example one finds the quick snack type of restaurant with plastic chairs rather than a restaurant that offers quality cuisine in a nicer setting. There is even a German pub along the Venice Beach boardwalk, which I only entered because of the pretzels, they advertised. I would not willingly go in for a meal since the restaurant doesn’t look that inviting unfortunately. Although the pretzels were quite tasty I must admit.

A restaurant which I have in very good memory and one that has a spectacular view is “Gladstones” in Malibu! On some days you can see the dolphins swimming along the coast while you are sipping your cocktail and slurping your Oysters! Wonderfully relaxing experience!



Another option to enjoy good food while taking in the beach views and seeing the sunset in a cozy ambience is the Cheesecake Factory in Marina del Rey on “Marina Mother’s Beach“. Yes, it’s a chain restaurant, but at least one with an extensive menu of good choices and that in a beautiful setting at night. Torches illuminate the outside all the way to the boardwalk. One doesn’t get open ocean views like at Gladstones but a cozy Marina view.

Shoreline Village in Long Beach makes for a fun outing. Lot’s of things to check out around before stopping in for a Happy Hour at the Yard House or Parkers’ Lighthouse. Enjoy a beautiful sunset over a good dinner with views of the Queen Mary across the harbor!



Speaking of the “Queen Mary“, a visit to the historic ocean-liner-now-hotel is absolutely worth it. Take the tour and you’ll learn a lot about the historic times of great Atlantic ocean liners à la Titanic. Even though the sunsets are stunning aboard the Queen Mary, I wouldn’t recommend to stay there for dinner. A restaurant nearby,  Fuego (haven’t been there myself yet, but want to check it out), might be a romantic alternative to dine with an ocean view after having toured the Queen Mary.

Another Long Beach restaurant we like is Claire’s at the Long Beach Art Museum. One doesn’t sit right next to the water while dining but since it is on top of a cliff and a bit set back you can take in great views of the ocean while enjoying an artistic crowd around you. Open for lunch, brunch and Thursday Happy Hour until 8pm. Check the days!

Traveling south our next stop brings us to Newport Beach where The Beachcomber in Crystal Cove invites to ocean front dining par excellence. The restaurant in the midst of Crystal Cove Historic District sits literally right on the beach! So, while waiting to be seated you are encouraged to take a little stroll along the beach. Coming by The Beachcomber always feels like a little vacation!



Following the coastline south we are getting to Laguna Beach where several restaurants have at least partial ocean view but none of them sits practically right on the beach like The Beachcomber. There is Ocean View Bar & Grill located in the historic hotel “Laguna” with a grand terrace above the shores offering unobstructed views of the ocean while enjoying breakfast, lunch and dinner. A fun restaurant we love in Laguna Beach is the Big Fish Tavern. It’s not at the beach but one street away; but since it is on a hill you can enjoy great ocean views while dining on their terrace. And the food is delicious!

In the end, we admit there are quite some fun places to enjoy great food while admiring the shoreline in Southern California. It’s just a matter of finding them. And there are so many more we still need to discover. In fact we haven’t even started to explore all the culinary jewels along the coastline going south all the way to San Diego, with San Diego itself offering plenty of ocean dining options.  Therefore, if you know of a restaurant along the coast that you absolutely love, please let us know, so we can include it in our list at the end!

And should you not find the perfect restaurant that suits you after all…, there is always one easy option available : Pack a basket with your favorite foods and have a picnic right at the beach. You’ll get spectacular views for free!


Other restaurants Along the beach in SoCAl:

Coast  in Santa Monica within the Shutters Hotel is apparently a good if expensive choice to have an exclusive dinner or brunch at the beach.

Coronado Sheerwater Restaurant at the Del Coronado in San Diego


Photographs: ©CaliforniaGermans (Venice Beach, Marina del Rey, Queen Mary, Laguna Beach)