December 8th, 2013
This picture on the right doesn’t do it justice- but it’s today’s sunset. I was in the middle of something, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw that the sky seemed to be glowing. I looked out the window, and this is what I saw. The sky ablaze as the sun said it’s final farewell to us today. It was breathtaking.
Today has been wonderful. I had a slow start to the day- much needed after the busy week and day in the city yesterday. I lounged while eating some apple-cinnamon crockpot steel cut oats, and drinking pecan pie coffee- thinking about the cookies I want to make this year- and gathering not only inspiration, but recipes.
This afternoon found us shopping for our Christmas tree- and I’ll be the first to admit that when we pulled up to the store and saw the parking lot completely full- I was put-off by the idea of actually going inside the store, much less looking for a Christmas tree.
But, I knew it would be fun, and it was! People were cheerful, and within moments of going through the garden area and into the live tree section- we found the tree that we knew was meant to be ours. The only problem was, at that moment, someone else had it in their hands- trying to make a decision between it and the other. But since it really was meant for us, they decided on the other tree, and we immediately put it in our shopping cart, and off we went.
As it turns out- we also received a 20- gift card to use at the store between tomorrow and mid-December, which made the deal even sweeter. In spite of the crowds, it was festive, and the sunset was the icing on the cake.
Tomorrow begins a busy week of baking and other fun, but I’m looking forward to it. After all- tis the season.
December 6th, 2013
This week- Marcel and I had a well-needed mini getaway. We rented a small villa on the water so we could spend some time relaxing. Part of our time away was to go to Munster to the Christmas market, and to explore the city. We did just that. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect on that particular day in Munster, and even though it was cold- the sunshine compensated for that.
If you know me then you know I’m not a big drinker, but even I couldn’t pass up the idea of a cup of delicious mulled wine- otherwise known as gluhwein to the Germans. I talked to the guy in the background who gave me a ‘sample’ when I told him that I wanted whichever kind tasted the best- and this was delcious.
Inside wasn’t just a warm drink, but also toasted slivers of almonds and raisins- hence the spoon.
We browsed the markets, dotted throughout the gorgeous city- and sampled some of the wares. We saw a Santa on a bike- pulling a sleigh, which was the laugh out loud moment of the day. I loved it!
This day was the perfect way to kick off the Christmas season and get me in the spirit of things. Something tells me if you can leave a Christmas market and not be feeling festive- then something is wrong.
Have I mentioned how much I love Germany? Well, I do. I don’t speak a lick of German- but I can always find a way to communicate- no matter what the language.
Time to start decking the halls and fa-la-la-la- laaing..
December 6th, 2013
I’m probably behind everyone else, but I’m ‘just’ starting my Christmas shopping. Granted, this year we are keeping things pretty simple, and aren’t going overboard with a ton of gifts for each other. In fact, Marcel suggested that he would either give me money- or that I could choose my own gift. Since I’m not thrilled about that idea- I did send him a link to the Michael Kors watches at this site and suggested it be a hint for “Santa”. I’m not sure if he’ll pick up on the hint, but a girl can hope. In the meantime, I’ve found a few things tha I’d like to order for him, along with a few other people we’re buying for.
We both prefer to spend time with people we love, and I love making gifts that are from the heart- and made with love. So it will be a little mixture of both bought and made gifts.. Sounds like the perfect balance to me.
How do you do your Christmas shopping?
December 1st, 2013
December first- The last month of the year, but the beginning of a month of fun and festivities leading up to Christmas! In honor of just that- and just because we can, Marcel and I are headed off for a little vacation, starting tomorrow. We’ve both (mostly me) been wanting to get to another German Christmas market for a while, so we’re going to head that way. Munster and Bremen are both relatively close to each other, and both promise to have something that I know we will love. In addition, we’ve got a few other things planned while we are away, including some quiet time on the water at the villa we’re staying in.
I love traveling, and even more, I love relaxed travel, which is exactly what this should be. The only thing missing will be a little fireplace, as the temps in Germany are supposed to take a nose dive- but nothing a blanket won’t cure.
I’m sure I’ll be posting photos upon my return- or maybe even a ‘on location’ post from there. This month is going to be one for the record books.. I can feel it. So many great things to look forward to.
This has been a year of lessons and learning- not only about myself, but about others. It’s been a huge gift and I’m grateful.
Now, let the fun begin!
December 1st, 2013
Yesterday I had an email from a long-time friend with the subject line that read HELP! I thought maybe something was wrong, but she was looking for gift advice. She has a close friend who is a well known rock musician (who will remain nameless), and wanted to know if I had any ideas of what to give the guy who has everything. We shared a few emails back and forth, and I gathered a little intel- before sending her a few links, one of which for the sennheiser hd 650 which I think would be a great gift. She thanked me profusely and said she owed me one, to which my response was- VIP tickets to the next concert would be nice. It helps that I happen to be a huge fan of his music, but then again, I’m a fan of a lot of music. I’m just always happy to help a friend if I can, but of course, I wouldn’t object to the tickets.
November 30th, 2013
In this month of “Thanksgiving” I chose to share something that I was thankful for each and every day on Facebook. Today, I was thinking about how it was really easy for me to find things, both large and small, that I am grateful for each and every day, because even in the most challenging and difficult situations, I am grateful. It doesn’t mean things are always easy- but I know that being grateful is part of my life.
What this month did do, however, was remind me of the importance of having a visual for that gratitude- and how it strikes a chain reaction within me, to focus even more on the little things in life that I’m grateful for- and for that- well, I’m grateful.
A little earlier, I sat outside with a cup of coffee (far later in the day than I usually have coffee, but it seemed fitting), and watched the sun starting to sink beyond the horizion. The ending of a beautiful day for us, and yet on the other side of the world, the dawning of tomorrow. I thought about how beautiful this year has been, not in spite of the challenges I have faced, but because of them. I have learned and grown in ways that had you suggested to me this time last year that this would be the case, I may have laughed.
I love the beautiful friendships that I have- seeing them grow, seeing new chapters open in their lives, doing happy dances with their successes, and sharing tears in their times of sadness.
Simply said- I love life and tonight, my gratitude cup overflows. For those of you who have been and continue to be a part of this great journey with me- I’m thankful for you!
November 24th, 2013
Earlier this week, I picked up a box of Chai tea. Skinny Chai Tea lattes are my fall/winter ‘go to’ drink at Starbucks when they are out of PSL or Gingerbread, and sometimes I like to be able to have a similar experience at home.
You may be wondering why I’m telling you all this- but there is a method to my madness, I promise.
This morning, I skipped the coffee, and decided that it was a chai kind of morning. I pulled out my red mug that I always use this time of the year, and opened my bag of tea. What I didn’t know- is that Yogi puts messages on their tea bags. This message was on my bag of tea.
“Apologize if you’ve hurt.” Simple words, right? It’s honestly a lot harder than it may look, especially when we add a sprinkle of ego into the mix. I can’t speak for others, but what I do know is that this simple message gave me pause this Sunday morning.
If you know me, then you know my intent is never to hurt anyone. Some of us may ask the question- does anyone ever intend to hurt others, and sadly, I would say that answer is yes, but I digress. That’s a subject for another day.
Still, even though I know it’s never my intent; I know that I have hurt people in my life. I wouldn’t think it was a regular occurance, but I’ve found that just because we say something without intent, doesn’t mean that the way we say things isn’t perceived in a completely different way by someone else.
Sometimes we hurt others with the choices we make, even if it’s necessary at the time. But I also believe that it’s our duty as responsible adults to communicate when we have been hurt and to attempt to make amends, if, in fact we would like to clear the air.
Some may feel that is an unnecessary step, but is it? How many of us have stewed in hurt and allowed it to become toxic in our lives? I would venture to say quite a lot of us, including myself. It’s been many years since I felt the need to seek ‘revenge’ on someone who wronged or hurt me, but I’ve definitely felt that way. The person it hurt in the long run- ME!
So if you’re reading this and for whatever reason you’ve felt that I have hurt you- whether I am aware of it or not; I apologize sincerely.
It’s amazing to me how a little tea bag can spark pause and reflection. I’m a firm believer in that there are no accidents, so I’m listening. It’s a gift I can give myself, and for that I’m grateful.
Are you holding on to resentment, anger, hurt or felt wronged by someone? If you can, take the time to talk to them about it- they may be unaware you feel this way. If not, do what you can to work through the pain and frustration, because the only person it’s hurting is you. Allow yourself to forgive and to be forgiven. It’s a freedom and release that can change your life for the better.
November 12th, 2013
Marcel was working and my agenda was free for the day. I grabbed a pen, some cards and a huge cup of coffee, and out the door I went. Before I started writing, I paused, admired the sky, and listened to the sound of the birds singing their own little song. It was the perfect fall day.
It wasn’t long after, and it started raining. Of course, I knew that sunshine + rain = rainbows, so I immediately started looking. It didn’t take me long to find one in all its glory. It was gorgeous. I watched it until it faded off into nothing, but my smile lasted much longer.
It reminded me of how it’s the smallest things that can often have the most impact. A rainbow or even a smile.
November 12th, 2013
Marcel and I have this thing about music. He loves it- I love it, BUT we both love different types of music. Sometimes, often times that taste even clashes, so when he’s listening to the stuff that is like nails on a chalkboard to me, I ask that he do it when I’m not around. I know that’s not necesarily fair, but I see it as a good compromise, since I don’t force him to deal with my music either. But I’m thinking that maybe a set of m-audio headphones at Guitar Center would be the answer, at least for him. Then he can listen when he wants and I won’t have to endure. This could be one Christmas gift checked off the list.
November 7th, 2013
There are many things that make me happy- spending time with people I love, notes from friends, Marcel bringing me coffee in bed to kick off my day, my favorite app (appropriately named HAPPIER- check them out at happier.com) which is all about focusing on and sharing lifes little happy moments. The people behind the app are also amazing, which makes me love the app even more.
In honor of focusing on more of what makes me happy- I wanted to share a few of the things that have recently made me happy- Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks. I literally did a happy dance when I saw the sign at the store. From there I commenced to drink one every single time I went to Starbucks.
Pumpkins- (I promise there isn’t a theme here.) I’m not sure if it’s the color orange, or the fact that I love Fall, or just pumpkins in general, but they make me smile every time.
I’ve purchased quite a few this year, oasted them, pureed them and given them a prominent place in not only quite a few recipes thus far, but also a spot in my freezer so I can enjoy them all winter long.
Van Gogh’s Sunflowers - Realistically speaking, any and all sunflowers grab my attention, but there is nothing quite like the Van Gogh version. Starry Nights is another of my favorites of his- but I keep two photos of one of the originals (this one taken recently) on my phone. When I want a smile, I look at the picture.
I’m curious- What makes you happy?