Creating new habits, recipes and memories

Dear Monday,
You could have really come a day later and allow the weekend to last just that bit longer. Is that asking for too much?

Rather than voice my disbelief at it being a mere few more days until December 1st, how Christmas is pretty much tomorrow and how I still haven’t bought or made a single gift I will keep the intro short and get straight to the topic of this post. Like every Monday it’s time for a Week in Review with Meg. Thanks so much for hosting and inviting us to reflect on the previous week! As always don’t forget to share your recent accomplishments and happy moments with me in the c omments!

Week in Review

 

Some of what happened in the past seven days: I. ..

Worked five days. Same game as usual.  I’ve been pushing myself to rush and answer the phone more often. It’s going better than I expected and can be quite rewarding. And I know my colleagues operating the front desk appreciate it. They’re some busy busy ladies and at times it’s hard to get anything done when the phone won’t stop ringing.

Published three posts: a Week in Review, the good good links and one some fun and surprising differences between Germany and the US. It’s amazing how many there are so I might just turn these posts into regulars for some time. I slacked in replying to comments but will get to it this week, promise.

Treated myself to a new book. It had been way too long and like I said before: books are one of the best things to invest in.

Allowed myself some more probably not entirely necessary purchases like a magazine and the cutest polkadotted lids for my nut butter jars. Okay, the latter were totally necessary ;).

Gilmore Girls_DVDs

Watched the first two episodes of the final season of Gilmore Girls (!). This was unexpectedly made possible thanks to my sister and her husband renewing their Netflix account and allowing me to use it. I had originally planned to get a membership for December but obviously appreciated not waiting any longer. I know some – many? – people watched the entire series this past weekend but I want to fully enjoy it throughout the next weeks. Making it last just that bit longer. No spoilers, please.

Created two new recipes. One of them is a spin on a classic candy favourite and the other a basic ingredient so the “recipe” is actually more of a tutorial.  Please excuse the terrible picture as these were another night time creation and gone too fast the next day. Hint: no peanut butter in there and also no other nut butter most people are familiar with in this variation.

nut-butter-cups

Finished “Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell which is one of the best, if not -the- best book I read this year. It’s the perfect mix of informative and entertainment. Reading it felt like nourishing my brain because none of us ever stop learning, no?

Meal-prepped as usual. Since I mentioned the size of my fridge limiting me there and some of you asked about it: 80 cm/32-33 inches from bottom to top. Technically not mini mini but it’s still filled faster than you might guess – especially if you like vegetables …

Spent time with my nephew, sister and her husband. P. is growing so fast that I wish I could see him more often to experience all of it.

Went on a morning walk with my mum, sister and P. who fell asleep on my sister’s back shortly after we left the house. I wish I could say the same about myself at night. Anyway, it was really nice us ladies got to talk through a few things while taking in the autumn sunshine and fresh air.

little-hands

What the title of this post is all about? The little things. Again, yes. If we look at it closely life in its whole is based and relying on lots of little things. Think: Butterfly effect.
As such, I’ve – intuitively, no intentional plans here – been introducing [or at this point I might still have to say: practicing] small new habits.

  • First change: I get up, pack the food I’ve prepared into my bag, brew my tea [in a can I take to work] – and lie down again for a few minutes. This will probably sound silly to most of you but this little allowance to curl up again in the middle of my morning routine is really nice.
  • Second: Changed my phone’s alarm clock ringtone. Here I was going with the same one for more than a year and hearing it evoked negative emotions. My new one is like a ‘hey, let’s get moving and dance into the day’.
  • Third: Walked in silence. Usually, going out for a walk after leaving the office meant plugging in my earphones pretty much immediately, sinking into the tunes of my playlist and letting my thoughts wander. Or so I thought until I – for whichever reason – didn’t get the earphones out on Monday afternoon and walked with no distraction. It’s an entirely different experience. Now I was actually listening to my thoughts and truly letting them flow. I still like listening to some music but will spend more time in silence, too. That’s when creativity comes about.

Looking back it was a week of many good moments and the weekend in particular helped fill those happiness batteries a bit again. Yet in full disclosure – once again the bits we don’t share on social media weigh in here – I can also see quite a few points requiring change. Time is flying and like everybody else I want to make the most of it but feel I’m not. While I don’t think we need the start of a new week or month to change our ways I will still take today as an opportunity for just that. Let’s pretend the fact it’s Monday is merely coincidence ;).

Happy Monday!

Happiness-inducing today: The time with P. and his adorable laugh, Shameless repeat offender.

Stay in touch!
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living
Tell me three or more achievements or happenings from your past week!

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Good good links #171

Happy first of Advent!

Apparently, the day after Thanksgiving marks the start of the Christmas season for all of you in the US so: have you decorated your house/apartment yet? Baked any cookies? Tell me!

I’ll pretend the fact it already is the 1st of Advent didn’t catch me by surprise in the slightest.* Sunday as is didn’t sneak up on me, though, so I come prepared with great posts I want to share with you.  So if you have a minute to space:  enjoy the reads and

Happy Sunday!

 

Good good links

 

 

Good good [food for thought]

Why the modern world is bad for your brain via The Guardian

Enlightening? Shocking? It’s hard to sum this article up in one or two lines. Yes, it’s definitely a longer read demanding your undivided (!) attention but worth it.

 

Good good [advice, inspiration + more]

In Defense of All the Scary Foods via The Fuck It Diet

Because once and for all: no food is inherently bad for you.

Nobody cares about your number via Healthyez Sweet

Numbers are one-dimensional ,character isn’t  – so: no number can ever define you.

How the KonMari Method Helped Change the Way I Look at My Body via Popsugar

A really good idea to copy even if you haven’t read the book and don’t want to go all the way yet.

Non-Thing Things You Can Give This Holiday Season via no sidebar

Technically, many of these are still ‘things’ (i.e. purchases) but some the other might actually appreciate rather than add it to a pile of unnecessary gifts.

11 Times the Experts Say You Should Skip Your Regular Workout via hello healthy

If any of these scenarios is true for you taking a break or going easier is best for your health.

5 Tips for Not Over-Spending — on Black Friday, or Any Other Time. via The Happiness Project

Some good ideas if you regularly find yourself regretting one too many impulse purchases.

 

Good good [food]

Apple Chai Cinnamon Rolls via love me, feed me

Looking just like regular ones Leah created these beauties without refined sugar.

Crunchy Apple Chips via It doesn’t taste like chicken

Fall favourite alert! Why buy these way overpriced when you can make your own?!

Butternut Squash Sweet Potato Casserole via Isabel Eats

The candied pecans and the pinch of smoked paprika really make this one shine in my opinion.

Roasted Brussels Sprout Polenta Bowls via Fit Foodie Finds

Let’s give the much underappreciated polenta some more lovin’.

Butter-Free, Milk-Free Creamy Scalloped Potatoes via Oatmeal with A Fork

An interesting vegan spin on the classic heavy side dish with an unsuspected vegetable.

Moroccan Aubergine and Chickpea Stew via Green Kitchen Stories

While I’m not a real fan of eggplant all the spices in this win me over – and, well, chickpeas.

Greek Vegan Moussaka via Veggies Don’t Bite

This is all around genius [look at the ‘meat’ sauce ingredients alone!] and I want a plate of this right now.

 

 

Happiness-inducing today: The morning spent with my sister and P. The scent of fresh laundry.

Stay in touch!
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living
Tell me: What were some of the best posts you read this week?

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Cars, cooking, cash – differences between Germany and the US

First things first: Happy Thanksgiving to all of you in the US! I hope you’ll have a wonderful day with family, friends or whoever you choose to spend it with.

It’s been a hot minute since I previously joined Amanda on her venture of leisurely letting thoughts wander aka Thinking out loud. I’m not entirely sure how much of the blog world will really be around today so I opted for a non-heavy topic fitting whichever day you read it: Differences between the US and Germany. While I’ve yet to visit the US myself being part of the blog world for a long time – far longer than I’ve been blogging for myself – I did notice things here and there all the time.

Ready, set,: thoughts out loud!

Thinking-Out-Loud

 

 

Going places

Say hi to Deutsche Bahn!
A lot of Germans travel via train evidence of which can be found multiple times on my blog. It’s convenient, cheaper and more accessible than flying. And if you like surprises  [beware of upcoming sarcasm] Deutsche Bahn – the main trailway company – regularly has you in for those with delays, broken air conditioning in the summer heat and else. We make it sound more awful than it is, obviously. Well, unless we remember that time your connecting train on a long distance journey was cancelled, you spent an hour standing on a crowded platform in cold wind and seriously questioning if we were going to make it home that day still, all while being sick. Thanks for nothing, Deutsche Bahn.
But hey, we accept that for long distance travels because …

Berlin

Gas is way more expensive than in the US
Last time I checked the gas my dad’s car needs was 1,35 € [around $1,42] – and that’s per litre, not gallon. That’s why won’t see any trucks or similarly big cars on the streets often here. Big hooray for public transport.

Restaurants, supermarkets and home

Running to the store on Sunday? No way.
You guessed that right: stores are closed on Sundays. Exception to this rules can be found in some bigger cities, usually stores located in central stations. And if you run out of snacks at night you might be out of luck, too. Most supermarkets close at 8 PM. Again, cities can be the exception with certain ones not closing until 10 or at the very latest – and I’ve only seen this twice before – midnight.

Just like your car you’d better not be super thirsty.

Because there are no free refills in Germany. In fact, some restaurant owners make the majority of their profit through beverages,  not food. The only exception being IKEA – thank you for introducing me to this novelty as a child, Sweden – where you can drink to your heart’s content.

Got cash?

If you plan on visiting Germany: a) let me know [duh!] and b) bring some cash. Well, you might have to do that in anyway because of the different currency but really: we like to pay in cash. Sure, I keep my bank card in my wallet at all times but only really use it to pay if I’m making big purchases. Some stores even have a minimum amount of spendings you need to reach before they let you use your debit card. And once you’ve paid …

Hurry up!

Because cashiers want you out as soon as possible. This is one thing that seriously annoys me. At best, you’d have your purchases stashed away and be on your way out right after you finished paying. I’m not entirely sure of the situation in the US but a friend from the UK told me you could take a lot more time to pack over there. There’s also no employee to help you bag up your stuff because hey, that could make you feel entirely too welcome at the checkout.

Take your shoes off, please
… and grab a pair of slippers. We do not wear shoes other than the latter in the house. I was surprised to hear people apparently walk around in their outdoor shoes at home in the US. Is that true? Sexier than the Birkenstock-like sandals I’m wearing as I type this for sure ;).

Cooking and baking

Let’s do the math!
… or just break out the kitchen scales. You might have already known that we do not measure in cups over here. Honestly, cup measurements used to seriously confuse me when I started reading blogs and trying US recipes. How many potatoes are you supposed to buy when a dish calls for two cups, diced? By now, I’m way better at this yet still prefer using scales. So much more accurate. [Completely subjective opinon of course]

kabocha!

You’re putting what into your dessert pie?!

Seasonal fact:pumpkin is not eaten the sweet way in Germany. We go savoury. Actually, you won’t find canned pumpkin on the shelves of any store, either. It’s only through social media and also very very slowly that some people – usually inspired by Instagram – start making their own pumpkin puree to use in sweet dishes.

Wrapping it up here even though I could come up with way more examples. But over to you and your experiences in other countries  – let me know about them in the comments!

Happiness-inducing today: More of that glorious autumn sunshine I mentioned in my previous post.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

Did you know about any of these differences between Germany and the US?

What are some differences between other countries you visited and your homecountry?

… and whichever random thoughts come to your mind here.

 

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Little favours, sacrifices for nut butter + more

It can’t seriously be Monday again already. If you’re asking me the weeks pass by even faster towards the end of the year. I wonder if daylight savings and the decreased number of hours that actually feel like ‘day’ day create this feeling. Thoughts on this?

Because I once again can’t offer many big accomplishments I’ll sprinkle in some little good deeds I did for others. Sharing these I’m not asking for acknowledgement but hope that we can encourage each other to do more – however small – favours for the people in our lives. So please share some of the things you did for others recently in the comments. At least to me doing what I know is helping others feels the most rewarding – and is the most happiness-inducing which you know is always a win in my book. Let’s get started with another Week in Review hosted by Ave and Meg!

Week in review

During the past week I …

Worked five days. The most uplifting part of these was talking to my new boss [we’ve been having two since July] about some tasks that are mostly my responsibility. They are changes to our previous documentation system and still taking a lot of fiddling around with. It was nice to hear my input appreciated and leading to another change that will hopefully make work easier/faster in the future.

Published a Week in Review and some really good links that I recommend checking out if you didn’t get a chance yesterday. Sundays aren’t always best for blog reading so why not catch up during the week?

Baked a batch of my healthy Maple Buckwheat Granola for a friend’s birthday. She lives a bit further away so I planned on mailing it but I found out her mum living close by was going for a birthday visit and she graciously offered to take along my gift. With this safe option I spontaneously added some of my last homemade Nutella, too. I should get bonus points for this as you won’t find me sharing nut butter often ;).

buckwheat-granola_1

  • Cleaned my apartment including the floors. Which reminds me I still need to wash the mop … oops.
  • Stopped by a bakery after work to pick up a quick lunch for the colleague who had to stay longer. She asked if I was heading into town in anyway which I hadn’t intended. But it was nice being able to do her a favour even if that meant getting home a little earlier when I …
  • Walked home from work on Thursday. I hadn’t done this since summer as there never was an opportunity and certainly not with the recent drop of temperatures. Thursday afternoon, though, wasn’t too cold and I really enjoyed the 30 minutes out in the fresh air.
  • Skipped my Friday evening workout to have a movie night with my mum. Sitting for two hours instead of moving is still not that easy  for me but a) I was tired, b) it’s a regular thing for other people and c) we don’t get to spend time with each other like that often. We watched ‘Me before you‘ and to be honest: I didn’t like it. Before you judge: the book was amazing but the movie doesn’t do it justice at all. It’s a flat, at times annoying romantic chick flick. We’re hoping to watch ‘The Danish Girl’ when my sister comes to visit next weekend and I have high hopes for that one.
  • Burnt my finger. Okay, no, the real accomplishment here is obviously the reason why: I made a huge batch of Nutella. And because I wanted it to be perfect I rubbed many a hazelnuts’ skin off with my fingers. The towel rub didn’t do much so I had to. It’s a rather small price to pay for a ridiculously good nut butter, right? [As I’m typing this I do think I should put on a band-aid, though …]

homemade-vegan-healthy-nutella

  • Ran some errands for my parents. I saw one of their favourite chocolates on offer so bought some of that and called my mum  to get any other bits and pieces she might have forgotten to get during the week. I should clarify I didn’t pay for all of these myself that day but do on occasion.
  • Read some really interesting articles and in another book. I need to up my reading game a bit more again, though.
  • Helped a lady running errands to find some products. I guess shopping at the same stores and browsing around the aisles regularly has the benefit of knowing where to find what pretty well. Now if that’s good or embarrassing I’m not sure ;).
  • Talked all things chickpea to a mother-daughter duo standing in line behind me at the store. This started out by the mother – looking at the many cans of chickpeas I’d put on the conveyor – telling her daughter she had lots of those at home, too, but no clue what to do with them. Being both a blogger and chickpea aficionado I was happy to provide them with plenty of ideas that especially the chickpea-savvy daughter – she was in her thirties so clearly living on her own – was intrigued by.

I also worked on some blog posts but might hold these back for some more time. The reason – and also generally why I’ve been posting less – is that they very likely are touching controversial issues. Only it’s hard to write other posts when these are the topics churning in your mind. However, I do have an alternative post idea that I might work on tonight still so hopefully I’ll get back to three posts this week again. Time will tell.

Looking back it was a good week. Not exciting, not enough sleep – I’m not giving up hope, though – and a plan with a friend fell through but there also were many nice little moments and focusing on these is so important.  That being said I’m also looking forward to a few things I have planned for the next week which isn’t the worst perspective [even though a little change at work might make that harder but again: we’ll focus on all the good things here]. I hope your week was sprinkled with happy moments, too, and here to a …

Happy Monday!

Don’t forget to tell me your happenings and accomplishments from the past week!

Happiness-inducing today:

Stay in touch!
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living
What were some highlights from your past week?

Have you read and/or watched ‘Me before you’? If both: how did you like the movie?

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Good good links #170

Hi there!

Do you have any repeating routines in your days or weeks? Because as I’m sitting here writing this intro I’m very much in my night routine of eating apples and chocolate with peanut butter – or homemade healthy Nutella as of late. Also: does anybody else look forward to getting back into a nightly Gilmore Girls routine?? Only five more days for most of you, twelve for me as I don’t have a Netflix account and will have to get one for December. Don’t you dare spoil anything for me! Okay.

Moving on to entirely different non-TV series-related topics with this week’s Good good links. Which I’ve heard are part of some of you guys’ routine as well – a fact that makes me happy. Well then …

Happy Sunday!

 

Good good links

 

 

Good good [food for thought]

Should bloggers talk about politics? via Forever Amber

Hello hot topic! There honestly is no ‘right’  answer that fits for everybody so I’d be interested in hearing yours in the comments.

Sometimes I Miss It via Erin’s Inside Job

A post many of us with a history of addiction – eating disorders included – will relate to and a reminder why going back is no option.

Why I’ve always hated the word ‘balance’ via Yeah … Imma Eat That

Dismss any advice or tips on how to achieve a balance in your diet  – it happens intuitively.

 

Good good [advice and inspiration]

Why It’s Time To Stop Complimenting People On Losing Weight via Mind Body Green

All of these reasons are so valid and a well-meant comment could not only be wrong but … well, #3 here. Something I think all of us are trying to avoid.

What I wish I had known about Mental Illness via Chase the Red Grape

Jen did a great job addressing the issue from both sides – that of the person struggling and those trying to help.

The World Didn’t End When I Gained Weight via Clean Eating Veggie Girl

Encouraging for any of us currently trying to gain weight or have and mentally struggle with it.

9 Simple Ways to Stop Impulse Buying via Wise Bread

It happens to most of us at times, no?  Some things to do if you want to at least lower the number of  those not-really-necessary purchases.

How To Make The Most Of Your Morning Commute via Bloglovin’ The Edit

Especially if your commute is taking up substantial time you want to use it purposefully, not hate it.

 

Good good [links to make you smile + DIYs]

28 Gifts For People Who Love Snail Mail via BuzzFeed

Do you think I should send this link to friends and family ;)?  Some fun and beautiful ideas – minus #9 …

 

Good good [food]

Cranberry Crème Tartes via This Rawsome Vegan Life

That colour! These are a serious eyesight on any table and sound delicious, too.

Gluten-Free Mexican Chocolate Buckwheat Muffins via Snixy Kitchen

These are so pretty plus you might remember I like my chocolate spicy. Also: romantics out there, please also read the sweet relationship story tied into this post.

Amazing Everything Brownies via Healthy. Happy. Life

Not your average brownies but ones packing so much goodness – almond butter, pumpkin, oats, … – and allll the toppings.

Millet & Black Lentil Stuffed Delicata Squash via The Full Helping

The filling looks so creamy and satisfying – and hey, getting your plant protein in there, too.

2-Ingredient Sweet Potato Gnocchi via Savoury Tooth

No eggs needed for these easy vegan and fun-to-make gnocchi.

Roasted Cauliflower Cranberry Stuffing (gluten-free) via Recipes to Nourish

While the original recipe is neither vegan nor vegetarian it can easily be made so [sub in veg broth and coconut oil]and it sounds amazing – dates, cranberries, chestnuts, …

 

 

Happiness-inducing today: [from Friday actually] Walking down a street flooded by the most amazing golden sunshine after work. It’s a pretty long street and I was blink-smiling into the sun all the while.

Stay in touch!
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living
Tell me: What were some of the best posts you read this week?

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The things we don’t see [+ what makes life sweeter].

Hi there, Monday and hi there to you!

What a week it’s been! I think it’s safe to say all of you will agree with that statement. A whirlwind of a week not just for me personally but the whole world. As I know many people would rather not have me voice my opinion on the election – I respect this but trust me it’s hard to hold back – I won’t. This coincidentally ties with something that once again became so clear to me when I started drafting this post: even reading a blog or following somebody on social media for years we know but don’t know them. In terms of the election we might have an assumption about a person’s vote but most of us won’t openly state it. Same regarding any other posts: we learn a lot about each other but there will still be equally as much, actually way more in most cases, that stays hidden – more or less depending on the individual. And that is obviously understandable.

Regarding the writing of this post I found this very strongly as it does look like a regular, not very eventful week from the outside – even to myself. Yet it was far from eventless. Only what made it a rough week are things I opt not to share for various reasons. I know this will probably sound like “look at me having such a hard life but, oh, I can’t tell you why”. Which is the kind of thing I don’t like others doing. You’ve heard me mention honesty as one of my biggest values many times before and I’m including these lines to say that I am adhering to this principle but there are still things too private to share. This is to say that my accomplishments this week are lacking a bit but for me the biggest one was getting through the week not letting things take me down, loose faith or cope in unhealthy ways. Granted, more chocolate than usual was necessary but that’s healthy for the soul so it doesn’t count, right?

On a last note here – assuming that we all have those tough days and off-the-blog struggles – I hope that life is okay for you. Hugs to you wherever you are.

My intros are erring on the heavy side lately, huh? Let’s delve into the happier side of life with another Week in Review hosted by Meg – and Ave, obviously.

Week in review

During the past week I …

Worked the usual five days. It was a rough week for the office.

Posted twice and replied to all comments. Getting better at this. In case you didn’t have a chance to check out yesterday’s post yet: some great posts worth reading.

Prepped some food for the week ahead. As of now I’m just preparing individual ingredients – think grains and some cauliflower rice – rather than full dishes.  Though the latter would be a smarter choice given I’ve been getting home from work later lately so lunches were lackluster. Yet my fridge is pretty small – I’ve seen pictures of US ones and: wow … Mine’s a shoebox in comparison which means no space for many big containers.

Ran an errand for a colleague on Monday so she didn’t have to. She had mentioned something she wanted to get in a conversation we had earlier and I offered to look out for it when picking up a few things for myself. Seeing her happy made me happy so that’s the real accomplishment here: sad Monday turned happier.

healthy-nutella_hazelnut-butter_texanerin

Prepared my first batch of homemade healthy Nutella. Woop! It’s -so- good. You might remember I’d found and made this with my sister a few weeks ago but wasn’t sure if it would work in the Vitamix. Well, I can now let you know you can prepare both homemade hazelnut butter and ‘Nutella’ at home if you own a Vitamix. The reason I hesitated – for years, I should add – is that every nut butter-making blogger seemed to use a food processor for those. Germany is a country where hardly anybody owns one of those so …

Used said “Nutella” in a new recipe for the blog. My mum was quite smitten with it which is good but I wasn’t regarding its visual appeal [or lack thereof].

Made more peanut butter. It really is a weekly happening by now.

Spent lots of time – but still never enough – with my favourite little human. Translation: my sister and P. visited us from Friday to Sunday afternoon. It was everything I needed after the week. Not a lot of pictures taken to prove it but my favourite moment was P. climbing on my lap when I was in fact attempting to take a few photos and – I wasn’t sitting in a stable position – almost making me fall over. Baby cuddles are the best and one of the things making life sweeter in an instant.

Baby hand

Braved the cold by going on a walk with my mum, sister and P. We already got a first blanket of snow covering the world over here. It’s pretty but I’m not a fan of the temperatures.

What’s funny and interesting about many of these accomplishments is the time they happened at. Any guesses? Yes, at night. Not even intentionally but just following my flow and motivation. From cleaning to cooking to working out – it’s all easier after dark. With daylight savings in action: way after dark. Maybe we can agree I would be more productive if I had more late nights to get things done?

Speaking of late nights: it actually is pretty late right now that I’m finishing this post so I’ll end it here and wish you a happy happy Monday. If life isn’t sweet for you right now: make healthy Nutella. It helps.

Happiness-inducing today: Still having my nephew around  until late afternoon [Sunday]. I already miss him and his happy-making magic so much again.

Stay in touch!
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living
Tell me some achievements from your past week!

Are there any more night owls here? I feel very alone in a blog world  full of early birds.

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