Currently… August

Even with an as-of-yet non-existent blogging schedule it’s that time of the month again. Wait, not that time. You know what I mean: it’s August already [insert comment on how fast time is flying by] so why not give an update on current life happenings?

Current book: Too many and none. I keep piling up books from the library and attempting to read all of them yet not being completely drawn in by any of them. Right now I found one that is acceptable for a quick mindless summer novel. A sweet nothing [in a good way] in written form if you will.

Sweet like sugary frosting as you’d guess from the title already: How to Eat a Cupcake is the story of two women who used to be best friends as children – Julia, the careless child of rich parents and Annie, their housekeeper’s daugther – but broke apart due to happenings in their teenage years. The story is how they meet again and – despite their anger – decide to open up a café together which involves quite some drama [men, secrets, vandalism, …]. It is told interchangeably from Julia’s and Annie’s perspective which is a way of writing I enjoy.

Current drink: Alpro Coconut drink.

July 23rd 024

I used to only drink calorie-free everything but how much fun is that in the long run?  At first try this seemed way too sweet for me despite containing no added sugar. Now, however, I’m completely smitten with it and will pour myself a cup several times a day. Creamy, sweet, refreshing. I wish I liked it less because a) it’s a bit expensive for going through a litre in three days and b) I soon won’t be able to get it anymore [see current procrastination].

Current food[s]: Not new ones but rediscoveries have been the motto for me  all around lately.

Hazelnut butter.

Picture dump_July 032

There are no words. Or maybe: hand me a spoon, please. I’d been putting off purchasing a new jar for months because it’s ridiculously expensive.  So when I noticed it was on offer at the health food store I had to pick it up. That was only days ago and half the jar is gone already.

Raspberries. Their season might be over soon so I need to make sure to get my fair share in while I still can. Or hope for my mum’s to grow soon so I’ll be able to scope up a nice lot when I’m at my parents’s soon. She grows ‘late’ raspberries which ripen around the end of August or even a little later. Meaning that by combining the store-bought variety and hers I get to lengthen the season. Win!

July 23rd 016

Peas: It’s no secret I like legumes but peas are one of those unsuspecting ones I tend to forget about. Childhood memories with every pea I eat because they made frequent appearances on my plate when I was a little one. But now I’m quite fond of them as you might have noticed in the cheesy vegan gnocchi recipe.

Current nail colour: Essie’s Madison Ave-hue was on my nails a lot again recently. I’m about to change colours again, though.

Currently_nails

Current blessing: The weather. It’s been perfect these past days: sunny but not too hot. Today actually being the exception because Germany is currently drowing. It’s pouring buckets.

Current needs: Somebody to help me pack or Mary Poppins’ witchcraft to shrink all my belongings and make packing easier. When in the world did I gather all those kitchen gadgets, clothes and food 😀 ??

Current procrastination: packing. I had yet to mention it on the blog but I’m about to move in a little over a week. Right now the sadness of leaving the city and beautiful apartment I’ve grown to feel home in during the last four years is overwhelming and putting a damper on my mood. It doesn’t help that my new place will be in the middle of nowhere with hardly anything around and I’m not sure about the job itself, either. There’s a lot going on in my mind right now but I’m still ttrying to figure it our myself. Trying to stay positive but it’s not easy.

Current bane of my existence: Fruit flies. Vegetarian or not: I respect many creatures but fruit flies are none of those.

Current wish list: Not having to move. Okay, as this one’s out of question: Family time. Aside from sporadic meet-ups with my mum I haven’t been with my family for longer since I moved back into my apartment in February. I’ll likely spent the time in between moving and starting my new job at my parents’ place in the countryside.

Current link: Lifehack. Procrastination? Maybe. A lucky bag of awesome advice? Absolutely.

I hope your Monday started in a marvelous fashion and the week will follow suit there for all of you!

Happiness inducing today: A chat with a random stranger [more on that in a future post!].

Stay in touch!

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

 

 

Any packing tips? How do you decide what to throw away and what to keep [also memory-wise]?

What’s your current

  • book
  • food
  • nail colour
  • wish list
  • blessing?

Currently … March 2014

A post about current happening and favourites at the very end of a month? Why, yes, let’s just go with calling it a recap of the past – once again rushed by – 31 days. There have been some not so good happenings but looking back March was an overall marvelous month. Let’s celebrate another Monday with our sweet host Katie!

MiMM_new

Current book: One? More like three at once. Yes, after secrectly hoarding about 1/4 of my library’s inventory I was able to narrow it down to three. Just to showcase one I’m going with ‘The Paris Wife’ because it’s the first I started. And actually the only of the three that’s not from the library. Go figure.

The Paris Wife

Current music: Nothing new. But I’ve started listening to podcasts when walking again which I’d somehow forgotten about. Right now still mostly my [German] favourite but I could use some inspiration so if you know of any good ones: let me know.

Current guilty pleasure: Reading some blogs while at work … Productivity boosters, you know.

Current nail colour:  The same like last month. Yes, I changed it in between but I was feeling Jam ‘n’ Jelly again so that’s what it is.

Jam 'n' jelly

Current food: All the Cs! No, I did neither plan this nor do I intend to do an alphabet challenge related to food*. But I can’t say my inner grammar fiend/OCD personality doesn’t like the coincidence of it being the third month of a year and my fondness for all foods starting with the third letter of the alphabet 😉 . Really, though, there are so many good foods starting with C.

*Even though I’m somehow intrigued by the idea now…

Chocolate. It’s an ever-occuring one but the obsession’s been growing out of whack lately. I’m not sure what it is because I can’t blame the weather.  Anyway, sorry I’m not sorry but I could never give this up for Lent and I know many people do.

Lindt chocolate

Chickpeas. And I’m particular and only buy this brand because they are the best. Yes, trust me. If you’re German or even happen to be over here that’s your go-to brand. Thank me later 😉 .

chickpeas

Also: [Variations on] Cauliflower. One of these being the Chickpea Flour Dumpling Bake and another delicious recipe featuring it will be coming your way soon. Until then be sure to check the link in yesterday’s post.

Dumpl

And another ‘C’ I’ll be getting into more detail about in a future post invling current experimentation with my diet.

Current wish: Right now? Wishing that WordPress would return to its previous layout again. The picture editing. The [be honest: dumb-looking] smileys. Everthing. Is anybody up for petitioning?

Current need: Sleep. It’s a constant issue for me and I really have to work on betterment here once and for all.

Current triumph: Becoming more relaxed around food again after struggling a bit lately.

Current bane of my existence: Trouble with my hip that makes me feel like a not-so-well oiled robot when walking [or trying to do it] at times. But I’m sure it’ll all be well again [hopefully] soon.

Current outfit:  Right from the lake side: You might have seen this dress before but the fact I can now wear it outside with just a cardigan is yet another sign spring’s approaching.

outfit

Current blessing: Friends who make an effort to stay in touch even if they’ve moved far away. I met one I hadn’t seen in months today and we had a wonderful time catching up. He’s one of my closest friends and we

Current excitement:  News that I found out just today and have a hard time keeping to myself. Only it might take a few more weeks or months until everything’s figured out.

Current link: Goodreads.  I have yet to set up an account but am in dire need of some reading inspiration. Not like above-mentioned hoarding tendencies needed any more fuel…

 

 

Happiness inducing today: A repeat offender but yes: sunshine!

Stay in touch!

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

 

Share some of your currents with me!

Weighing in on a heavy topic

Today’s going to be a little different from my regular posts because I just finished a book touching a weighty subject worth discussing.  ‘The Heavy: A Mother, A Daughter, A Diet’: Chances are you’ve heard of this book when it was first published in January 2013. The memoir by Dara-Lynn Weiss – published after she’d written an article about her daughter’s weight management plan for Vogue – sparked a lot of controversy on the topic of childhood obesity. But especially the way the author decided to tackle her daughter’s weight problem and health issues related to it.

Why did I pick it up? Not because I was the first to jump on books that caused public uproar or read every bestseller out there but because I can personally relate to the topic. While I haven’t shared my own ED story it started with weight and health struggles in early childhood, too. I actually hadn’t read more than a single article in the newspaper I’d subscribed to back then. After reading the article I was shocked and convinced Dara-Lynn Weiss wasn’t in her right mind for putting a seven-year-old on a diet. However, when I recently spotted it on the display of recent purchases at my library I decided to give it a go wanting to know the whole story.

What does the title stand for? Other than probably assumed ‘The Heavy’ isn’t referring to the weight of her daughter but Weiss herself: “Having love for your child sometimes mean being the heavy and doing unpopular things that you know are right.”

What is it about?  When her children’s pediatrician declares Dara-Lynn Weiss’ daughter Bea to be obese with a weight of 93 pounds at 4’4 the author decides to put the girl on a diet then and there. At first starting out with the advice of dietitian Dr. Johanna Dolgoff and her “Red Light, Green Light, Eat Right” program to help her daughter drop some pounds but quickly putting her own more severe spin on it. Not allowing for a simple ‘eat less, move more’ diet but a strict plan cutting down Bea’s intake profoundly and not allowing for leeway. Soon enough a lot of her time – or so it appears – evolves around planning Bea’s meals to a T. Instructing other parents/ relatives/ teachers in what her daughter can and can’t eat freaking out if these people decide to forego the rules just by the slightest.

Giving her that much: yes, I understood Weiss’ worries about her daughter and believe she acted not solely to make the girl fit into society’s idea of beauty but motherly love. And yes, in general I think it’s good she took initiative for the better health of her child and whole family. But I whole-heartedly disagree with the way she went about it. As a woman with a history of dieting herself Weiss at times appears not informed enough about what exactly a healthy diet looks like.

There are numerous of them but one incident that stuck out to me most. When Bea got home from school after a day celebrating French Heritage Day telling her mum about the food served. Usually giving her daughter strict instructions on how to handle these kind of situations to fit into her low-calorie daily meal schedule Weiss had forgotten that day. What happened was that the girl mindlessly ate according to her appetite. The author has a hard time keeping calm when she hears about it and feverishly tries to add up calories. Ultimately deciding to cut down on her daugher’s dinner. Mind you: the girl is seven at that point. Can she really be blamed for wanting to eat like all the other children on a special occasion?

Browsing Dr. Dolgoff’s book online I found she actually recommended parents not to be the food police. Forgivance is necessary. Applying this to my own experiences I remember my mum and dad encouraging me to replace some – not all – of the sweets I ate with fruit. My dad went running with me and they gave me subtle hints to forego the second or third piece of cake at family gatherings. Did I loose weight fast? No – it was a slow but steady process. Did I feel deprived or embarrassed in public? Neither. It was the best way for me to understand I had control over my health and weight by opting out of chocolate bars at the school cafeteria or a second helping at lunch. Though I might be biased as we’re talking about my parents I generally think it’s best if parents actively involve their children in their journey to a healthier – not necessarily thin – self. By giving them the tools and showing them that being active and eating healthy can be fun and isn’t a black-and-white situation. Mistakes are normal and a learning experience.

Not to be all ‘healthy living blogger clichée here. However, one simple change I feel the author missed was opting to educate herself not only about calories in vs. calories out but the importance of real food. As opposed to the 100-calorie-packs of highly processed foods like or using Cool Whip Free to make fruit more appealing to her daughter. To be fair: Dara-Lynn Weiss does state her previous aversion towards handing these kinds of food to her children. She made it a point her daughter gained on healthy foods already – yet it remains a fact she decides to go for it in the end. In my opinion, the better way of not making Bea feel deprived and left out of typical childhood happenings would have been allowing her the ‘real deal’ every once in a while. Either way, this is by far not my main criticism as I mentioned above already. In my opinion Weiss set the foundation for her daughter possibly developping an eating disorder and took away the freedom and light-heartedness of childhood.

The takeaway? Especially with my eating disorder in mind it’s hard to say which route I’d choose for my own future children. Having read of certain tendencies of the children of people who once had an ED developping one themselves it’s a sensitive field to navigate. Time will tell. What I can say for a fact, though, is that I wouldn’t go as far as Weiss did. Childhood obesity is a serious topic and I could go on and on here. Yet most important to me is to allow children to be children. Enjoy a happy childhood not centered around worries about weight and calories.

Would I recommend the book? I was only able to touch a fraction of what ‘The Heavy’ entails and like I mentioned I feel to truly have a more distinguished opinion on the topic reading it was necessary for me. So if your library happens to own a copy: why not give it a go?

Have you read or heard of ‘The Heavy’ before?

What are your thoughts on diets during childhood? Maybe you even have own experiences to share?

And really whatever else you have to say on the book or the topics related to it.

 

Happiness inducing today: Talking to a very good friend.

Stay in touch!

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

 

Happy Herbivore Light & Lean Cookbook Tour

Look who’s posting on a Tuesday! Not sure if I ever did that before but today is a special occasion that is well worth breaking from my blogging habits. There’s an awesome surprise waiting in store for you, too, but more on that later.

I’m sure you’ve heard of Lindsay S. Nixon and her website Happy Herbivore before. Lindsay doesn’t just blog but is the author of several cookbooks, too, the fourth of which is Happy Herbivore Light & Lean. I’m thrilled to take part in Lindsay’s blog book tour – especially since I have the honour of posting on the official release day :).

Light and Lean_Tour blogger badge

While I’m by no means trying to loose weight I simply like Lindsay’s approach to create simple recipes using whole foods and everyday ingredients. Currently living in the countryside again with a limited availability of special vegan products – no silken tofu, no special flours etc.- I was glad to find the recipes hardly calling for any of these.  If – like me – you live in Europe and can’t find certain ingredients used in American recipes in general: Lindsay’s former intern Berta recently did a great post on living abroad as a vegan with lots of advice on how to adapt recipes.

Something else that stood out for me in the book was Lindsay’s relaxed attitude to not fussing when you can’t find the healthiest ever foods while on the road or at a restaurant. I’ve struggled with this before but now agree with what Lindsay says: you won’t always be able to find an option like brown rice on the menu so should just account for the situation you’re in. In the case of eating out white rice with a side of vegetables is still a healthier choice than something like a deep-fried spring roll. Though I personally wouldn’t mind going all out every now and then, either – it’s all about balance, right ;)?

HH Light & Lean Chili

Chipotle Harvest Chili from the book

There are many recipes I still want to try [hopefully soon]: Caribbean Chili, Nacho Bowl, Chocolate Surprise Frosting … to name just a few. In addition to those Herbivore Light & Lean is the first of Lindsay’s books also taking a look at the fitness part of healthy living. Working with the ‘100 factor’ in terms of losing weight by cutting just that number of calories from your diet per day Lindsay’s fitness approach is the same. Rather than suggesting readers to do strenuous workouts all of the time she lists many everyday tasks burning 100 calories and fun ways of exercising like dancing, raking leaves or vacuuming [see, that’s exercise, too!]. Additionally, Lindsay shows workouts – or ‘body recipes’ as she calls them – you need no gym membership or lots of equipment for but can just do at home. I really liked these, too.

As part of the book tour I got the chance to ask Lindsay as few question so here you go:

1.  Happy Herbivore Light & Lean is your most personal book so far sharing your own health story. You describe veganism as your turning point to an overall better health, appearance and fitness.  There are also many success stories of fellow ‘Herbies’ on your blog who greatly improved their lives by adopting a vegan diet. Do you feel veganism is the ‘best’ diet for everyone or can going mostly plant-based already make a difference?

I feel I should clarify that I don’t identify as a vegan, nor do many of the “Herbies” of  the week. Veganism is a movement rooted in animal rights — abstaining from animal products on a moral/ethical basis “for the animals.” Health or being healthy is not a core objective. That’s not to say some vegans don’t care about their health, but one need only looks at commercial vegan substitutes like Boca burgers, or most mainstream “vegan” cookbooks and see that they’re only marginally healthier than their animal counterparts. I picked up a vegan cupcake at the store the other day and the accompanying nutritional facts were starling — a far cry from “healthy.” Someone could very easily be “vegan” and live on colas, French fries, Oreos, faux meats and soy cheeses, and their health would not necessarily improve or see s benefit. This is where the whole plant-based distinction comes in. Yes it’s a diet (and lifestyle) free of animal products like meat, fish, cheese and eggs, but it’s primary focus is on health and eating whole, plant-foods.

In that case, yes, anyone can (and will) benefit from a whole foods plant-based diet. Science tells us it is the best diet for humans. You can prevent and reverse heart disease, type 2 diabetes, the majority of cancers, and most (not as fatal) medical issues like acne, migraines, IBS, fatigue, PCOS, hypertension, and so forth with a plant-based diet.

 2.  One feature on your blog are your Minimalist Monday posts. How did you get started with minimalism and what does it mean for your decisions and actions in everyday life?

My minimalism was sort of forced on to me initially — I was laid off from my job and had to move into a really small studio apartment (from a large two bedroom) thereby parting with the vast majority of my possessions. Unemployment also shifted my expenses quite considerably. Yet despite my new “meager” livings, I found I was the happiest I ever was. I had this breakthrough moment realizing less really is more and fell into minimalism with open arms. It has completely changed how I navigate in the world and in all the right ways.

3. What is your best advice for people who want to stay active and work out during the colder months but can’t afford a gym membership?

Bundle up and go outside. Get into winter sports and enjoy them — they’re seasonal! Buy some workout DVDs. Take a yoga class.

 4.  During the past years I’ve been able to show my family and friends that vegan food can be quite flavourful and much more than simple stir-fries or plain cakes. However, when vegan and low-fat collaborate they’re still super skeptical and I haven’t dared serving them anything matching those criteria. Which dishes from your new book would you share with doubtful people?

All of them 🙂

5.      5. A successful blog, four cookbooks and many loyal fans – congratulations on how far you’ve come with Happy Herbivore! What do you hope to achieve with your blog and brand in the future?

Thanks! I never really set out with a plan or grand vision. I just… do. My goal has always been to help people. Each day I get to do that, I win. I look forward to seeing what happens next. I’m just along for the ride!

 

Just so you can get a first taste of the food in Happy Herbivore Light & Lean I’m allowed to share a recipe with you. Given the chance to pick one I went with the dish that immediately jumped at me: the Soba Peanut Noodles – and really, who doesn’t like peanut butter?!

Soba Peanut Noodles
Serves 2

Gluten-free, Quick, Budget

Soba Peanut Noodles

All the taste you love in creamy peanut noodles but with less fat and calories thanks to a surprise ingredient: vegan yogurt! I call this a “cheater” recipe since I use a dab of peanut butter, but it’s still light compared to most peanut noodle recipes.

  • 4 oz buckwheat noodles (could sub spaghetti)
  • 2 green onions, sliced cubed tofu or edamame (optional)
  • vegetables, like broccoli or cucumber (optional)

Creamy Peanut Sauce

  • 2 tbsp plain vegan yogurt
  • 1 tbsp smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp sweet red chili sauce
  • few dashes garlic powder
  • few dashes ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1–2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce or gluten-free tamari
  • Asian hot sauce (e.g., Sriracha; optional)

Cook noodles according to package instructions, rinse under cold water in a colander, and chill in the fridge for a few minutes if you can. Meanwhile, whisk peanut sauce ingredients together. Taste, adding more soy sauce or tamari, garlic, onion, or hot sauce as desired. Toss noodles with sauce, then stir in green onion, tofu or edamame if using, and vegetables, if using.

Chef’s Note: Despite having “wheat” in the name, buckwheat flour is completely gluten-free. Just make sure your noodles are 100% buckwheat if you have an allergy or sensitivity.

Per serving

Calories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .274

Fat. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6g

Carbs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47.5g

Fiber. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6.6g

Sugars. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.7g

Protein. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10.4g

WW Points. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

If you’re curious to see some more recipes have a look at those shared during the first part of Lindsay’s book tour. All in all I think Happy Herbivore Light & Lean is a great cookbook for everybody interested in plant-based cooking even if – like me – you’re not looking to loose weight.

What about the surprise I mentioned in the introduction? You might have guessed it already and yes, I’m happy to be allowed to not only share a recipe with all of you but also give away a copy of Lindsay’s new book. For organisational reasons Lindsay’s publisher asked me to hold the giveaway no earlier than next week so if you’re interested in getting Happy Herbivore Light & Lean for yourself stop by again!

Happiness inducing today: An overall marvelous Monday.

 

Have you tried any of Lindsay’s recipes before or even own some of her books?

Peanut butter: yay or nay?

If you aren’t vegan: Do you still enjoy trying vegan recipes?

Currently … November/December

Happy first Monday of December! Only a few more weeks until Christmas so let’s start the festive month on a marvelous note. Thanks to Katie for hosting our Monday celebration every week!

MiMM_new

It’s probably an usual time for a Currently ... post because I couldn’t decide which month to add in the title: November is just over, December has just started. Which one to go with? Seeing as it’s my blog and I can play by my own rules I’m just rolling with both.

Current Book(s):

Berlin liegt im Osten by Nellja Veremej: It’s the book my mum and I started for our book club. And yes, we have yet to really chat about it because while my mum has her own copy mine was from the library so I had to return it once moving. Along with several other books that might have snuck in between me reading this one. Woops. Anyway, now we’re sharing a copy and will hopefully have our first book club ‘meeting’ 😉 soon.

And we can’t forget about the latest addition to my cookbook collection: Happy Herbivore Light & Lean. Come back tomorrow to find out a little more!

HH Light & Lean

Current Music:

A lot of songs, actually. While I usually stick to the same true and trusted favourites my commute to work introduced me to some “new” [to me at least] tunes. Thank goodness for radio stations making the car drive more endurable. Ask me again in a few weeks time and I might complain about a lack of variety in their programs. Anyway, here’s a current favourite:

And then there’s the obvious one we can’t forget about at this time of the year. Get out the bubbly for the ears errrr … Bublé! Confession: I started listening to the album some time ago already. What can I say? The weather definitely felt like December already.

Current Guilty Pleasure:

Source

Sleeping in on the weekends. My night owl ways have changed for the better a little bit already but I’m still not getting enough ZZZs during the week so it’s major catch-up time on Saturday and Sunday. Wooops …

Current Nail Color: Essie’s Sunday Funday. After months of different colours I felt sparkly again so I went with it. However, I’m already fancying a new colour. What are your favourite red/coral/the likes polishes by Essie?

Current Drink: Almond milk! Not just any but the first ever unsweetened almond milk on the German market

Mandeldrink

I know, I know,  this isn’t even slightly interesting for those of you living in the US. But if you lived in Germany you’d understand my excitement. Up until now we only had the choice between various kinds of sweetened non-dairy milks and even the ones with just a little bit of sugar were to sweet for cooking.

Surprisingly enough I had yet to find this one in cities but one of the larger local grocery stores in the small town my parents live in stocks it. Do I really need to tell you I’ve been using it in everything and – unsual for me – even drinking it plain? I’ve officially found my favourite non-dairy milk.

Current Food:

Adventskalender

Advent calendar chocolates. Why, yes, when my mum said she wouldn’t get me one I bought a calendar on my own. Could you say no to flavours like Bratapfel [the German classic stuffed baked apple],Gingerbread and Vanilla Gianduja?!

Current Wish List: With Christmas coming up soon I can’t get it down to just a few items. To be honest, though, I haven’t even thought of anything to add to that list yet. And in the end wishing is always different from actually needing so …

Current Needs:

tea

More time. For cookie baking. Getting into the Christmas spirit.  Blogging. Seriously, I’m not going to complain because not working wasn’t all that awesome. Yet now that I started again I feel like I had hardly any time during the week anymore. And it doesn’t help that the weekends fly by without me noticing.  Really, though, I’m truly grateful to have the opportunity of my internship. But how about at least one or two added hours of daylight per day? Why does it have to get dark this early :(?

Current Triumphs:

Being more relaxed around food. It’s been a while since I talked about recovery but starting to work and joining Jamie’s challenge made me notice my recent changes. While I’m still not completely carefree in terms of eating I’m no longer weighing every morsel, grabbing handfuls of cereal and – this is a big one for me – easing up on my planned ‘schedule’. Trying to postpone my meals for as long as possible only to end up hangry and scarf them down in lighting speed. That one’s basically my hugest work in progress at the moment.

Current Blessing:

Hands down my mum. Not to pretend we didn’t have our little fights over random things. But even then I keep reminding myself how blessed I am by all she’s doing to support me. Like lending me her car for my commute every day because the public transport is – to say it in a nice way still – lacking over here in the countryside. And look what she had waiting for me when I arrived back home …

kabocha and hokkaido

Kabocha and Hokkaido Squash! [Sweet potatoes bought by me in an effort to give them another try.]

In all honesty, I don’t know what I’d do without her <3.

Current Bane of Existence:

Our neighbour’s rooster deciding 3 AM was the perfect time to start crowing and making sure everybody’s hearing him [read: waking up]. Fun times. Only not. But seriously: 3 AM?! Either he didn’t start that early during my childhood or I’m not used to this anymore. Gah!

Current Celebrity Crush: Josh Bowman. Don’t ask why 😉 …

Current Outfit: As we speak I’m still in my incredibly attractive running clothes … Damn, those tights are comfortable and though you can’t really see it in the picture my shirt is red/coral [= favourite colour]. Long gone are the days of unfashionable workout gear.

Current outfit

Current Excitement: Keep your fingers crossed for some article ideas for my internship to work out!

Current link: Ruche! Well, I guess we can add dresses to my wish list. Is it just me or does the end of the year just coincide with the feeling of having “nothing to wear”? Never mind Ruche doesn’t ship to Europe …

Current Mood: [For nice change from my last Currently … posts I’m blinding out my over-thinking habit and will focus just on the present not pondering the months to come so:] Positive. Hopeful. Excited for the next weeks of my internship.

Happiness inducing today: Good news related to my current excitement. I’ll share more if it turns out.

Your turn: Current …
1) … books?
2) … needs or wishes?
3) … foods and drinks?

4)

Candle

Don’t be lonely.

Hi!

Mondays are getting a bad reputation with many people dreading the start of a new week of work, college or school foreboding stressful and busy days. If I was honest, though, I’d have to admit Mondays are some of my favourites. At least right now that I’m still funemployed [thanks, Davida!] and the weekends aren’t a time needed to rejuvenate. In fact, they can feel quite lonely unless I’m spending them at my parents or my friends are in the city. Just this past weekend was an example of such a weekend I would normally try to mask by finding the itty bits of brightness in it not admitting to being all alone.

Although I’m not a native speaker I feel there’s a difference betwee being alone and lonely. Alone is the physical state of being on our own. But lonely is the feeling we experience when we let being alone influence our happiness. It was only this past weekend that I felt okay about being alone for the first time in a long while. After the weekends at my parents’ place I let loneliness into my mind. Most of my friends from university have moved either back home for the moment [if they don’t have a job yet] or to different cities for work. So yes, it can get way too easy for me to let myself wallow in lonely thoughts.

Even when we are physically alone loneliness and the unpleasant feelings coming with it aren’t happening unless we let them.  I’m not pretending I was immune to this feeling.  There are still days when I’m grieving, feeling uncomfortable with myself and letting solitude weigh heavily on my mind. But the past weekend was a great example of actively working against the sulkiness of solitude seeping in. At first I wasn’t even trying. Instead, my brain apparently had found its own way of making things happen.

Sunday walk_October

Not getting into all the details but Saturday started with me deciding to just quickly drop off some books at the library and returning home again. Yet after I’d done it my feet just kept going, leading me into the city for some errands and some more walking around – and before I knew it three hours had passed. Three hours in which I hadn’t once pitied myself. Once home I prepared a nice lunch, ate and then spend a good time reading in bed. All rounded out by a nice run and watching part of [yes, I know … my attention span …] a movie. Sunday was spent in an even more productive fashion and a lot of outdoor activity enjoying a cold but gorgeous fall day. What I learned from this weekend were some key point for enjoying me time instead of letting it become unpleasant loneliness.

Reading

1. Be prepared: If you know you’ll be encountering a day or weekend of being alone prepare yourself. Mentally in terms of telling yourself that it’s not forever but also physically by having a good book or movie at hand. Seeking out activities you know you’ll enjoy on your own, too. Maybe there’a a fitness/creativity/cooking/… class you could attend? A movie you’ve been meaing to watch in cinema that none of your friends wanted to come along to see?

2. Pamper yourself: Even if it’s ‘just’ at home treat yourself to a manicure, take a long bath, sleep in – do anything that makes you feel good about yourself. Light a candle, put on your favourite scent and declare it a mental health and self-care day.

Candle

3. Run away from loneliness: Metaphorically speaking loneliness is like a nasty beast trying to catch you off guard [why, yes, my brain works in a figurative way at times] and make you feel down. While you don’t need to do any strenous workouts or run miles upon miles a long walk can be quite calming. Anything that gets you out of your apartment and away from the feeling of isolation. Just being around others – even if you don’t know or talk to them – can be a nice change. Or plug in your iPod, listen to some good tunes and walk out those worries and sadness. It’s amazing what a bit of fresh air and a change of scenery can do.

4. Write it down: Whether you use a diary, turn your feelings into a blog post or – a recent favourite of mine – write a letter: be creative and make good use of the time you have on hand. The letters I’ve written this weekend didn’t even revolve around my loneliness but I just used them as a way of letting my thoughts divert away from those negative feelings. Busying my mind with happy thoughts didn’t leave much [or any] space for negativity.

5. Decide to see the benefits: While I’d still prefer most of my weekends to be busy and filled with activites it’s simply not always happening. And if you know how to make the best of this me time it can be quite beneficial. Being alone allows you to reflect. See and hear things you might blind out when with others. The opportunity to be selfish without hurting anybody’s feelings. No need to hurry when you’d like to spend some more time in bed or trying on clothes at the mall without anybody getting annoyed and dragging you to go.

 

Once more it is really about the attitude we have towards a certain situation. When we are alone for too long it definitely gets hard to bear. But if it’s a day or two we can still have a pretty marvelous time without feeling lonely.

Happy Monday!

MiMM_new

Happiness inducing today: Spending the largest part of the day outside soaking up the October sun.

 

How do you deal with weekends spent on your own?

What are your favourite “me time” activities?

And some random curiosity:

1) current book?

2) favourite scented candle [mine are the Vanilla ice cream (!!!) scented ones from IKEA]