Keeps getting better

Okay, fine, I know we’re all a little rushed at times – but in what kind of an exreme hurry is 2014?! Are we actually three days into February already? I’m in denial. Especially since my birthday approached way too quickly and it seems like it had been days since though the month itself still was so short. Time is confusing.

It’s been five days since my birthday already and I still haven’t done a recap of any kind. In fact, I haven’t even considered doing one though I’d planned to before the day itself. Knowing I didn’t have any special plans I’d meant to keep it short hopefully triumphantly accouncing my defeat over my parents in board games :).  My decision not to follow up on the day, however, was because some things did happen. Only these weren’t the happy and joyful memories I’d hoped for. But I didn’t come to whine today.

Good things

A year ago this would have gotten me down. A year ago I might not have been able to take a step back and re-evaluate the situation. A year ago – yes, a year ago. Things have changed. Ever since I started focusing on the positives and counting sparks of happiness, though, I haven’t allowed a single day to pass on a negative note. Just looking at the day a little more closely – or actually, it didn’t take long at all – I remember all of your sweet comments and mails that truly made my day. How could I consider a day a fail when I’d been the recipient of so much love and positivity after all? [And when there was snow and I didn’t have to shovel – win!]

snow

There still were a number of issues that really got to me and will require further working on them [note: not related to food]. Nothing that’s easily wiped away or brushed off like an annoying fly but such is life. Repeating it in my head like a mantra I started to believe this: If my birthday was the lowest point I’d been in a while it might have been destiny’s plan.  Meaning that from now on it could only keep getting better. And guess what? It did. I still won’t say things have made a  lasting 180° turn-around but I’ve seen and experienced a profound change and encouragement already. So no, maybe my birthday wasn’t the most amazing in what happened but it once more offered a learning experience and opportunity of growth for me. And isn’t that what birthdays actually are supposed to be?

Birthday and more 016

If we trust in the good it will come to our lives. Maybe not the very moment we feel we need it the most. But persistence and believing in good times to follow the less stellar ones will pay off. Bad days happen no matter if on our birthdays on any other day. That’s life and it’s okay. Like a good friend reminded me: we shouldn’t overvalue a specific date like our birthday or a certain holiday. When we don’t it’s easier to accept that bad days are simply part of being. We will go on. Things will work out. And that’s marvelous.

Happy Monday to all of you!

MiMM_new

Happiness inducing today: Talking to a blend via Skype. Oh, the blessings of technology [though I’m still not perfect at using it.]

 

Feel free to share your thoughts.

What did you do on the weekend?

Is there still any snow where you are? If so I hope you don’t have to shovel yourself, either :).

 

 

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Blended in Berlin [blogger meet-up]

Hi!

Keeping it [rather] short and sweet but also slightly sappy here today. If that’s not for you just return tomorrow for the food. I won’t judge you [much]. For those of you who are still reading: let’s talk blends once more. It’s a well-known fact among bloggers that aside from all wonderful parts of blogging the friendships we create are the most amazing. Like I mentioned before this weekend did not only involve a simple day in Berlin but involved a meet-up with Lucie.

Atlantic Berlin_2014

Lucie had suggested a cute little restaurant in Kreuzberg, the neighborhood she used to live while in Berlin in 2008 for our meet-up.  It had the typical Berlin flair – a mix of guests from students, tourists as well as people who looked like they had been born and raised in Berlin. Unsurprisingly the place was packed and had a great atmosphere. I’ll admit I was still anxious the hours leading up to our meet-up. What if we didn’t get along? Or if I don’t know what to say? Or … I can be quite talkative but awkward when first meeting others. Clearly my constant over-worrying tendencies persist even in the face of happy events to come.

Lucie

All of my worries were obviously [or not so to me, apparently] unnecessary and forgotten all at once when we met. From the moment we hugged and said hello we clicked with each other right away. It’s one of those clichés that’s true: when you’ve been following each other’s blogs, exchanging mails and letters it’s like you’d been friends forever. Lucie and I talked non-stop about … everything, really. Just like catching up with an old friend you haven’t seen in a while and where you can pick up a conversation at the point were you stopped the last time. From blogging in general to food [obviously], families,  fitness and whatever else we could have gone on forever. It’s probably a cliché saying this by now but Lucie truly is just as sweet in person as she appears to be on her blog.

Tea with Lucie
The beauty of friendships among bloggers [is blendship an existing word yet??]: We know each others’ background, thoughts, opinions, worries or just random quirks. Meaning that we’ve bonded over similarities, given advice, laughed with each other long before an actual meet-up. What we share on our blogs at times is so intimate we might not even have confided it to family or friends. No matter where we are in life, which struggles we face or questions we ask about life there’s somebody out there who has experienced the same and can offer helpful or at least calming and reassuring words. Support, advice, There’s no need to explain yourself or try to be someone else when you meet people who don’t judge you for your past or current ‘flaws’ you shared on your blog. There are topics I have an even easier time approaching with blends than with ‘real life’ friends though I’m happy to add Lucie to the latter now, too. [In case she agrees, that is :).]

If it hadn’t been for either of us needing to catch a plane respectively train back home Lucie and I agreed we could have kept talking forever. It’s safe to say plans to visit Switzerland are starting to form over here. Even more amazing would be following Lucie suit and attending one of the huge blogger meet-ups overseas to meet even more blends. Wishful thinking …

Come back tomorrow for more on what I ate  in Berlin. Happy Tuesday!

Happiness inducing today: Sharing an office with a nice colleague.

What was a highlight of your weekend or your Monday?

Will you attend one of the blogger meet-ups in the US? Which one?

Living blissfully

Happy Monday! Time to get back to normalcy with this first full week of work after the holidays. Or maybe you’re like me and would happily hold off getting back to the grind for just a few more days. Either way, for now it’s not about making snap judgements about the week ahead but assuming it’ll hold as much marvelousness as the past days.MiMM_new

It’s hard to deny January brought forth a lot of amazing people [and no, I’m not saying this because my birthday’s coming up later this month, too]. Starting with Amanda’s last week today marks the birthday of another awesome girl dear to my heart: Emily. For any of you who might not have heard of her before: she’s the blogger behind Build Your Bliss inspiring us to create and live our own version of joy in every day. Not only is her blog one of my favourites but she has become a very good friend of mine helping me in many ways during the past year. Happy birthday, Emily <3!

It’s funny how blogging can help you shift your focus from a grumpy mood to thankfulness. When I sat down to write this post I wasn’t feeling too content with my weekend and not inspired to write. Especially not about finding bliss when I felt far from it. My weekend wasn’t bad per se – just mostly uneventful. But thinking about it in its whole again it deemed to me once again: bliss can be found in simplicity, too. A walk with my mum, successfully creating a new recipe for our family dinner [look out for it on here soon, kale fans!], getting absorbed in a great book. Simple bliss.

Flowers

Taking a leaf from Emily’s book [blog?] I reminded myself of some lessons on bliss that help me let go off negativity and outside expectations,  instead focusing on on the good in every day or in this case my weekend.

Find your own bliss.

Bliss. Defined as “perfect happiness; great joy” it can be different for each of us or – as Emily describes it using a popular phrase – isn’t ‘one size fits all’. So there actually isn’t an all-encompassing definition in the end. Which isn’t a bad fact. The only thing that matters is knowing what bliss is for you and making it part of your everyday life.

Happiness and success is all about spending your life in your own way.  Be yourself. [Source]

Maybe my [or your] weekend wasn’t spent in the way somebody else would have preferred. But if it left you feeling relaxed, with a calm mind and recharged for the week ahead it probably was just right for you. It’s not about impressing others or meeting their expectations but living life the way that feels good to ourselves.

Don’t stress about finding bliss – just see it.

Sounds ridiculous? Just as the above situation regarding my ‘too uneventful’ weekend shows I’m at times trying to find the ultimate happiness in huge things. When in reality it’s the small things adding up.

At the end of the day don’t hold onto the flaws but focus on what made you happy.

Writing down happiness inducers – or better yet filling your own memory jar is a great way to practice this. I’ve had days when I felt there was not a lot of ‘new’ happiness to add. But who says you couldn’t write down the same things twice? It just goes to show we have some happiness constants in our life that repeat themselves on the regular.

Count your blessings.

Even on ‘those’ grumpy days there are blessings we are surrounded by every day. A family supporting us. Our health. Friends. Blends. All of these are present regardless of whatever happens in our life. Reminding us of what we have and being thankful of this helps in finding happiness. Looking at it from this perspective I can say that yes, my weekend wasn’t as eventful as other people’s. But it was blissful in its very own way. And that’s what matters.

Happiness inducing today: The gorgeous light of the Winter sun sticking around almost all day long.

What was blissful about YOUR weekend?

When is your birthday? Any other January babies?

 

Thinking out loud #4

There we are on the second day of the new year already. I hope you enjoyed the day off yesterday as much as I did. It’s time to think out loud again today and I’m happy to join Amanda’s link-up once more. Are you ready for the first installment of randomness in 2014? There we go!

Thinking-Out-Loud

1. Did anybody else feel it was Sunday yesterday? That’s what holidays happening to fall into the middle of the week do to me. I swear I was feeling decidedly weekend-y already and still could do with another day off. Despite the short work week dare I say I’m …

2. While I wish I could to share my fun New Year’s Eve happenings with you I’ll have to admit it wasn’t all that exciting. My sister and her husband had invited some of their friends all of which I get along with quite well, too, as well as two of my cousins. It was a nice but – at the risk of sounding like a party pooper – it wasn’t my favourite NYE so far. Mostly sitting around only occasionally dancing  little too uneventful for my liking :). I much preferred my New Year’s Eve the year before. Back then I celebrated at a friend’s house chatting and playing board games, eating chocolate and chips until midnight and then watch an hour-long battle of the fireworks in her neighbourhood.

3. On the upside I was on dessert duty [again] this year and had fun trying some new vegan recipes to share with everybody. Totally breaking the ‘rule’ of not serving guest anything you didn’t prepare before but – crossed fingers might have helped – they were well appreciated. My camera’s battery is currently recharging so I have no pictures to share right now. I promise I’ll post them soon.

4. Do you know if creativity is an inheritable trait? If yes I hope my mum passed it onto me and it just has yet to spark. She never ceases to amaze me with her simple but stunning decorating skills. Okay, I might be biased here but I still think it’s cute.

Deers

5. After we recently got into yahtzee playing when my sister and her husband were around my mum thought out loud about  buying both a yahtzee set and Monopoly for us. That’s huge coming from her as a declared board game-averse person. I’d better offer getting the games before she reverses her decision …

Yahtzee

6. My fondness of scented candles is quite possibly the best I could have had. After above-mentioned NYE party my parents’ guest apartment [where I’m currently living] smelled of burgers and beer. Don’t get me wrong: that’s pretty much to be expected at a party where those foods are served. However, I was not so fond of living with that scent permanently. Solution: the impulse purchase of a gingerbread-scented candle I’d made on Monday. Much better.

7. Money can’t buy happiness but fuzzy socks and that’s a first step. Can you believe I hadn’t owned a single pair prior to seeing them appear all over the blog world and purchasing some on Monday? Quite possibly the best investment during the last week of 2013. I got home all excited showing them to my family – I may or may not have quoted a certain movie 😉 and I’m sure Amanda approves.

Fuzzy socks

8. Could there be a nicer surprise than the kindness of a stranger? Though not a resolution I intend to keep up sending snail mail in 2014. If you want a fast shipping it’s important to add the blue priority stickers – at least here in Germany. Only you don’t always get them when purchasing stamps. Imagine my delight when I bought four international stamps recently, asked for the stickers and got not only four but a whole bunch of them. Thanks to the clerk at the post office!

Priority stickers

9. While at my grandparents’  during the holidays I didn’t bring any non-dairy milk so I prepared my morning oatmeal with water only though I usually use water and almond milk 50:50. Surprisingly enough I found I enjoyed the taste even more and have been keeping it that way since returning home. Even though the almond milk adds a nice creaminess I find the flavor of my add-ins to shine through more not using [too much of] it.

10. A new year means starting a new month in my planner and while I bought it long ago I didn’t have many appointments to add to it last year. Fingers crossed 2014 will provide lots of use for it!

Planner

Happiness inducing today: An overall great first day of the new year.

How did you spend New Year’s Eve?

What are some of your favourite [board] games?

Is anybody else ready for the weekend already, too?

Going for the goals [November]

A fresh start into the new week and a fresh start into a new month [okay, a few days late but who’d want to be such a stickler?!]. What better time to look onto my goals for November than the most marvelous day of the week? Thank as always to Katie for the wonderful reminder to appreciate the first day of the week a bit more.

Don’t forget that today’s the last day to enter my blogiversary giveaway to win some NuNaturals stevia!

MiMM_newAh, I’ll have to admit I’m not too proud on how I did with last month’s goals as October was a little wonky overall to say the least. But here’s how it went:

Do the Photo A Day challenge: Check. It was fun and I’ll try to keep up with it this month again, too.

Become more mindful of my snacking: Semi-check. I’ve noticed several trends and will continue to work on them. I -did- make some progress in reducing my chocolate intake, though, and every bit of progress counts, right?

Set up a [blogging] schedule: Check. Basically, I’ve played around with what I want to post on which day and at which time I’m best at writing posts. Still no fancy schedule or blog make-over but that wasn’t what I’d intented.

Get more sleep: Weeeell … no. While I had several good days [read: in bed before midnight – keep in mind that I’m a night owl!] I’ve found I can’t force it. Seeing how important sleep is this is another goal I’ll continue to work on but without the pressure of making it a monthly [blog] goal.

Time to take a look at my new goals for November.

Going for the goals

Change up my workouts

Actually, I don’t even have a workout schedule worthy calling that at the moment. I’m merely alternating walks and runs depending on how I feel and that’s about it. While I can currently neither afford [why are they that expensive?!] a gym membership nor commit to one due to possibly moving [depending on where I find a job] there are still ways to do this. My idea is to incorporate at-home strength training and possibly yoga into my routine. Any advice on DVDs – I’m a newbie at this – or free online classes is appreciated though Amy and Davida already gave me some tips.

 

Start a book club with my mum

We’d been meaning to do this last month already because she suggested it when answering to my letter – yes, I obviously wrote one to my mum, too <3. I’d ‘complained’ about there not being any book clubs around here so she came up with the idea. Since we picked a German book I guess doing a review wouldn’t be all that interesting but I’ll report back on how it went.

Find a better blog/life balance

As much as I enjoy blogging I’ll admit I’ve found myself spending too much time writing posts [anybody else having those two dozen+ drafts begging to be finished?] or reading other people’s blogs. It’s tempting to just ‘quickly catch up on a few posts’ and loose focus on what I should actually be doing. I’m by no means intending to quit the blog world but just reduce the time spent online and …

Socialize more.

Now that even more of my friends moved to different cities I’ll admit I’ve been feeling a bit lonely. Being a shy person I don’t have the easiest time getting to know new people though I actually enjoy it when I do. It’s obviously an added bonus of the blog world that it makes meeting alike minds so much easier but why do all of you have to live that far away ;)?! Anyway, I’m hoping to find ways to live up to my blog name a little more.

Not a goal but something else marvelous is Cori’s Count Your Blessings challenge that I’ll be joining. There’s such a lot to be thankful for in every day so I really like the idea. Maybe you’re in, too?

Happy Monday!

Happiness inducing today: My sister offering me help with a nagging task.

 

What are some of your goals for November?

Have you ever been part of a book club? Also: Would anybody be interested in doing a blogger book club?

Are you good at socializing? Any advice on where/how to meet new people?

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]