Stimulating those neurons

Is that title a bit weird? Maybe. Books I’m really enjoying influence me a lot [my family and friends would confirm this right away] and one of those I’m currently reading inspired this title. Because it’s been mentioned quite a lot already, you might know that loneliness is considered a major risk factor for developing dementia later in life. It’s not a fact anybody would be proud to reveal about themselves but yes, I’ve been spending a lot of time by myself in past years. In part this is natural for being an introvert but at the same time, even us introverts need other people in our lives to be truly happy. It’s not that I’m never around others but it’s not enough for my own needs. Which is a fact that an ED masks. It makes you feel like you preferred staying home and sticking with comfortable routines. Only this isn’t true but if you’re struggling/have struggled with an ED yourself, you’ll know it can be hard to differentiate your own voice from that of the ED. The one that’s telling you lies about who you are, what you like and at that heavily limiting you in following your dreams.
Long story short: This past week fell under the motto of stimulating those neurons [= preventing dementia] aka breaking routines, making good memories and trying new things. I will say it feels uncomfortable to write these confessions because I’m afraid of what kind of a person it makes me look like. Please note that these things don’t keep me from working or interacting with my colleagues; it’s outside of work that I struggle. Yes, I’m in my twenties and struggle with these things but mental illnesses know no age limits and while I wish I’d taken action a lot earlier, late is better than never.

On a blogging note, I’m sorry I’ve been MIA since the past Monday and neither commented on any of your posts nor published the good good links. Traveling for my aunt’s 50th birthday in Berlin [leaving Thursday night and getting back on Sunday] and feeling a little under the weather got in between me and blogging. I’ll definitely catch up on your posts this week and will also post the link lovin’ on Friday. Hope you understand.

Thanks to Meg for hosting our fun little Monday gathering!

Week in Review

In the past week, I …

Worked just a few days and was thankfully able to some off to allow for the trip to Berlin, leaving on Thursday afternoon.

Made an overdue appointment I’d been postponing forever.

Met a friend who was housesitting her parents’ place on Tuesday night and talked for hours. You know you’re with a truly amazing friend when you don’t even realize time passing by in the blink of an eye.

Spent Friday with abovementioned friend who spontaneously decided to meet me in Berlin again. It was one of the best days in a long time and I couldn’t be more grateful for this friend.

Berlin

Spontaneously bought another book while in Berlin. I don’t think I ever made a decision on a book that fast and spending on myself twice in this close succession? Definitely an accomplishment. Granted, having a friend around convincing me it was fine helped.

Went out to eat at a fully vegan Vietnamese restaurant, 1990 Vegan Living. Funnily enough, it wasn’t me but my very much non-vegan brother suggesting this. Their concept is best described as the Vietnamese version of tacos, as in: you order several small bowls, at best to be shared around the table. We admittedly didn’t do a lot of the latter because all of us were pretty hungry at that point but it was an amazing experience nonetheless. Unfortunately, my camera didn’t tag along for the journey and the pictures on my phone didn’t turn out due to the dim lighting situation in the restaurant. I did find a few pictures on Instagram, though. Too bad we didn’t have another opportunity to eat out because I really wanted to go back.

Ate intuitively during my whole stay in Berlin. This is something I find really hard at home but being in a completely different environment and around people who make me feel good, food was barely an issue most of the time. Note to self [that I already knew deep within]: travelling is a key to getting unstuck and closer to [food] freedom.
One more note on this that might be relieving for anybody struggling to eat intuitively is that listening to my hunger cues, I actually ate less than usual. Please note that this was neither my intention nor will I ever promote restricting your intake, much less sell intuitive eating as the “how to eat less” solution. I was careful in still eating enough to not loose weight but it was relieving to see that I can trust my hunger. Now to develop this trust and ability to listen to my intuition at home. Pictured below is merely a stand-in of a past Asian meal to make up for the lack of photos taken this past week.

Eating out_cha cha_September

Did a historical  tour of Berlin. This was part of the program my aunt had organised for her birthday. Fun fact: history was one of my least favourite subjects in school but my aunt’s old friend does the best job of getting anybody interested in it. We had been on tours with him before and he’s amazing. The only unfortunate bit this time were the ungodly temperatures. My feet were frozen afterwards. Thank goodness for hotel bathrooms with floor heating …

Proved my anxious mind wrong by experiencing all of the above rather than the version of this trip my brain had pictured. The only unfortunate bit of the trip is that I’m now home with an icky cold. Lots of tea and sleep for me today.

Happy Monday!

 

Happiness-inducing today: My sister trying to cheer me up via WhatsApp because  being sick is so boring,

Stay in touch!

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

Tell me about your past week! Highlights, topics on your mind, news – anything.

How does traveling change you [if it does]?

How did you stimulate your neurons in the past week?

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Week in Review: Spontaneity, family time and books

Sometime this year, I will get back into an actual/reliable/better posting schedule, I promise you that. Though – in my defense – I had plans of posting in the past week. But now that the laptop issue is solved, my internet connection obviously decided it wasn’t having it [read: it was either slower than slow (and ours already is slow) or simply non-existent]. Did I mention technology is frustating me to no end?!

Okay, enough ranting about things I can’t change and onto the things I can’t change anymore, either, but also wouldn’t want to if I could. As in: a Week in Review of only the good parts of the previous seven days. Life still isn’t all sunshine and rainbows here and it will take time to get to that point  [or close because we know perfection doesn’t exist] yet I nonetheless had some really really marvellous moments lately. Thanks to Meg for deciding everybody should start the week focusing on the good instead of the bad things.

Week in Review

In the past week, I …

Spent time with my favourite little human. P. and my sister stayed at my parents’ house for a few days so she could study while the grandparents had an eye on P.. Time and time again, it’s amazing how much a toddler changes us, our priorities and just makes us feel happier. Whether it’s allowing you to see the joy in little everyday things you usually overlook or the – yes, often cited – way they approach food. And when they let you borrow their bobby car and you burst into the deepest laughter in a long time, you forget all about life’s heaviness for an instant.

Nephew_child

 

Did another pantry and all-around-apartment purge. This is a task by no means finished yet but starting to tackle it felt very freeing. It also made me ponder getting Marie Kondo’s book because I have a hard time getting rid of certain items. Have any of you read it? If so; How did it help you?

Spontaneously went to a concert. A few days before, a notification of said concert not too far from where I live popped up on my Facebook account as I liked the band’s page years ago but had almost forgotten about that. Spontaneity definitely isn’t one of my strengths and given going there meant forgoing an evening with P. and my sister, I almost put it off again. A friend deciding to tag along was the ‘accountability’ I needed and I’m so glad I went. The concert was plain amazing. If you like a capella music – or even if you don’t  [yet] -, listen to their version of Get lucky. It’s brilliant.

Got back into food blogging a little. Read: Created a new recipe for a vegan mint chocolate tarte. I don’t even remember when I last shared a recipe on here. It felt good to be back in the kitchen [outside of daily food preparation, obviously] but the photography part reminded me why I won’t go into full-on food blogging anytime soon. It’s the most frustrating part for me. Juli and I should really think about cooperating here because I really enjoy writing the posts while she’s a natural with the camera.

Mint Chocolate Tarte_1

While we’re on the food topic already: Prepared and shared a meal with my family. Our schedules don’t always work out but with my sister around, I really wanted to make this happen. Unfortunately, these dinners always escape the camera but I will have to put my own spin on the recipe I used because it’s one of my absolute favourites ever.

Ordered and immediately started two new books [“The Brain – The story of you” by David Eagleman and “Switch” by Chip and Dan Heath] . Voicing my frustration with not having any good reads on hand in my previous post was the final nudge I needed to place an order. When they arrived, I couldn’t hold myself back from starting both already. If you’re always looking for book recommendations, too, I can talk a little more about them once I finish these. So far, both are amazing and just what I wanted.

And with that, I’m finishing this post and wishing you a happy Monday!

Happiness-inducing today:  You guessed it already: Getting to spend a final few hours with P. before my sister left again.

Stay in touch!

Twitter:@MissPolkadot21
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Tell me about your past week! Highlights, topics on your mind, news – anything.

 

Just living – fast-paced and fabulous

If I was to sum up my weekend in just one sentence it’d be: Did it really happen? Or: boy, that was fast! Unlike my last weekend when I had to work all of Friday [think: until midnight] and half of Saturday this one had come with the premise of being calm and uneventful. Not so much in hindsight but I’m not complaining. Let’s recap some of the marvelous happenings from the past two days with our host Katie.

MiMM_new

Starting early – and we know how much I like this – on Saturday morning setting out for a train journey to meet my mum in a city four hours from my current home city. Generally, I enjoy traveling by train because it’s nice to unplug and get fully absorbed in a book. Seriously, if you keep getting distracted when trying to read at home: hop on a train. It works: by the time I got home I was halfway through the book I’d packed.  Plus, you get a new scenery every time you take a break from reading:

Train

Bonus points if you can spot the sea gull in this picture.

 

Because traveling requires some good fuel I packed a lot of food and also tried a new-to-me snack: a Nākd bar. More on these to come soon once I’ve sample some more flavours. I’m not easily convinced when it comes to bars but this one was delicious.

Weekending 020

In between reading and enjoying the scenery time fortunately passed by fairly quickly on my way there. Once I’d arrived my mum and I headed to a café located right by the seaside. Note to self: pack both sunglasses and a light scarf next time because seaside in summer = lots of sunshine and a “steife Brise” as any Northern German would say [overall windiness for all others].

 

neu_Promenadenspaziergang

 

Some more walking around the city ensued but I didn’t take any other pictures of the scenery because when I’m with my mum my phone doesn’t get much attention. Quality time with my mum > being  a good blogger taking pictures. Rather, I’ll leave you with this random non-vegetarian 😉 bit of hilariousness that I found in a book store while waiting for my train later that day. That’s what you happen upon when your train back unscheduledly ends prior to reaching your destination and you have to wait for a new connection. Thanks for nothing, German railway system… [note that it’s basically a requirement to snark at the ‘Deutsche Bahn’ as a German because delays are a daily order of business].

Bacon

Sunday started with leisurely sleeping in – blissful! After some pottering around my apartment, a quick reading session to my second recommended reading place – aka: the gym – and a delicious lunch I headed out to the movies. Following the spontaneous invitation of a friend we went to see ‘The Fault in our Stars’.

I’d read the book way back and actually hadn’t planned on watching the movie but wasn’t going to say no when my friend suggested it. Looking back I’m glad she asked me to tag along.

Cinema ticket

Despite what the ticket might make you guess at first glance we actually watched the original movie in English not the German. I’m usually hesitant towards watching movies based on books that were absolutely amazing because these can really be hit or miss. And while I wasn’t sure about the lot of romance in the beginning the last three minutes had me bawl my eyes out like the book: win. Okay? Okay. Plus: Ansel Elgort… I think I’ll finally be able to include a celebrity crush in my next Currently post again…

In between being out and about all Saturday and not sitting down much on Sunday, either, this the weekend flew by in the blink of an eye. Leaving me thinking that this thing called ‘just living’ feels pretty good. More of that, please.

For now:Happy Monday!

Happiness inducing today: Just all of today.

 

Stay in touch!

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

 

What are some of your [unusual]  favourite places to read?

Did you watch ‘The fault in our stars’ yet or plan to do so?

Tell me your favourite part of this past weekend.

A traditionally untraditional Easter

Hello there and happy Tuesday! Did you all have a great and sunny long Easter weekend?

Even though I’d planned to post yesterday I ended up staying at my parents a little longer and enjoying those last hours. How about we start this post by saying I was right assuming my mum wouldn’t buy a single [chocolate] Easter egg. But one of my grandma’s – the one who got me addicted to Lindt chocolate – made sure our Easter wasn’t all untraditional by mailing us Easter bunnies, no, chicken. By Lindt, obviously ;).

Easter_Lindt-Hühner

… that my mum didn’t even think about ‘slaugthering’ but immediately used for decorative purposes. I’m taking guesses on how long they’ll sit there…

Beautiful was my mum’s Easter bouquet on the table featuring one of my favourite flowers since childhood: bleeding heart. Unique name, gorgeous flower.

Easter_flowers on the table

Recovery-wise Easter didn’t include any mention-worthy triumphs. But I felt more relaxed in consuming more sugar than usual [new favourite: lemon sorbet straight from the tub in between meals]. No picture because once more the camera wasn’t at hand to capture every moment. However, this is a picture from a scoop of [some seriously good mango] ice cream I treated myself to last week, too, so we’ll roll with it. Okay? Awesome. I’m glad we agree here. (:

Ice cream_mango_Giovanni L

Aside from the ice cream I treated myself to [even] more chocolate than usual, cheese, random bits and bites of whatever sounded and looked good. All of this while not going to the gym. Running still isn’t in the cards for me – or not unless I want to worsen my hip pain – and so I spent most of the first two days relaxing. Sometimes exercise just doesn’t happen and that’s okay. Sunday, however, was amazing and more active. Think the best kind of exercise because it doesn’t feel like a formal workout at the gym: a long bike ride with my parents, aunts, an uncle and one of my cousins.

 

Easter weekend_bike tour

These bike tours are an Easter tradition in my family and actually the last one that remained all throughout the years. No Easter egg hunt, no Easter bakets/ gifts or special dinner – but the bike ride is a constant. This year’s included crossing a river with a small ferry. We’d hardly taken our seats when it was time to get off board again.

ferry_Easter 2014

One of the things you learn* from years of venturing on cycling tours with my dad: never trust his guesstimates when it comes to the length of them. Because thirty kilometres easily end up turning into 45. With multiple breaks, obviously. This remainder of a castle gave the backdrop during our longest rest.

*or you don’t… Note to self: pack more snacks!

Easter weekend_bike tour_castle

We were lucky to have the sun accomodate us all day. Somebody may or may not have gotten a slight sun-induced headache, though. As much as I enjoy being out in the sun too much of it makes me feel doozy. Can any other fair-skinned people relate? I’m pretty sure these guys – further proof of my mum considering Lindt a manufactury of decorative objects 😉 – will agree there’s such a thing as too much sun. At least once they melt they’ll do…

Easter_Lindt_Goldhasen

Despite some up and downs this was an amazing and truly spring-like Easter weekend with my family. Though we don’t follow any of the usual Easter traditions it was our own traditionally untraditional celebration. And no matter how often I probably wished we stuck to the classic idea like other families do in the end I know that deep within I wouldn’t actually want it any other way. It’s typically us.

Spending time with family is a [sadly rather rare] treat in itself so I’m joining Becky’s Treat Yourself Tuesday for the first time today.

Treat-Yourself-Tuesday-Badge

Relaxed [in the beautiful countryside]. Spoiled [with good food]. Loved [all of it].

 

Happiness inducing today: An extra long hug my mum when we said goodbye.

Stay in touch!

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

 

Does anybody feel like making any guesses on how long the hens from the first picture will stay in that place? If they’re still around the next time I visit my parents I’ll suggest making some nice chicken soup, errr … chocolate fondue. (:

What was your favourite part of the Easter weekend?

Did you do an Easter egg hunt or get an Easter basket?

 

 

Good good links #32

Can you feel spring already? It’s been making an awesome appearance with lots of sunshine today and I couldn’t be happier about it. Whether or not you’ve been able to soak up an extra boost of Vitamin D, though, here’s some Sunday [or boring-Monday-at-work] reading material to brighten your day.

Good good links

Happy Sunday!

 

Good good [food for thought]

10 years from now… via Healthy Helper

Do you have the right priorities in life right now?

Let’s talk belly fat and why not #tBELLYt via Be Mom Strong

Taking a closer look at some fat facts and why cutting down your intake won’t help you loose it.

My Addiction to Exercise Permanently Damaged My Body. But It Also Taught Me How to Love Myself by Tara Fuller via Greatist

A powerful story about learning self-appreciation and prioritizing yourself the hard way. Long but worth the read.

 

Good good [advice and inspiration]

 If at first you don’t succeed—quit! via Carla Birnberg

Why quitting isn’t necessarily a bad idea.

Looking At These 6 Things Will Help You Love Your Body More via Huffington Post

Showing that beauty and talent really doesn’t depend on size.

6 Tips To Get Motivated When You’re Feeling Depressed via Mind Body Green

 Not just if you’re depressed but have a hard time getting out of any kind of funk and moving.

 Why Going To Sleep Early Isn’t Just For Grandmas! via The Peanut Butter Lover

Longer life expectancy, desease prevention and more energy are conving reasons to hit the pillows early on.

5 Ways to Use Social Media to Stay Positive via Health.com

Don’t let negativity take over. Used the right way Twitter, Facebook and Co. can make you feel better.

Fitness

ANYtime ANYwhere Workout via My Food & Fitness Diaries

For those days when you don’t actually have time or equipment for a workout but still want to get it in.

How to get the most out of your workout via Keeping Healthy, Getting Stylish

Keep things interesting to benefit maximally.

Blogging/ photography

A No BS Guide to Food Photography via The Healthy Maven

A great guide to taking drool-worthy food pictures. And as far as #4 goes: start stalking Davida herself!

Helpful Blogging Tips via Eat Great, Be Great

Just like the title says a great collection of advice on how to blog even better.

 

Good good [things to make you smile]

23 Useless Facts That You Totally Need to Know via BuzzFeed

Useless, yes, but you know you want to find them out in anyway…

 Mexican graphic artist creates a Barbie without makeup via World Observer

Not just for smiles but making a point that really nobody is perfect.

 

Good good [food]

No-Bake Cinnamon Roll Protein Bars via The Healthy Maven

Ditch the store-bought bars and be on a [cinnamon] roll with these homemade ones.

Twice-Baked, Oatmeal-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes via Keepin’ it kind

Amazed by oatmeal once more in this unusal but delicious-looking recipe.

Enchiladas… like you’ve never known before! via Peachy Palate

A totally different spin on enchiladas – and totally intriguing.

Easy Peasy Freezer Fudge via Nourish by Melissa

Just four ingredients and packed with nutritious power.

Raw Citrus Cream Cakes via Oh, Ladycakes

Sweet, a little tart and almost too pretty to eat.

 12 Healthy Creative Cauliflower Recipes via Daily Burn

Further proof of cauliflower’s amazingness with [vegan] Cauli Mac & Cheese, Cauliflower Bagels and more.

 

 

Happiness inducing today: Meeting a friend to cook lunch.

Stay in touch!

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

 

How did you spend your weekend so far?

Let me know some of your favourite posts from the week!

Spill It Sunday – Shuffle edition

Posting twice in one day is very unusual for me but with some downtime on a lazy Sunday I finally saw my chance to participate in Arman’s Spill It Sunday. Sorry it took me that long, fellow potato fiend. I’m glad my iPod decided to cooperate because that little beast keeps going back and forth between working and hibernating – even in summer. Thanks for motivating me to reanimate it, Arman!

Spill-it-Sunday-option_no selfie

Fingers crossed this won’t be too embarrassing for me …

#1 Viva la Vida – Coldplay

Good luck with the first one! Prior to this album I never used to like Coldplay considering them way too melancholic. But when I read an interview with Chris Martin saying their fourth album was for people to say “yes, I like Coldplay” I decided to give the band another chance – and I’m glad I did. Viva la Vida was on repeat for months after that and I started listening to older Coldplay songs, too, discovering I appreciated them after all. How preferences change with time.

#2 Schneeflockentanz – Fredrik Vahle

This one will seem odd but it has a sweet story. As children my siblings and I grew up listening to “Glitzerschnee und Knoblauchpizza” by the songwriter Fredrik Vahle. When we were older – think teenage years, yes – my sister and I tried to find it again online but no such luck. However, Vahle had since published a new record – a CD when our old one had still been on tape, mind you – and this song is a part of that compilation. Sadly, I couldn’t find a video for your viewing and listening pleasure but it’s so cute and I still listen to it every year around Christmas time.

#3 Sexy Bitch – David Guetta

One of my favourite workout songs – how could you not be motivated by this? I got a little fed up after listening to it way too often but might just add it back into my running playlist again.

#4 Little Miss Pipedream – The Wombats

I’m getting a lot of music inspiration by my sister and while our tastes in music aren’t always alike I’m glad she pointed this band out to me. While this particular song isn’t one of my favourites it’s still on my iPod with the whole album. And either way it revokes memories of seeing them live in the music club I sister worked at for a while.

#5 Entering Bootytown – Haley Bennett

Aaaah. This is slightly embarrassing but just to let you know: it’s an instant mood booster. In my defense: I got it by a guy [yes!] who had the soundtrack to ‘Music and Lyrics’ [meaning that yes, we watched and liked the movie, too]. The whole album has a lot of songs that make you smile and if you’re a fan of Hugh Grant it’s an obvious must-watch and -hear.

Happiness inducing today: Waking up to sunshine.

Stay in touch!

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

What are the first five songs on your iPod’s shuffle?

Which would be the most surprising song to find?

Does anybody upload albums in their iTunes and then just pick their favourite songs to transfer to the iPod? For me, the reason I don’t is a) laziness and b) I want to give my not-so-favourite songs another chance.