Friday Favourites – 10/30/2015

Well, hello there, Friday! And hello there, [almost-]Halloween! How in the world did this month – or better yet: this year – fly by that fast [again]??! And Halloween being around the corner means Christmas isn’t far away anymore, either.  My plan to be prepped better and have a few presents by the end of this month already? We won’t get into that here …

While I can’t churn out any Halloween memories for lack thereof – yes, it’s true – I decided to link up with Heather and Katie to talk about some current favourites again.

  1. At the risk of being cheesy I just have to say that a definite favourite of mine this week were all your comments on yesterday’s post. Letting my thoughts flow and hearing other people’s opinion is one of my favourite parts of blogging. Sorry not sorry for cheesiness.

2. One firm favourite that boosts my mood on those gray, cold and at times boring days: kitchen dance parties! Kitchen because mine doubles as a living room – not always a blessing. Either way: feel free to laugh but this oldie but goodie made a return this week:

3. Talking about jam there’s a firm food favourite to mention, too. If you’ve been reading for some time you might remember my fondness of a certain brand of Greek yogurt split cups and especially the jam part? Well, the only store carrying those decided to discontinue selling them. I’m a-okay going with my Greek yogurt cheat but I do miss the fruity spread so I’ve been on a mission to find a replacement. While not entirely the same this one is pretty close. Lots of blueberries and 75 % fruit percentage – I can roll with that.

favourite jam_blueberry

Walks. Always good but even better now I’m not excerising anymore. This is actually really tough on my mind but I keep repeating to myself that all of this hardship is serving a better future. And while running isn’t in the books – I’m even trying to avoid blogs mentioning it because I miss it so much – walks are an awesome alternative to clear my mind. And – TMI 😉 – they help keeping you regular, too.

autum walk

Another favourite? Surprise packages in the mail. Granted, this one wasn’t entirely surprising but the fact how soon it shipped [five days and not stuck at customs!] was. So: Quest bars. Why? How? My last post might have left the impression I was anti-protein anything. Which isn’t entirely true. I’m not emphasizing protein in my diet much and  going with my gut rather than trying to figure out any macronutrient needs. And as you know if you read yesterday’s post you will know I think no foods should be shunned from our diets completely. Just make real foods the largest part of your diet and you’re good to go.

Quest bars_protein

Long story short: I’m generally curious of trying new foods and seeing all the rage around Quest bars wanted to know what the hype was about. However, my curiosity wasn’t large enough to actually shell out money to order them online. Are you aware a bar of ## this amazing chocolate ## is cheaper than a ‘Questie’? I know my priorities ;). Nonetheless, I was lucky to win a giveaway on Instagram and got two boxes of the bars – one of the S’mores flavor and a mixed bestseller box – and I’m excited to see if they live up to their reputation. I’ll keep you updated.

For now, I hope you’ll have a great Friday and a good start into the weekend!

Happiness-inducing today: Many little things like talking to my sister on the phone, finding out one of her former classmates that I happen to know a bit better, too, is pregnant and other things.
 

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
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What’s your favourite jam – both the edible and audible kind?

If you’re a Quest bar fan: what is your favourite here? And: raw or baked? Because apparently certain flavours are best enjoyed warmed up?!

Do you have any plans for Halloween?

 

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Christmas, actually

Talk about a late Christmas recap. What can I say? Does spending an all-around family weekend with nerve-wracking yahtzee thrillers [we’re addicted] and the equally fraught task of preparing a Strudel for dinner count as an excuse 😉 ? If not you’ll have to trust me I intentionally waited until today [truth!] because what could be a more amazing topic to talk about on this wonderful Marvelous in my Monday than Christmas? See, you can’t argue with that. Thanks to Katie for hosting us all throughout the year!

MiMM_new

The post title? That’s because, well, this post is all about our Christmas celebration and it’s hard to believe it is actually over again already. Way too early once more. Additionally, this year’s Christmas was unusual in a way. If I’d filled in the survey after  this year’s celebration my answers might have been slightly different. More on that in a second. And the title may or may not also show my fondness of a certain Christmas movie once more.

Advent wreath_grandma

We’re going backwards in this post saving the gifts for last [not judging you if you’re too curious scrolling right down to the end – or at least not much]. Because while our main celebration always is on Christmas Eve most family activites happen on the 25th when all relatives on my mum’s side come over to my grandparents’ house.

Golden_angel

By far one of my favourite parts of Christmas and every of our family gatherings at my grandparents’, actually, is our family walk along the beach. Yes, we’re those folks who bundle up and brave the weather for a walk under any circumstances. It’s been a tradition for as long as I can think and no visit at my relatives’ would be complete without the whole family bonding and chatting on those walks. The calmth of the sea. Unplugged and also elsewise distraction-free catch-up time with cousins, aunts, uncles.

Christm._walk

While we get to see and talk to each other all day long it’s during those walks that conversations really spark and get deeper. I hadn’t seen one of my cousins who moved to Austria for her studies in months so we were in dire need of catching up on each other’s lives. No better way to do so than while trudging through the sand, wind dishevelling our hair and watching the steady lively motion of the waves [can you tell I’m pretty fond of nature?]. Does anybody else feel conversations to be much more inspired when moving outside while talking? Maybe it’s the fresh breeze enlivening ourselves in the whole and sparking

Christmas beach walk

Next up on our regular schedule: cookies. And, oh well, let’s not forget about Torte [yes, I know it’s just called cake, too, but the German word implies so much more for me 🙂 ], Stollen and more cake. My grandma is going all out to make sure everyone’s experiencing a sugar coma ;).

Cookies_at_grandmas

Also one of the marvelous parts of Christmas? Many hugs by my grandpa. They’ve become even more precious to me after a health scare on his side several years ago. One moment can change the meaning of something as simple as a hug altogether. Maybe it’s sappy to say but family truly is the biggest blessing we get in life and while my Christmas had its annoyances and little flaws, too, I’m thankful for every moment I got to spend with my grandpa – and all other relatives. He’s the world’s best hugger – or at least the best known to me and that’s kind of the same thing, right ;)?!

Two of the changes I mentioned above was that my sister and I didn’t get to decorate the Christmas tree this year and – major break with the family traditions! – we didn’t throw the dice to determine who was allowed to unwrap a gift next. Here’s to hoping we’ll get back to it next year.

Christmas Tree 2013

Weihnachtsgeschenke

Does anybody else marvel at the fact that the older we get the less important the gifts under the tree become? Just thinking of how excited I was writing my wish lists weeks in advance and hardly being able to sleep the night before Christmas Eve makes me smile. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy receiving and especially giving gifts – but the additional sleep is much appreciated :). This year I hadn’t asked for any specific gifts which happened to be marvelous because I was even more surprised by every present I received. Not playing favourites but one of the most amazing presents this year would be …

PJ pants

PJ pants! And not just any: My mum knew I’d been unsuccessfully looking for new ones for a while and decided to sew me a pair shortly before Christmas Eve. Can you tell she knows me so well [colour and dots]? Just like her and my sister are quite the talented seamstresses meaning both of them bestowed not only me but every family member with their own handiwork. When transferring the pictures from my camera to my laptop I noticed I actually hadn’t taken any pictures of my presents on Christmas Eve 😯 – and hardly any pictures at all. We were clearly too busy fooling around and wearing hilarious santa hats ;). That’s why I hope you won’t mind a few quickly snapped pictures from today once more featuring the PJ pants in all their glory [thanks, mum]. All I can say is I felt spoiled – and happy my presents were well received, too. Especially since my dad truly approved of his gift, too – a huge relief.

Presents

Unsual also due to the fact it was just seven of us celebrating on Christmas Eve it was a special Christmas nonetheless. Borrowing a term by Kierston I can honestly say my heart was full. Filled with gratitude and love for all the memories made and family bonding time.

Happy last Monday of 2013!

Happiness inducing today: Watching my family’s delight and excitement when playing Yatzhzee – I love that crazy bunch of people.

What was one of your favourite gifts to give and receive this year?

Did you gift any homemade presents? I had the best intentions but ended up going the store-bought route once more. Just wait for it once the next birthday comes up, though :). I’m still taking recommendations for any occasion!

Who’s the best hugger in your family?

Weekends are for …

Hi and happy first Monday in October!

I wasn’t going to be that obvious and say it but … how are we one week into October already?! Didn’t we just ease into September still trying to pretend Summer had yet to end? Well, I guess it’s time to stop ignoring the signs of Fall and embrace the season with all its side actions but also lots of things to like. Some quite marvelous things indeed that I’m sure our amazing host approves of. Thanks for reminding us to start the week off with a smile, Katie!

MiMM_new

Weekends are for …

Autumn walk_October

… walks with friends on a surprisingly warm October day. Unless it’s raining cats and dogs we always meet up for a little [or a little longer] stroll outside. Soaking up the sunshine, walking and talking are the components for a perfect catch-up in my opinion.

Weekends are for …

Apple

… kitchen experiments. Trying to keep up my September goal in October, too, I’m enjoying to switch up my meals and create my own recipes. Something I previously shied away from because I was afraid of ideas turning out wrong and me wasting calories on food I didn’t enjoy. Looking back at some of my first posts I see meals created with too much fear and lacking in taste. But the more I allow myself to stop measuring every ingredient and go with the flow the better the outcome. Definitely recipes worth sharing.

Weekends are for …

Farmers' Market

… visiting the Farmers’ Market. A country bumpkin at heart still I can’t miss out on any chance to get farm-fresh produce that tastes a million times better than anything offered at supermarkets. Stocking up on fall produce and the last of summer’s bounty is a necessity whenever I have the time to go. What I especially enjoy about Farmers’ Markets is getting to know the people behind the food I eat and have a chat with them. Why yes, I’m the person who lets the vendor tell her about the whereabouts of his blueberries only to anxiously ask how long he thinks he’ll still have some for her. [Please keep your fingers crossed for another week of the best sweetest berries ever for me.]

And … weekends are for

meeting potential new roommates. My current one is about to move out at the end of the month and I had a number of candidates visit to look at the room and chat for a bit. Admittedly, I wasn’t too keen on sharing a flat anymore after my previous roommate experiences. Believe me, there would be some stories to tell … After getting to know all these sympathetic, fun and open-minded girls, though, I think I might change my mind again. If only I didn’t have such a hard time picking just one of them now … A decision I won’t get around making this week. But for now:

Happy Monday!

Happiness inducing today: My mum mailing me to say thanks for the letter I mailed her and making a fun suggestion for a little mum-and-daughter project.  A first letter-writing success :).

 

Tell me: Weekends are made for …

Do you regularly visit Farmers’ Markets? What are you must-buys?

Any ideas on how to make the decision for a roommate easier ;)? If only I had more than one spare room …

 

 

Blissfully falling into autumn

See what I did there? With a slight preference for the term ‘autumn’ when it comes to naming the season and the latter having started on Saturday I couldn’t help but choose this title. And a blissful start it was indeed.

But first things first: Happy Monday! The first Monday of the season so how much cleaner than clean could our slates be ;)?! Let’s take a look at all things marvelous from the weekend. Thank for hosting once again, Katie!

MiMM_new

Most marvelous about the past weekend was my spontaneous decision to head down to my parents’ for the first time since my sister’s wedding. Swapping the hustle-bustling grey city for the gorgeous nature and calmth of the countryside – bliss.

Fall

Sparing you the story of my less-than-pleasant train/bus journey [five instead of two and a half hours? Not cool.] the time that followed more than made up for it. First stop after my arrival: my mum’s raspberry bushes. As in: must eat all the [golden] berries. Not like I didn’t eat my fair share of red ones, either, though ;).

Raspberries

My parents were out and about dancing the day away [read: they’re avid dancers and attended a workshop]. While waiting for them I read, pottered about the house and went for a walk. As much as I enjoy my runs in the city already they can’t compare to hitting the trail in the countryside. The weather was perfect – mild temperatures, no rain – and breating in fresh country air again was truly marvelous. Once back my parents had arrived and we sat together chatting, drinking tea and planning the next day.

Candles

Taking full advantage of the fact that my siblings weren’t around and for once not sharing my parents’ attention I’d made a wish: going for a long walk/hike through the autumnal forest. If there’s one activity that I need to partake in every year around this time it’s a walk in the woods. Even though I haven’t written a fall bucket list [yet?] this would have been far on top.

walk

Being in nature lets me forget all current worries, reminiscene my childhood and simply enjoy time with my parents. Not waste a thought on what I’m wearing, what others are thinking of me or my to-do list for the next day – just be in the moment.

Autumn walk

Maybe taking inspiration from this little guy who was clearly enjoying the simply life …

beetle

Back from our walk I visited a friend of my family. Originally just meaning to deliver a present from my parents but then accepting a spontaneous invitation for a cup of tea. Skipping my planned run for it? Totally worth the great conversation and catching up. It’s these little things that made me feel anxious a while ago still and that I’m getting better at accepting. Feels so good to worry less and enjoy more.

teapot

And again one party just isn’t enough to start Monday off right. Just looking at the sheer amount of kabocha I’ve been eating the past weeks and months I simply couldn’t not join Heather’s MMAZ this week.

Meatless Mondays

While last week was about getting creative in the kitchen ourselves this week we’re supposed to show off what we’ve cooked using somebody else’s recipe. Even though I usually have a hard time choosing it was a matter of second this time. The very day after Laura had posted her Thai Peanut Kabocha and Cauliflower I had some roasting in the oven.

Sprint2the table PB vegetables

There’s a lot to say here [I’m not usually a fan of roasted vegetables; peanut flour over here isn’t even nearly as amazing as the one in the US; …] but here’s the short version: go and make this recipe! It’s strangely addictive. Just the right amount of spicyness with the cinnamon adding a subtle sweet touch rounding out the flavour. I couldn’t stop snacking until the whole batch was gone so if that isn’t an indication of how good it was … Thank you for the awesome recipe, Laura! Now if only the stores around here hadn’t conspired against me not offering kabocha anymore. Please keep your fingers crossed for me :).

 

Happiness inducing today: The whole weekend spent at my parents’. Refilling my happiness reserves all the way.

 

How did you spend the weekend?

Fall or autumn: which term do you prefer – no matter if it’s the one you use more often or not? Maybe it’s because I grew up using “autumn” but I just like the sound of it better. Either way, here’s to embracing the season of [scented!] candles, comfy wool socks handknitted by grandma [guess what I’m wearing right now?!] and curling up in bed with a good book.

If you don’t live at your parents’ anymore: how often do you see them?

Sunday [sunny] Funday

A fresh start, a clean slate – that’s what the majority of people attributes to the beginning of a new year. Personally, I like to think the same way of Mondays, too. A whole new week with all its possibilities and changes.  What didn’t work out well or hasn’t happen last week can be made up for in the new one. With a few struggles last week and huge decision made there might actually be quite a bit of change for me this week.  As I can’t say anything for sure yet, though,  For now, though, I’ll have a look back- instead of fast forwards and share some marvelous happenings from the weekend. Thanks again to the wonderful Katie for reminding us to start the week in a happy spirit.

MiMM_new

Saturday was an all-out relaxed day I spent running errands, reading and pottering about my flat. Don’t you just like when you’re visiting a store you’re not frequenting on the regular only to happen upon a favourite item at a great price? That’s what happened for me:

Bengal Spice Tea

I’d been buying the small boxes at little less than the price I found this huge box for now. Score!

Even more marvelous than Saturday was my Sunday [Funday], though. Not only due to me wearing the eponymous Essie colour which I finally found around here a few weeks ago after assuming it wasn’t sold in Germany at all.

Essie

No, much more so because my mum took the trip down to the city I live in only so we could spend a few hours together. Few hours that passed by way too quickly yet I’m so thankful for every minute we got to spend with each other <3.

Trying to make the most of our time we started by visiting a cozy café offering vegan fare that recently opened around the corner of my place.  Unfortunately, they close pretty early on Sundays so we weren’t able to have lunch there but had tea. By recommendation of another guest, my mum also got a piece of vegan Coconut Cream Cake [akin to Raffaelo pralinés if you’ve ever had those]. Needless to say, I snagged several bites and while we agreed it was a bit too heavy for a hot summer day it still tasted amazing.

Rich, creamy, coconutty.

Rich, creamy, coconutty.

Followed up by a nice walk in the gorgeous August sun – really, though: how is it the end of August already? Can we please postpone the beginning of Fall by a few more months or at least weeks? I’m not ready yet.

 Sunday walk

More love locks.

Love locks

We even spotted a newlywed couple having their picture taken and were instantly reminded of my sister’s wedding. Hard to believe it’s been three weeks since then already. Luckily, I still had the pictures on my camera so we reminiscened  the event over lunch. So many awesome memories.

Making it a true Sunday funday we went on a little window-shopping tour after lunch. Some fun finds:

Undecided on these ones ...

Undecided on these ones …

… but how about these?

Hello Kitty Shoe

You know my obsession ;).

It’s not usual for stores to be opened on Sundays in Germany. Yet living in a city with a large central station I am “lucky” [poor employees!] to still have actual shopping possibilities on Sunday. If having another day to spend money on is a good or a bad thing … I’m undecided ;).

new bag

However, it did prove to be great yesterday. I’d been in need of a new large bag spacious enough to house my assortment of lunch boxes   and bags to the office yet also pretty enough to double as a shopping or travel bag. Three had made it onto my short list but being an indecisive person in general I was glad to have my mum’s help in making the choice. Give and receive – so I helped her decide on her first ever Essie polish after I’d been gushing about them for ages. Laquered up was beaten by Russian Roulette in the end :).

Flower

Saying goodybe at the end of the day was hard but here’s too another mum weekend [hopefully] soon!

 

Happiness inducing today: Spending the day with my mum, obviously. Having two siblings it’s nice to have her all to myself every now and then :).

 

I hope you’re all having a great start into the new week!

 

How do you like to spend mother-daughter-days [respectively mother-son-days]?

Do Mondays feel like starting with a clean slate to you, too?

What were some highlights of your weekend?

 

Marvelous in my Monday: Listening to your needs

Happy Monday! Spring has finally graced us with a sunny and – compared to the past weeks – warm weather. Reason enough to start the day with a smile and keep it up all day. Our sweet host Katie is the perfect example for staying positive every day. Thanks for the inspiration, Katie!

MiMM_new

Not being able to visit my parents the past weekend was one I’d have once again filed under “not mention-worty” – that is, if it wasn’t for my goal of practicing positivity [which I’ll finally publish the whole post about soon].  My motto: No day in life passes by without at least a bit of positivity, something worth remembering – however big or small it might be.

Flowers

With my goal in mind I focused on the positives in this weekend and looking back can honestly say it wasn’t completely unsuccessful. Sure, I could have gotten a lot more reading done for the huge project I need to work on for university. But I did make progress in caring for and making myself feel good. While I like to make sure others are doing well it’s listening to and fulfilling my own needs that I’m still working on.

Swan

Watching the swans at sunset on my walk.

The most important step trying to listen to my needs was taking both Friday and Sunday off from running – something I wouldn’t have considered only a short while ago. Two rest days this close to each other on days where I had plenty of time? Even though I wasn’t feeling it I hadn’t meant to take Friday off wanting to make the most of the good weather. But then I remembered this post by Meg talking about intuitive exercise and changed my mind. Running wasn’t what I truly felt like so I put it off. Going for a walk instead I could feel my sore muscles thanking me for the relaxation.

Soaking up the sunshine on my walk.

Soaking up the sunshine and getting my daily dose of Vitamin D.

Another need taken care of was finally calling to my brother. He’s been traveling through Asia with his girlfriend since January. Due to time differences and wonky internet connections we hadn’t been able to talk ever since. While I had been following up with their experiences through their blog it was a much needed catch-up. I hope we’ll be able to talk again soon – what would we be doing without Skype, right?!

How was your weekend?

Do you work out intuitively or stick to your schedule?