Posts tagged cambridge

Turning Into a Stunt Woman For Apple Picking

Friends,

what are your favorite fall traditions? I’m currently experiencing my first American fall and have quickly learned that at least here in New England going apple picking is a MUST and has to be done.

Otherwise you’re not doing fall the right way.

Last weekend we decided to rent a car and headed out to the countryside. We went to Connor’s Farm (find more info about it here), which has been around since 1904. It’s basically a farm version of Disneyland, where kids (and adults alike) can indulge in playing all types of games, stroking baby animals, picking apples, shooting apples at targets (yes, that was a thing), eating lots of hot apple cider donuts and finding your way out of a corn maze (and getting lost lots of times on the way….and kind of getting scared that you’ll never get out AND thinking how all those parents let their kids go in on their own). It’s a pretty fun activity, I have to say.

Also, picking apples at the end of the season will have you pull off dangerous stunts (you didn’t know you were capable of) in order to get those last apples hanging (usually on top of the tree…of course). But hey, you have to work to get those apples.

Now we’re stuck with a mountain of delicious apples and I am researching all types of apple related recipes. If you have one you like, be sure to share it!

Have a great day!

 

Go Crimson! Attending a Harvard Basketball Game

Americans, you definitely know how to put on a show.

We went to see two basketball games over the last 7 days. One at TD Garden (Boston Celtics against the Milwaukee Buicks) and the other one was the Crimson Madness at the newly renovated Lavietes Pavilion. After seeing two baseball games in Fenway Park and a NBA and a College Basketball game it is pretty clear to me (Red Sox fans close your eyes or stop reading) that basketball is just SO SO MUCH more interesting and fun to watch. If you want to know more about our basketball adventures you may read on.

What is Crimson Madness you ask? I didn’t know either, so let’s get that out of the way first. Crimson Madness officially kicks off the 2017-18 Harvard Men’s Basketball season.

And, let me tell you, it was a very entertaining evening.

As images always do a better job at conveying a feeling or atmosphere I’ve included the official little recap that the HarvardAthletics account posted on Youtube a couple of days ago.

So here’s what’s happened as advertised before the game:

  • Special welcome from Coach Tommy Amaker
  • Pregame dunk contest
  • Three-point shootout
  • Intra-squad scrimmage
  • FREE giveaways
  • FREE team photos and rosters
  • Post-game autograph session

It was really impressive seeing how professional the set-up with all the analysts, team assistants, journalists, screens, cheerleaders, dance teams, athletes and trainers looked. I almost don’t wanna say it but seeing the whole thing made me realize that many European professional teams would have a hard time competing with that. Ok that might be a bit exaggerated but still, you get the gist. Harvard Basketball have their s*** together.

Overall, it was an interesting American experience, with the national anthem playing at the beginning, an inspirational address by coach Amaker, new and current players were introduced as if they were super rockstars entering the arena, free shirts were thrown into the audience, cheerleaders and dance teams presented their choreographies, food and snacks and you get the picture. After a short intra-squad game people would even go down to see the players and ask for their autographs.

If any of you are local readers, check out Harvard Athletics schedule here, it’s worth taking your friends and family out to a game as it was great fun!

America’s Food Truck Obsession

Hi friends,

A phenomena that I’ve come across here in the US over and over again, no matter where I go, is that food trucks are incredibly popular. Way more than in Europe. They literally are everywhere on university campuses such as Harvard or MIT, actually on any bigger place in downtown in the midst of all the office buildings and spread around the city. Heck, the city of Boston even has an official food truck map and a schedule sorted by neighborhood on their website (check it out here if you’re a local reader and wish to know when you’re favorite food truck will stop nearby you). There are food truck festivals basically every weekend. Yes. We take our food trucks seriously around here.

The popularity of Food Trucks in the US

After the recession the popularity of food truck has gotten a huge boost as many people that got laid off decided to take the risk of running their own business. These mobile restaurants are more affordable than a “real restaurant” and as they run on volume they can reach high sales pretty quickly. What type of food would you serve up in your own food truck if you ever were to open one? (I looooved the Cookie Monstah food truck, AH-MAZING cookies).

Tips for Getting Into Running

Hello dear friend,

I’m going to be honest.  When I first started running, I hated it. Like I really didn’t enjoy it at all. Obviously Philipp would also not really choose beginner friendly routes, always going uphill (UPHILL PEOPLE, what is wrong with that man), which kind of not motivated me.

A few years in, I have changed my opinion on running and have to say that I really enjoy running now. It really is a liberating and elevating feeling just leaving the house and start running. Wherever you want go. As far as you want to. As simple as that. And the truth is, the more you do it, the better you’ll get (as annoying that sounds especially at the beginning of your runner’s journey). Believe me. Other than that I’ve compiled some tips if you’d like to get into running. Also, it’s the fall soon so perfect time to get those running shoes on and start running.

#1 Choose a route

As trivial as this sounds it makes a huge difference, especially in the beginning. I feel like knowing where your end destination is makes a huge difference on your mental state of mind (aka your motivation). The better you get at running, however, the more you’ll want to switch up your running routes in order to not get bored or have your body get too used to one route over and over again.

#2 Stick to a Plan

I would go for a run here and there in the beginning, really not having a routine or consistent rhythm.

You don’t want to do that, ok. I repeat. You don’t want to do that. 

It will make you have to start over and over again and your body will not get into a routine. Even though you can find a number of elaborate training plans online, keep it simple. Here is the basic formula for a great training plan.

  • Train three days a week
  • Run or run/walk 20 to 30 minutes, two days a week
  • Take a longer run or run/walk (40 minutes to an hour) on the weekend
  • Rest or cross-train on your off days
  • Run at a conversational pace
  • Consider taking regular walk-breaks

#3 Make Running Fun

In order to stick to your new routine of running regularly you’ll have to just make it fun. If you hate it, well, I don’t think it’s going to work you know? Make it fun by going with a friend once a week, by discovering a new part of town or a new cute forest route, take your favorite music with you, go in the early morning to feel energized and fresh for a new day.

#4 Pick a Race

Ok, so you’ve managed to have a plan and enjoy running so far. The absolute best way to keep yourself running in my opinion is to find a race, sign up for it, pay for it and put it on your calendar. A fixed race date will help you stay focused, and keep you on a regular running schedule. Also, it’s really fun (see #3). You might not think that in the beginning but after having finished that 5K, 10K or more (you beast you) you’ll just feel amazing.

#5 Invest in great running gear

Obviously you really only need running shoes to get running. You can run in your pajamas if you like, if that works for you, go ahead. Still, I feel like investing in good workout clothes not only makes you feel good while running you’ll also enjoy running more. Does that make sense? Now that I’ve seen Adriene in her adidas gear, I need those tight pants in my life. ASAP.

Come To The Farmer’s Market With Me

Friends,

how are you today? Do you love Farmer’s Markets as much as I do?

It’s something I’ve really been getting into during the last few months and I really enjoy getting to see the people behind the produce and foods I buy. I love discovering all the colors and shapes (look at those tomatoes!) of all the vegetables and fruits that you definitely don’t get to see at the supermarket.

Last Saturday I went to the Union Square Farmer’s Market in Somerville. It’s a beautiful market with cute live music band playing and with lots of interesting and friendly market stalls. Come and join me on my walk through the market!

New Healthy Habits I’m Loving

Friends,

we are all about that healthy balanced lifestyle these days, aren’t we? I have to say that I’ve never enjoyed eating healthly and moving as much as I do now. It makes me feel good and more energized. So today’s post is going to be all about those small new things I’ve been implementing in my daily routine. Let me know what habits you are following that make you feel all good and healthy. Have a great day!

Boosting my Breakfast (BMB)

I found that having a nutritious breakfast really sets me up for the day feeling all energized. I love to add certain so called superfoods (Philipp always laughs at me when I say that, he obviously doesn’t believe in the power of superfoods, tsss) such as chia seeds, goji berries (all types of berries in general as they’re loaded with antioxidants) or nuts, seeds and cinnamon (also has anti-inflammatory properties) to my yoghurt or kefir. They’re all packed with valuable nutrients and will leave you feeling real goooood.

Drink Lemon Water

It’s such a cliché but drinking lots of water is JUST THE WAY TO GO PEEPS. And seriously I have been dehydrated most of my life looking back now (not in a life threatening way of course but still). It’s highly likely that you too don’t drink enough water. So. Long story short: Start your day right – create a routine and stick to it. I start my day with a glass of water and add some lemon. Not only does this add a much-needed burst of vitamin C into my day – perfect for boosting your immunity – it also helps to flush the digestive system and rehydrate the body. It’s alkalising once inside our body, which is great for balancing pH levels, and it’s also super refreshing.

lemon water

Adding Vitamins or Protein Powder to My Daily Routine

I’ve only recently been getting into vitamins and supplements more (because as far as I understand if you’re eating a balanced diet you don’t really need any supplements). Still, sometimes it’s hard to get enough from food alone. I’ve been adding protein powder to my yoghurt nut and berries concotions or have one or two vitamins I take. What do you think about the whole supplement craze?

Investing in Workout Gear That I actually Like to Wear

Does it sound weird putting that in a list about healthy habits? Well, I’m not saying you should regulary buy new workout gear (the contrary actually). What I’m saying is that treating yourself to some good quality workout gear will make you want to workout more (because you look good, makes sense, right?).

That’s logical, #amiright?

Minimizing Waste

It’s incredible how much foods ends up in the landfill just because people throw it away, we waste so much produce that it’s upsetting. We try and plan ahead every week how much of what types of produce, breads etc. we will actually need. There are weeks where we know we’ll be out a lot or not at home, so no need to buy as much as usually. So please try and consider buying what you need for the week ahead. Seems so logical but still is often forgotten. Also, try and buy at Farmer’s Markets (post about my favourite Farmer’s Market coming at you tomorrow, keep your eyes peeled) as you will usually need less packaging

When you take the time to cook, don’t just cook for one meal; cook for the future. Pesto, tomato sauces, curries and soups are great things to make in large batches and freeze in small portions. With pesto, a top tip is to freeze small blocks in ice cube trays so you always have the perfect amount to add quickly into meals.

30 Thoughts on Being 30

Dear all,

The year you become 30, when you enter a new decade of your life….what happens then? Well. You turn 30. I’ve never been one to attach a great deal of attention to that age, still I think that by then you’ll (hopefully) have acquired some life experience and so I thought it might be interesting to share 30 thoughts/lessons (if you want to call them that) on turning/being 30. I’d love to know what your thoughts are. Let us know in the comments below.

  1. One that I like because I hear it pretty often around here: YOU DO YOU. Especially at 30, you’ve got this:You (hopefully) will have understood by now that you simply CANNOT please everyone.
  2. Your parents are cool and can also be your best friends.
  3. I would have never guessed that I would be celebrating my 30th birthday in a new country, let alone be living in another country at 30. So you see, life is an adventure, be open for all its opportunities.
  4. But, I’m perfectly okay with where I’m at. It’s funny to see how life unfolds.
  5. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Life is meant to be lived and fully experienced. Live, laugh, love.
  6. Trust your gut! Forreals. It usually knows what it’s doing. Especially at 30 you’re gut has been trained and tested maaaaany times, it knows what’s going on, ok? Trust you feelings.
  7. You believe that you deserve everything you set your heart and mind to.
  8. Sending hand-written thank you notes is just beautiful and it makes me really happy receiving them.
  9. All physical change begins internally.
  10. Set goals, reach them, and enjoy the success. Also, enjoy the ride along the way. 
  11. As a woman your girlfriends are very important. They will be your support system through thick and thin. When you find them, hold on to them. Be nice to them (see #12).
  12. Being kind never goes out of style, be a good friend, a good daughter a good work colleague. It will make you and everyone else around you just feel better.
  13. Happiness is not an achievement. It is a state-of-being and an active choice. You’re not always going to feel it and that’s okay too.
  14. A healthy lifestyle really brings you enjoyment.
  15. Also, it’s all about that balance y’all. It works when you couple healthy choices with the things that might not be so healthy but that do bring you joy.
  16. That said cookies, brownies and other chocolatey stuff is equally as amazing at 30 as at 3. 
  17. Living a simple life with clear focus based on meaningful values is where it’s at girls and boys. Slow down, be present, and be good to yourself.
  18. Sometimes all it takes is literally a change of perspective or talking to someone about it.
  19. Surround yourself with people that make you feel alive, curious, positive and allow you to be you.
  20. Life doesn’t work as a linear cycle; it’s a series of highs and lows that are intertwined, irregular, and often unpredictable.
  21. Sometimes you’ll have bad days or will feel down. That’s ok. It’s part of the deal.
  22. Be grateful for everything in your life.
  23. Giving can provide the same great euphoria as receiving.
  24. Money can buy a lot of things but it cannot buy you class.
  25. That drinking enough water thing, really IS IMPORTANT (had to find out at 30, took me some time).
  26. Nothing beats a home made dinner.
  27. Love Yourself (Justin Bieber says it, too, so you better believe it). 
  28. A title should never determine your self-worth.
  29. Sometimes you need to have a boring day? You don’t always have to have a overflowing schedule.
  30. Patience is a virtue (that I still need to learn).

Poetry Books I’m Loving

Friends,

I never used to be into poetry but I’ve been getting into it more and more lately. Time to share some of my favorites, you might like them, too.

#1 Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

I KNOW. I KNOW. You’re like, ‘Sandra really? This is old news’. And I know, you’re right. Rupi Kaur’s first book, Milk and Honey, already sold 1.4 million copies (what! amazing!). It’s been an immense success and to be honest I waited a long time before giving it a read. I was just thinking how there was that huge hype around that 24 year old girl that became famous thanks to Instagram. But. I have to says: The hype was/is absolutely justified (in my opinion). If you’re into contemporary poetry that you can actually understand and you do enjoy beautiful and delicate illustrations, this is the book for you. One of my favorite poems:

“for you to see beauty here
does not mean there is beauty in me
it means there is beauty rooted so deep within you
you can’t help but
see it everywhere”

#2 Ariel by Sylvia Plath

#4 Howl by Allen Ginsberg

#5 Averno by Louise Glück

Moving In Boston: 5 Things That Are Different Than in Switzerland

Friends,

moving house in the US is an adventure. We will move house by the end of the month and the apartment hunt was definitely quite different from what I’ve experienced so far in Europe. Let’s dig a little deeper.

#1 More people are involved in the apartment hunt

While you usually have an interested renter and a landlord in the mix in Switzerland, you’ll most likely have a a broker, a landlord, an owner and an interested renter talking to each other when apartment hunting around here. Many people use a real estate agent to find a place, which usually comes with a 1-month fee, which you will pay in addition to first, last, and security.

#2 Most apartment leases begin on September 1st

With such a large student population, it makes sense for the Boston rental market to operate on a September 1st schedule. Still, moving day is organized chaos it seems (I’ll see it in a week and will report back). The streets become parking lots for trucks and vans, the sidewalks become homes for unwanted furniture. In one part of the city called Allston there’s so much chaos going on that people lovingly call it Allston Christmas. It basically means that everything that renters don’t take with them ends up on the streets. Yum. It looks a little bit like that. Still, people from other parts of town know about Allston Christmas and will show up to get the things for free.

#3 You might have to sleep with your furniture for one night

What sounds like a weird exaggeration might actually be true for some people. As EVERYONE’s old lease ends on August 31st and EVERYONE’s new lease starts September 1 you basically have a problem. If possible, contact the current tenant of your new apartment to schedule moving times. Sometimes you’re lucky and you’ll be able to move in earlier. If not you’ll have to find a storage or pod for storing your furniture for a night. YES. Weird, right? 

#4 You don’t have time to “think about it”

If you’re buying something like a couch, you get to shop around, take a while to think about which one you like, go see a few more and then make the best choice for you. If you’re looking for apartments, you do NOT get that luxury. You should assume 4 or 5 other people are trying to rent any apartment you see. You have to pretty much decide on the spot if you want a place or not. That was definitely a new experience for me. Apparently, most apartments in Cambridge are usually only on the market for less than a week.

We were basically standing in the kitchen of an apartment we liked and after 10 minutes of looking around were already talking to the broker about the deposit and application process. We went home (it was 5pm in the afternoon) and filled out all the forms that night and also had to wire them the deposit. It went pretty fast to say the least. NO comparison to the slow process in Switzerland.

#5 Don’t touch anything you find on the street in Allston

Going back to #2, Allston Christmas might sound like fun, but it’s not. In fact, Allston Christmas is the least sanitary time of the year.

Everthing To Go Please And Thank You

Hi friends,

For here or to go? This will be a question you’ll get asked in any café where you order a coffee. Let’s talk about that in today’s post. Fix yourself a cup of coffee (!) and get reading.

The “To-go” concept – grabbing a coffee to go

Americans seem to like things on-the-go. They eat breakfast in their cars on their way to work. They eat lunch at their desks and catch up on emails. And of course, they drink coffee on the run. Most Americans seem to always be on the go, running from one appointment to the next, going to and from work, picking up kids, running errands, and going to business meetings and social outings. Every morning I walk into town I’ll see literally EVERYONE (not exaggerating here) walking around with a coffee  in one hand and a phone in the other one.

While there are obviously Swiss people who down their cappuccino on the go, too, I still think that it is less common to consume everything on the go. I would also say that in Switzerland, people slow down when they drink coffee. They sit down. They sip leisurely. They chat. They relax.

What I found interesting (to actually bring you some sort of relevant information today) was that even though it seems that everybody is drinking coffee at all times everywhere the United States isn’t even in the top ten when you rank actual coffee consumption per person. According to this article by the Telegraph it’s the Finns that come out on top. They grind their way through an impressive 12kg per person per year, according to stats from the International Coffee Organization. Switzerland makes the Top 10, while the US is on the 26th rank. (If you wondered where Italy is, it made it on rank 13 with 5.8kg of consumed coffee per person).

  1. Finland – 12kg per capita per year
  2. Norway – 9.9
  3. Iceland – 9
  4. Denmark – 8.7
  5. Netherlands – 8.4
  6. Sweden – 8.2
  7. Switzerland – 7.9
  8. Belgium – 6.8
  9. Luxembourg – 6.5
  10. Canada – 6.2

Ricotta Toast Is The New Avocado Toast (It’s A Thing)

Hello everyone,

what have you been eating for breakfast lately? If you were to ask me there’d be only one answer: (TOO MANY) Ricotta Toasts.

I just love them so much. And they seem to be quite popular around here (goodbye Avocado toasts), so if I ever go out for breakfast I’ll find them on the menu waiting for me to be devoured. Have you ever had a ricotta toast? If not let me introduce you to my favorite ideas on how to have a ricotta toast. Do let me know if you’ve tried it!

Ricotta Toast aka the most versatile toast EVER

Ricotta toast is one of the most versatile options in the toast world (yes, I just wrote that). My favorite option by far is having a sweet toast. What does that entail? Add fresh fruit like berries, banana slices, figs or pears on top of your ricotta toast. If you’re feeling lazy just top the toast with a bit of your favorite (high quality) preserve and maybe even sprinkle a little bit of pepper on it. D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S. Oh yeah. If you want to keep it even more simple, just pour a little honey or syrup on top.

If you’re thinking ‘Sandra, I do not like all that sweet stuff, give me something else’, I’ve got you covered. You can top your toast with fresh herbs or roasted veggies and it will make for a delicious combination, too.

I realize now that you can basically put ANYTHING on a ricotta toast and it will taste delicious, what do you think?

Have a great Tuesday and talk to you soon,

Sandra