Posts tagged wellbeing

Ups And Downs at Harvard Stadium (aka Getting Very Sweaty)

Hi friends,

how are you doing today? Is there an iconic workout or workout place where you live? I’m thinking something along the lines of the 72 steps before the entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art that Rocky runs up and down?

If I had to name such an iconic workout for Cambridge it would clearly be running up and down the steps at Harvard Stadium. Let me elaborate a little bit.

The country’s oldest stadium

People have been running the steps ever since Harvard Stadium was built, in 1903. The stadium consists of 31 levels of concrete seats across 37 sections.

The workout

Typically runners ascend along the larger seats and come down the smaller steps. You’ll repeat that 37 times and after having done 1147 steps you’ll be happy you’ve survived. OH YES.

Obviously, Harvard athletes train in the stadium, however, it is also open to the public. It’s really been a cool experience and I think I will definitely go back and try to run the steps as fast as I can (now that I know how it all works).

My main take away was that it’s not speed that matters, but the mere act of getting out and pushing your limits. And finishing something you started. Thanks to my great fitness squad! WE MADE IT! 

Have a fantastic last week of August!

3 Easy And Healthy Summer Recipes

Friends,

I don’t know about you but if temperatures are rising like they have around here for the last couple of days I am always looking for fresh and easy to put together food options.

I happy to share some of my favorite suuuuuuuper easy (like REALLY) recipes with you today. We’ve got an allrounder berry chia seed jam or vegan nutella, a fresh salad and a refreshing smoothie for you. Let me know if you’ve tried on of the recipes!

Lots of love and sunshine!

#1 Easiest berry chia seed jam EVER

Pick Up Limes makes a return on the blog today with this super easy and healthy recipe for a berry chia seed jam (see the post about my favorite YouTube channels here) because she just has so many great ideas. It’ll literally only take you 5 minutes to prep. Here’s how to do it:

  • 1 cup frozen raspberries (or other frozen berry)
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries (or other frozen berry)
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds 
  • 1 Tbsp apple juice (or sub orange juice)

Directions

Microwave berries for about 3 minutes. After this, smash the berries with a fork until more juices seep out, but some chunks remain. 

Add the chia seeds and juice, and stir to combine. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes for the chia seeds to gel, stirring once halfway. Store in an airtight container and enjoy with toast, on oatmeal, in breakfast parfaits, and more! 

Photos: Pick Up Limes

If you’re more into chocolate than into berries, check out the video below for another super easy recipe for a vegan nutella spread. This is definitely one to be tried next.

You can enjoy this jam on toast or oatmeal to naturally sweeten, or in your yogurt or granola bowl for breakfast. It’s loaded with antioxidants, fiber, minerals, vitamins and omega-3 fats from the chia seeds.

#2 Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad with Poppyseed

This delicious recipe for a Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad is done in 15 minutes and easy to make as well, full of great fresh flavors, and tossed with a simple poppyseed dressing. The combination of fruit, avocado and spinach really works out super nicely!

Photo: Gimme some oven

#3 Detox Green Smoothie

I really am missing my blender. I don’t currently own one but used to do one every other day as a pick me up snack in the afternoon or as a breakfast drink. You drink this. You’ll feel healthy instantly. And it also fills you up nicely, give it a try. You’ll find the recipe by Madeleine Shaw here.

Photo: Madeleine Shaw

Wanderlust 108 Boston: The Report

Friends!

How was your weekend? Mine was pretty pretty AH-MA-ZING. Why you ask? Because I kind of met someone really special. I met Adriene. Adriene from Yoga with Adriene. YES,  I know. It was just such a beautiful day. But. Everything in order.

Wanderlust 108 – What it is

Wanderlust 108 is full day celebration in support of the mindful movement, featuring a triathlon consisting of a 5K run, an outdoor yoga flow class, and a guided meditation. Following the triathlon, you can take one scheduled activity, such as acroyoga, walking meditation etc. There are also local vendors offering organic food and crafts, and charitable organizations making an impact in your local community.

Photo: Scarlet Roots

The experience

My buddy Sophie and I started off the 5K along the Charles River feeling strong and motivated, which led me to finish at my PB of around 25 minutes. Thanks for the great vibes, Soph!

We then had a quick wonder around the market, tried some foods, chilled and had a coffee before going to the yoga class that I was looking forward so much to (see further explanation down below as to why I was excited for it). While the morning had been a bit cloudy and fresh the morning and afternoon turned out to be sunny and warm.

Adriene and me (insert heart eyed emoji here)

Awww, where to begin. So first off, if you’ve been around from the veeery early beginnings on you might remember my American Bucket list (if that doesn’t ring a bell, check it out here). I stated in said list that I would love to get a photo with Adriene and if you scroll down you see exactly that. A photo of Adriene and myself. Still can’t believe it. She is genuinely just the nicest person and I want to be her friend.

She did such a good job, she was funny, kind, intelligent and generous. Just an awesome yoga teacher and an even more amazing person in real life.

I was really sweating after all day spent in the sun, running and doing yoga so I think I first apologized to her for being sweaty (cool move, Sandra…NOT). Some ‘how to…not small talk’ insight for you right there.

Do NOT talk about how sweaty you are.

Still, the amazingly kind and warm-hearted person she is, she asked me about my name, how my day was going so far. I must have said something (everything is a bit of a blur to be honest because I was so E-X-C-I-T-E-D). Anyways, that’s boring for you. What I’m trying to get across though, always believe in achieving your goals or dreams, someday they will become a reality. Would I have thought 6 months ago that Adriene would hug my sweaty self? Nope. See?

Wanderlust coming to Europe?

Fellow European readers, I’ve got good news for you. There will be Wanderlust events coming to Switzerland and Europe as well, check all the details out here and be sure to let me know how it went! You’ll enjoy it I’m sure. Let’s go!

Namaste beautiful people!

American Food Trends 2017

Hello friends,

you like food, do you? I have been researching a little and even though we’re already in August, I thought I’d share a bit of the foods and drinks I’ve found to be hugely popular around here. Which of these have you tried already or would like to try?

#1 Kombucha

I’ll be honest with you, I’ve totally succumbed to the Kombucha hype. Have you, too? So let’s start off with what it actually is: Kombucha is a fermented beverage consisting of black tea and sugar that’s used as a probiotic food.

The bacteria formed in the process line your digestive tract and support your immune system, as they absorb nutrients and fight infection and illness. And, since 80 percent of your immune system is located in your gut, and the digestive system is the second largest part of your neurological system this is pretty relevant, right?

I’ve started drinking a bit of Kombucha everyday now and so far, so good!

#2 Pickles and Fermented Foods

Fermentation seems to be one of THE biggest current food trends. It is no wonder that you’ll find tons of pickled vegetables or kimchi and sauerkraut on lots of restaurant menus. Do you like them?

#2 Kefir

Wow, yet ANOTHER fermented drink to add to the list! It is all the rage in the natural health community as it is high in nutrients and probiotics again and therefore incredibly beneficial for digestion and gut health. Many people even go on to say that Kefir is the healthier and more powerful version of yogurt. And I have to say, if you don’t mind the salty taste you’ll like this as an alternative to yogurt (if you want to switch things up every now and again and feel adventurous).

#3 Thai Styled Ice Cream

I’ll be honest with you, I’ve only heard or seen photos of those beautifully shaped ice creams on Instagram before but they have become hugely popular. Have you ever tried one? Is it also tasty besides looking fantastic?

#5 Milkshakes Gone CrayCray

Again, another one I’ve only seen on Instagram so far but never tasted one myself: The so called Freakfrappés or Freakshakes, you get the gist. They’re milkshakes gone C-R-A-Z-Y. I always love looking at the photos as they are so aesthetically pleasing, still I don’t know if I’d ever want to eat one, what about you?

#6 Veggies as Mains

This is a trend that I hugely support as I love vegetables. A lot of restaurants, especially around here put a lot of veggie dishes as entrées on their menus, which I love. They also get really creative when it comes to new ways of preparing them, I love it!

#7 Purple Foods

purple cauliflower

This one is similar to food trend #6 yet a bit more specific. Purple produce such as cauliflower, potatoes, corn, asparagus are becoming more mainstream, according to Whole Foods’ 2017 trends and products report! Colors of fruits and veggies indicate which nutrients they possess. So roasting up a blend of both white and purple potatoes, for example, means you’re giving your body a wider breadth of vitamins for optimal health.

#8 Alga

I present to you the ocean’s new super food: Alga. Already a staple in Asian cuisine, it starts becoming more and more popular in other parts of the world. Known for its protein, little fat and low calories they can be consumed in a multitude of different ways. Some types of alga can be used as alternative to Tagliatelle, some use it as a base for teas. Have you ever tried it?

#9 Sourdough Bread (aka the fermentation theme is back on)

In times of gluten-free diets this bread (despite being a bread) is one of the best breads for you to consume if you are “gluten sensitive”. Why is that you ask? The tradition of fermenting flour with sourdough breaks down the peptides in gluten that give people trouble. This fermentation thing seems to really be a huge deal as it provides you with lots of healthy bacteria that help balance the digestive system and manage your metabolism.

#10 Portuguese Food

Portuguese

Somehow Lisbon and Portugal in general are hugely popular here it seems so it comes as no suprise that there are lots of restaurants and cafés providing Portuguese foods. Hugely famous are of course the custard tarts, have you ever tried them? You should, they’re delicious. Or why not make them yourself this weekend, they’re not that difficult to make. Here goes a recipe you could try.

What foods have you’ve been liking this year? I’d love to know!

Cheers,

Sandra

#ChallengeMeJune Week 3: Paying a Compliment to Someone Every Day

Hello everyone,

how has this summer been treating you so far (besides being boiling hot)?

Welcome to this third report of my #ChallengeMeJune series. This time I tried to pay a compliment to someone (to people I knew or to people I didn’t know) at least once a day for one week. I have to say that Americans are pretty great at giving compliments. They will stop you on the streets to compliment you on your shoes, your scarf or your hair (they will, trust me, happened to me before). I usually give people compliments anyway but thought it was fun to be more reflective about it for a week.

Read on more about why paying compliments to someone is a great thing and why you should give it a try (in case you’re not a professional compliment giver already, in that case you’re dismissed and don’t have to read this).

Why should I pay compliments to someone you ask?

#1 It takes the focus off of you

That might sound complicated at first but hear me out. If you’re having a bad day, paying a genuine compliment to someone can make their day a little nicer, and you will feel better than before as well.

#2 It makes the person you pay a compliment perform better!

Study researchers in Tokyo trained 48 adults to perform a task that required them to tap items on a keyboard in a specific pattern. Then the adults were split into three groups. One group received personalized, individual compliments from one of the administrators of the study. Another group was forced to watch as other people received compliments. The third group was simply meant to evaluate how they did, as participants, on the test. When the participants returned to the testing facility the next day, all of the participants were asked to perform the finger test once again. The group that received personalized compliments performed better on the test that day than either of the other groups. Researchers believe that the compliments made them perform better.

The researchers were able to find scientific proof that a person performs better when they receive a social reward after completing an exercise. There seems to be scientific validity behind the message ‘praise to encourage improvement’. Complimenting someone could become an easy and effective strategy to use in the classroom and during rehabilitation (see source here).

#3 Compliments build trust

Each one of us walking this planet has the desire to be acknowledged. When someone else notices even the slightest thing about another person, it can shout to that person, “Hey!  Someone noticed me!!” Your daily compliments to “the shy one” at work whose name no one knows can help her break out of her shyness and, who knows? turn her into the best friend you’ve ever had. We all need someone in our lives we can trust, and the more we build up others the more we’re also building up ourselves.

#4 What goes around comes around

When you give a compliment, you’re more than likely going to get one in return. As simple as that! But obviously don’t go around paying compliments expecting that people must return it.

Who I payed compliments to during this week

Day 1: To a 2 week old baby of friends I’ve visited. I just said how perfect he was and how cute his hands and fingernails were. To what the new mother replied they were quite dangerous as they grew so fast and the little one would scratch himself. Still, they were cute. 

Day 2: To an old man (he was with his lovely wife, don’t you worry) at the line before checking in at the airport. We did small talk about where we were flying to. They turned out to fly to Athens to visit family. I then said that I loved Athens and the food. He seemed so happy about it and kept on telling me about all the foods he was looking forward to eat. 

Day 3: Told Philipp that he is a great human being (just in general)

Day 4: Told my grandmother that she looked really well and fresh.

Day 5: Told my pregnant friend how relaxed she seemed.

Day 6: Told a friend how good she looked.

Day 7: Told a friend how lovely her shorts were.

I obviously didn’t limit myself to only one compliment per day, the sky is the limit if you will. I was just a bit rubbish at remembering them (should have written them down but…no). Anyway, there is no such thing as too many compliments, as long as they are genuine of course. So give it a try! You will feel better and the person receiving them, WIN-WIN! 

Try it! Be nice to someone right now and see what happens.

#ChallengeMeJune Week 2: Meditating Every Day

Hello friends,

another week of June has gone by, another little completed challenge in the books. After waking up at 6 am during the first week of June (see post here) I tried to meditate every day during the second week of the month.

To begin with I always thought meditating was a bit weird (for lack of a more elegant description) as I didn’t really understand how it worked. After reading up on the topic a little I am still by NO MEANS a specialist or anything but I start to see why people like to do it. Bottom line is, it has a ton of good effects (feeling happy and focused, decreasing your blood pressure or getting to know your mind to name a few. I am aware that the last one seems strange but WOW you’ll learn so much about how your mind and brain work). If you’re into finding out more for doing it yourself, keep reading this introductory ‘How to meditate for beginners’.

How to get started

What to bring: I’d recommend you meditate at home first, as you still need to get used to it. Obviously you can do it anywhere you can sit down on a chair or on the floor, with your hands rested on your knees, but I liked to do it at home, wearing cozy clothes.

When to do it: I tried to always sit down around the same time every day, which was in the morning after waking up, obviously what fits your schedule best, will be the best option. However, I’d recommend to keep it consistent so you really have the feeling of having formed a new habit.

What to do: Well here’s where things get interesting, I tried to compile different methods of meditation in own week, you’ll find the plan below in case you want to replicate it. If you’re totally into day 1’s program, perfect, let’s keep that up. I like to vary the exercises from day to day but that is obviously optional. So let’s get stared forreal now.

Day 1 – Breathing

Let’s start with something easy, shall we? I’m not gonna lie, it was weird when I did it for the first time….BUT it will get better, trust me.

What to do: To get used to the experience of being in the present moment, begin by sitting for five minutes, close your eyes. Take deep breaths, rather than short, shallow breaths from your chest. Continue until you feel calm. Let your thoughts come and go, without trying to hold on to them or follow after them.

What I thought afterwards: Wow, that was quick, I could have keep going on for longer. So for the next day I told myself to put the timer to 8min (adventurous, right?).

Day 2 – Mantra Meditation

What to do: Choose a calming word or phrase. Repeat it over and over to yourself silently to prevent distracting thoughts from entering.

What I thought afterwards: 8min went super fast like on the day before, it’s crazy how time flies once you close your eyes.

Day 3 – Mindful Meditation

­ What to do: Take a break and make yourself acutely aware of your surroundings. Take deep breaths and feel your lungs swell. Allow yourself to think about your feelings, but do so without  judgment.

What I thought afterwards: Loved that one too, it hit me how much more you listen to your surrounding’s noises if you’re eyes are closed.

Day 4 – Safe Space Visualization

What to do: Think of a place that makes you feel safe. It can either be a place you’ve visited before, a place you’ve seen but never been to, or a place that exists only in your imagination.

Close your eyes, and start taking deeper and deeper breaths. Picture yourself in that safe space, look around you, and visualize your surroundings. How the sky looks like, how the air smells or what you feel. Build every detail in your mind. Walk around your safe space until you have explored as much of it as you want to. Continue walking until you find your perfect place—the place that makes you feel most at peace. Visualize yourself sitting here, in this place, and begin to breathe. When you’re ready to leave your safe space, slowly open your eyes and come back into the room. Hold onto those feelings of peace and safety, and know that you can revisit them whenever you need to.

What I thought afterwards: I found that one to be rather hard as it requests you to think a lot about a certain space. I guess I’ll have to do it more often in order to get better at it.

Day 5 – Concentrate On a Simple Visual Object

What to do: In a similar way to using a mantra, you can use a simple visual object to fill your mind and allow you to reach a level of deeper consciousness. This is a form of open-eye meditation, which many people find easier when they have something to focus their gaze on.

  • The visual object can be anything you wish (candles, flowers, pictures etc.)
  • Place the object at eye level, look at it and nothing else, until your peripheral vision starts to dim and the object consumes your vision.

What I thought afterwards: I found it hard in the first place to find something to look at that wouldn’t distract me too much. In the end I chose to go for a plant, which worked out fine. Still I prefer the closed-eye version to this open-eye one.

Day 6 – Do a Body Scan

What to do: Doing a body scan involves focusing on each individual body part in turn and consciously relaxing it. It is a simple meditation technique which allows you to relax the mind as you relax the body.

  • Close your eyes and pick a starting point on your body, usually the toes. Concentrate on whatever sensations you can feel in your toes, and make a conscious effort to relax any muscles. Once the toes are fully relaxed, move on to your feet and repeat the relaxation process. Continue along your body, moving upwards to the top of your head. Take as long as you want.
  • Once you have completed the relaxation of each individual body part, focus on your body as a whole and enjoy the sensation of calmness and looseness you have achieved. Focus on your breathing for several minutes before coming out of your meditation practice.

What I thought afterwards: Good one! Especially when you’re lying down on the floor.

Day 7 – Breathing

I went back to the first exercise of the week, which was the breathing one, which I really enjoyed. I just did it for 15 mins this time and it was great.

Do let me know if you give it a try yourself, have a great week everyone! 

#ChallengeMeJune Week 1: Getting Up Early Every Day

Hi everyone,

how are you doing? It’s getting summery over here, I’m loving it. Hope you’ve had the opportunity to catch some sun where you live!

So, it’s Monday. I know, I know. When brainstorming for new blog posts a couple of weeks ago I thought I’d like to challenge myself in June with a special challenge every week (#ChallengeMeJune if you will, genius hashtag I know). Anyways, the first week’s challenge was to set my alarm to 6 o’clock every day (for some that might be not early at all or totally normal already, in which case I salute you. Others will look at me like, whaaat?).  Some context here: I never used to be an early riser, really I wasn’t. I would stay up rather late, watch series, read, scroll through the internets. In the morning I’d have a hard time waking up and would keep hitting that snooze button many (many) times.

But you know what? Getting up early was amazing.

Yes. And I’d even go as far as saying that it changed my life. I’m getting a bit dramatic here, it’s true though.

Why should I do that, you ask? (or in other words, “you crazy, I ain’t gonna give up my precious sleep time“). I’m going to try and give you some good arguments here, ok?

Let’s be honest here for a minute. You can’t convince yourself to wake up early just because. If you’d like to try that challenge,  ask yourself, “What would I get if I wake up early?” Whatever you answer, make sure you really want it because that’s what will be your motivation to ACTUALLY get up in the morning. A few answers why you’d like to consider getting up early.

You’ll Get More Time (D’oh)

I read somewhere that if you were to get up just one hour earlier each morning, you’d gain 15 days in a year. How crazy is it to think about it like that. So you better want to use this time than sleep, right?

Get Active, Quiet or Creative (Whichever You Prefer) 

I found that the morning is a great time to exercise. You’re body is well rested and it will set you up for the day with energy and motivation. Overall I felt more productive getting up early this week, it made me feel calmer and happier. If you’re not into sports in the early morning hours but rather into meditation, do it! I’m going to give it a try this week. Also, if you have some tips in that department, do let me know. Others like to use this time to read the newspapers in silence, to be creative, paint or write.

You’ll feel One Step Ahead

Having that one to two extra hours in the morning will undoubtedly make you feel calm, prepared for the day and chill, when everyone else around you is rushing around. When you wake up early, you’ll have more time for planning and getting organized. Getting to the office early means no distractions and getting things done (and then hopefully leaving early in the evening).

I’d really like you to try getting up early, I think you will like it. NO, SERIOUSLY. Don’t laugh at me.

Go to bed an hour earlier so that you won’t be too tired the next morning. It may take a couple of days to adjust your body and mind to it but once you’re in it you’ll most likely not want to go back. Obviously a lie in every once in a while is GREAT (not gonna lie) but overall it’s a great new habit. Start tomorrow and let me know how it went!

Happy week!

My Summer Capsule Wardrobe And How To Make Your Own

Guys,

remember how I had talked about kind of having a capsule wardrobe in this post a few months ago?

Well, I wanted to give it a go again (forreal this time) and do my first ever summer capsule wardrobe. Before I jump in, here’s a refresher on capsule wardrobes, in case you want to read about it in more detail again. Without further ado, here comes how I did it and how you could attempt to do your own little wardrobe summer experiment!

Step 1 – Make a huge pile

What’s the classic first move of all decluttering action? Yes, taking out everything and spreading it out on the floor. Move warm sweaters and the like out of the way on a store away pile as well as trousers, “thick” jeans and flannel shirts. It will help you figure out what has to be stored away for fall and what to keep and use for your wardrobe in summer.

Step 2 – Separate tops from bottoms from shoes

It’s interesting to separate your clothes along those three categories as you will very quickly see where your priorities lie. My obsession definitely seems to be tops, while I have less bottoms and even less shoes. What about you? Which category of clothes is your favorite one?

Step 3 – Go through each category and sort out what you don’t want to keep

What helps is seeing what type of colors, patterns or materials you have lying around in your bottoms or shoes pile if you’re going through your tops pile for example. While you don’t really know what you have in your crammed closet it helps seeing it all in one pile. Seeing all my stuff on a pile made me realize that my color scheme is rather neutral, monochrome, with the odd pattern and color dash. It also made me realize which brands I tend to always turn to (in my case Cos, And other stories, Uniqlo, Zara and H&M).

Step 4 – Count your tops, bottoms and shoes

I ended up with a total of 36 pieces in my summer wardrobe including tops, jackets, bottoms, dresses, and shoes (meaning I’d get to have one extra piece, which will most probably be comfortable Birkenstock sandals, which I’m currently missing in my selection). Disclaimer: As we’ve moved here I obviously couldn’t bring all of my stuff, back home I’d have to get rid of way more stuff.

Step 5 – Plan on what you need to buy/get rid of

If you’ve got your total down you’ll most likely realize that you don’t need any new things. But if you feel like you want to replace a top/dress or shoe go for it. As mentioned below I’ll most likely invest in one new pair of comfortable every day sandals.

The Overview

Tops

18 t-shirts and shirts: As mentioned above, I seem to be a total t-shirts and shirts kind of girl. They’re so easy to wear, you can dress them up or down and they’re just comfortable. Most of my shirts are from Uniqlo as I really think the quality is very good for the price you pay. Most of those shirts are already a few years old and they are still in pretty good shape. Highly recommend! Most of my t-shirts are from Cos and H&M. Simple but good. 

2 special shirts: For lack of a better description. Those are a black top and a white silk top with a cutout in the back. Also, yes, I don’t currently own an iron. No judging here. Thanks.

2 sweaters: For the odd more fresh day in summer I have a white ripped cotton and slightly cropped sweater from Cos as well as a light grey cashmere sweater by Zara.

2 jackets: A white blazerish jacket and a more funky bomber to throw on a t-shirt or a shirt.

Bottoms

6 trousers and shorts: A mix of my trusted Wedgie Fit Jeans, a black linen trousers by And other stories, dark navy jogger pants, shorts in navy and print and a midi skirt.

3 dresses: I’ve got a casual stripy cotton dress, back home a green coppery Cos dress (see featured photo of this post) as well as a denim shirt dress by Uniqlo are waiting for me.

Shoes

3 Sneakers, silver sandals and black loafers: That’s it. I’m shocked myself to write that. But hey, it’s really not a huge deal. In fact it’s really nice having a manageable selection (#firstworldproblems).

Do let me know if you give the summer capsule wardrobe experiment a try, ok?

Have a lovely day!

Currently Loving: Zurich, Tears And Jeans

Hi friends,

How have you been? How has your month of May been?

I’ve done something a “good” blogger actually shouldn’t do, which is to leave and peace out without saying a word.

I really didn’t mean to leave you like that I just happened to enjoy myself and my time with friends and family in Zurich so much (I went for a wedding a couple a days ago) that I kind of didn’t feel like blogging. Plus, the weather was super sunny and hot while I was there, which also called for lots of swimming sessions in the lake (more on that to follow soon). Anyways, as I’ve skipped April favorites I thought I’d smush all of the things I’ve been loving lately and still currently am loving with you today.

What have you been loving lately? Do let me know in the comments below. Have a lovely week! Happy to be back!

That Zurich Summer Feeling

I’ll dedicate a full on post about Zurich soon but man have I been enjoying my few days in the good old hometown, with my beautiful friends and family, delicious bread (spent most of my money on food anyway) and sunshine. In the meantime I’ll leave you with this:

zurich

Perfume obsession

I had been eyeing up this one for months. It’s one that I kept smelling on people and that always made me go “wow, what is that smell?”. I found out in the meantime what it is. It’s the Molecule 01 by Escentric Molecules. What does it smell like? It’s complicated to describe.

escentric molecules

Molecule 01 is unlike ANYTHING you will ever wear. It is simple yet intriguing as it smells a little different on everyone. Why that is? Molecule 01 is an aroma chemical rather than a perfume that smells like sweet sandalwood/cedar-like. Also, it behaves differently than a perfume. You have to wear it to understand (as I am reading this it sounds very cryptic).

I bought it off this site here, which seriously did an amazing and fast job at delivering it within 24 hours (they’re based in Switzerland).

Natural Deodorant Love

I know I know, putting a deodorant as a favorite seems weird. Yet it’s summer soon and you know…that naughty sweat will come around eventually. I’ve been researching natural deodorants without any chemicals in them and found my favorite deodorant EVER. Seriously, have never been such a fan of a deodorant ever before. It’s this one by La Vanila.

I’m SO INTO THEM I actually look forward to using my deodorant.

lavanila_deodorant

Yes, I just wrote that. It’s the truth tho people. I’m gladly taking orders if you want some.

Best Movie I’ve seen in a long time

I sincerely apologize to the girl that was sitting next to me in that flight Boston Zurich, as I seriously was sobbing away in the dark night on the plane when watching this movie. It is the kind of story that slowly unfolds and while you’re watching it it hits you so SO hard, it was an absolute beauty of a movie. So so very sad but so well done. Wow!

Forever Harry Love

Oh dear, what an album! I’ve been listening to his new album “Harry Styles” on repeat (Philipp and our neighbors can attest). Give it a listen too, if you’re into that seventies type of soft rock style. The mix of songs is amazing, it will make you want to cry, dance and smile. My favorites are “Ever since New York”, “Sign of Times”, “Kiwi”, “Two Ghosts”, “Carolina”, “Only Angel” (ok, now I’ve just listed almost all of the songs, see how good it is?). Well done, Harry (if you’re ever reading this).

The jeans I now live in (forreals)

I present to you the jeans I’ve been wearing for the last days (weeks) without washing them in between (gross yes), because what else would I wear?!. They’re the Levis Wedgie Fit and they’re the most comfortable pair of jeans you’ve ever worn. Swear! Have a look at them here. Again, gladly taking orders if you want me to bring some to Switzerland.

Happy week!

My Favorite Cafés in Boston/Cambridge

Hi people,

It’s Friday soon and some of us need a coffee especially on a Friday morning to get things started, right?

I LOVE cafés, there’s just something about them. They are a place where you can stop and take in a moment of reflection and of course enjoy a great cup of coffee, tea as well as beautifully made and (even more importantly) deliciously tasting pastries. Oh YES.

Whether you’ll be visiting the area soon or are a local looking for inspiration, I’ve got you covered. What follows  are my favorite café spots so far (granted I haven’t seen ALL of them yet, I’m still researching. But those six have definitely won a special place in my heart, yes yes).

Have a great cup of coffee and take on that day, ok? Enjoy the weekend! I’m off to Zurich for the next 10 days and am looking forward to a wedding of a beautiful friend of mine, SO E-X-C-I-T-E-D. Hard to spell a word out when your that excited. Anyways, all the best and will talk to you next week!

Loyal Nine

Oh, I love this place. All about it. It’s concept mainly is that they use ingredients and create dishes that the settler a few (!) years back would have cooked with. I love Loyal Nine at every time of day, in the morning the café annex next to the restaurant is a lovely option with great coffee and tea as well as great and creative café food. If you want to go all out, I’d recommend you try the Brunch on the weekend (go for the bread pancakes, absolutely delicious) or dinner. Loyal Nine will not disappoint, it’s one of those restaurants where you leave with a happy belly, not feeling overeaten. The drinks are amazing, too. Can you tell that I like Loyal Nine?

Tatte Bakery

I couldn’t do a favorites list without including Tatte. It’s just…Fantastic! Friends and family who came to visit can attest, it’s a pastries heaven for anyone looking for a delicious sweet or savory breakfast. Seriously their display in the morning is just, unbelievable. They have grown quite a bit in the last time and now have various branches all over the city, definitely check them out if you ever wanted to try super delicious chocolat croissants, pecan nut roses, lemon tarts, meringue, halvas, kouign-ammans and the list goes on. They really know their stuff.

Thinking Cup

Thinking Cup seriously convinced me with their coffee in the first place. They use Stumptown Coffee (remember, that was the coffee I drank in New York that I loved so much). It’s actually seriously the best coffee I’ve ever drank, no doubt.

Longfellows

A brewery at night, a coffee shop in the daytime. I love Longfellows if I want to get a productive working morning or afternoon in. It’s a place to get good coffee and get on your laptop. There’s just this peaceful atmosphere that I love. Also, the chairs are #goals!

Pavement Coffee

I especially love the Pavement café on Newbury Street, as it is tucked away a little in the underground and you kind of have to know where it is. Nonetheless, quite a few people know about it, as it is ALWAYS full. But hey, I get it, pretty decors, chill atmosphere and good coffee. Yep, it’s a cool place.

Flour Bakery 

Hands-down the best sandwiches. If you ever feel hungry, check Flour Bakery out. The Harvard graduate Joanne Chang has opened a few branches since opening up her first one here in Harvard Square. And yeah, those sandwiches are just, wow.

What are your favorite cafés in the place you live? Have a fantastic weekend!

Going Vegan for One Week: An Experiment

Hi gang,

I’ve come up with yet another food related experiment. After 3 weeks of full on food overload (delicious though) with friends and family and many many outings to restaurants, cafés and bakeries and I thought why not try….and going vegan for one week (meaning, besides no meats to eat no dairy products).

So, what happened, you ask? I failed on day 3 (that was two weeks ago). And I must say it was mainly due to the fact that I hadn’t really prepared for it and thought I could just wing it.

Well, no.

I decided to give it another try, put a little more thought into it and went for a big shop on Sunday.

A short excursus here: We went to our regular neighborhood supermarket (still big in comparison to Swiss supermarkets) and not to Whole Foods, which I’m sure would have had more vegan options. Still, “armed” with all the salad items, vegetables, grains, oatmeal, fruit, vegan butter, vegan cheese (ewww) I felt like I could take on this week without a problem.

Still I only passed my vegan experiment by 95%? Read on more about it below!

Breakfast

Breakfast actually was the one meal I found the easiest to do throughout this whole week.

I normally eat porridge for breakfast and even when I’m not doing a vegan experiment, I use almond milk to cook it as I find it delicious and feel like it doesn’t sit too heavy in my stomach either. In short: I had either porridge with almond milk (also bought a chocolate almond milk version to spice things up a little, very delicious), dates and bananas or strawberries. I switched between the porridge and homemade acaï bowl with bananas and granola. Usually accompanied by a herbal lemon or fennel tea. Very delicious.

Lunch

Rich Salads were my go to option for lunch. However, I went to one lunch talk at MIT where I was confronted with their buffet options (grilled meats, cheese platters, … you get the picture. NOT VEGAN.). Let me just say that I was the person eating all the hummus and olives.

Snacks

I mostly ate fruit like grapes, bananas, strawberries, dates or energy and protein bars (I actually kind of developed an obsession for energy bars, more on that topic soon). And dairy-free ice cream by FOMU or Ben & Jerry’s. Other than that, nothing special to report.

Dinner

I discovered a new grain: FARRO (Dinkel for you Swiss and German readers). I love it! So I went for it and made a zucchini risotto. I tried to sprinkle a bit of vegan Mozzarella on it at the end, which I regretted. It just didn’t taste right. Other options were a delicious vegetable curry with rice, lots of chickpeas. I basically must have eaten 5 tins of chickpeas all by myself.

I don’t regret it though. I love me some chickpeas.

Why I Failed

I failed twice to be exact.

AND it was other people’s fault (of course, no but really).

Let me explain. The two times I could actually not keep up the vegan promise (if you want to call it that) was when I was involved in social situations with other people. On Friday for instance, we had a boardgames and pizza evening with our international Harvard friends. I even tried to research vegan pizzas in Cambridge before going out. But a few clicks in, made it clear that the next vegan pizzeria was way too far away, I gave up. I know I know. I just didn’t want to be the special one who had to order a pizza especially made for her.

Second time I gave in was at a baby shower on Sunday. I just wanted to taste some of that beautiful cake, I mean, do you understand what I mean? Weak me. 

Conclusion

I really do admire vegans, as I now understand how much preparation and discipline it must take to really go through with it. Obviously every vegan reading this will shake their heads at my weak (or non existing) discipline.

Could I be a vegan? I consider myself a flexible vegetarian, meaning that I will mostly eat vegetarian 90% of the time, with the odd exceptions of a good and organic piece of meat, cordon bleu or a bit of bacon at breakfast every once in a while. I find that it is way more easy to upkeep a vegetarian lifestyle as you still are allowed to eat honey, eggs, yoghurt and cheese. Foods that I simply love.

The milk and the butter I find rather easy to substitute, while it seems impossible to me to find a good substitute for cheese. I did try a coconutmilk yoghurt but didn’t like it too much. And eggs every once in a while are nice to have for breakfast. This has become more of a ramble than a structured text now.

All to finish off by saying that I find it very important to eat a balanced diet including everything there is (even though I am mostly leaving out meats and fish), while I of course respect everyone’s decision on how to eat the way they want to. I totally understand all of the reasons behind going vegan and again, I admire the determination. Still, I don’t think it’s for me.

Are you vegan or trying to be? Could you picture yourself being one? I’d love to hear your comments below!