Posts tagged wildlife

Come With Me to Lake Tahoe and Yosemite Valley

Hi friends,

time to look back on one last part of our Californian honeymoon in today’s post. I’ve sadly lost some of the photos of our stay Lake Tahoe and Yosemite Valley but here’s the one’s I had made with my phone. Have a great day!

Staying in an awesome tree house in Oakhurst, near Yosemite Park.
Things learnt during our roadtrip #1 Hammocks = Instant relaxation guaranteed.

Things learned our roadtrip #2 EVERY coffee shop has merch on sale.
Pancakes for breakfast. Because priorities.
Our cute cabin at Camp Richardson on Lake Tahoe
Our cabin
Doing part of the Pacific Crest Trail was on my bucket list. Glad we did it!

The Ugly Christmas Sweater Phenomenon

Hello friends,

the holiday season is officially here, holiday parties and gatherings are upon us. What to wear?

What I’ve found out to be really interesting when reading through work holiday party invitations or just by talking to other people around me is that dress codes suggesting wearing something with a holiday flair are quite common. But what does holiday flair exactly mean?

I asked a few Americans (who I figured should know) about what it meant. I heard everything from it being a color scheme containing red, green or silver and gold shades. Or that it meant to simply wear ugly Christmas sweaters.

I might be totally mistaken but I feel like Christmas sweaters aren’t as huge of a thing in continental Europe like they are here in the US (besides Mark Darcy rocking them in the Bridget Jones’ films of course. This man can wear everything and still look sophisticated). But I wanted to know more, where do those ugly Christmas sweaters come from, what’s their story?

Where do Christmas sweaters come from?

Christmas-themed sweaters were first produced on a grand scale in the 1950s, when the Christmas holiday was becoming increasingly commercialized. It wasn’t until the 1980s that the Christmas sweater gained mainstream adoration. This trend has steadily moved upward and as of 2010, ugly Christmas sweaters are once again highly fashionable.

Image via FPG / Getty Images

But why do they have to be ugly?

That’s a difficult one. Doing some research on it online won’t really bring forward a clear response but two arguments seem to keep resurfacing: Nostalgia and an obsession people have with fashion. 

Firstly, ugly Christmas sweaters seem to have that vintage Christmas appeal that reminds us of the days when Christmas meant going to bed early so Santa could bring those presents. Secondly, the ridiculous designs quite likely break every known law of fashion–and that’s the point. To liberate yourself from all fashion conventions is a good thing, so why not? Wear your ugly Christmas sweaters with pride;-) Also, if you want to wear a nice and NOT an ugly sweater it is absolutely fine. YOU DO YOU. 

If you feel like you need a Christmas sweater know, find a bit o inspiration down below to get you started (the ones shown below are all still available on amazon if you fell in love with one specifically):

Do you like to wear Christmas sweaters for the holiday season? If so, what is your favorite one? Let us know in the comments below. Have a great holiday season!

Big Sur And Big Seals

Friends,

how are you doing today? I’m coming to you with a roadtrip report today, this time covering beautiful Big Sur. It’s really a special scenery that I enjoyed very much.

What I found even more amazing were the wild seals just lying in the sand. There were SO SO MANY of them. Loved them! Don’t they look like they’re having the time of their lives? Just chilling on the beach. All day. Every day. 

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!

 

A Bike Ride To A Not So Normal Pond

Hi people,

yesterday summer temperatures hit Boston and Cambridge so I thought it’d be the perfect opportunity to bring my bike out for a ride. I chose Waldon Pond (Concord, Massachusetts) as my destination. 29,2 miles (aka 46,9 km).

In short: I sweat a lot.

But it was definitely worth it. It’s so nice to know that within a few minutes I get to see so many nice little towns and nature. So, a few words about Waldon Pond. As it is not your regular pond. Why you ask?

Let’s start with a few points on Transcendentalism (as Wikipedia tells us)

What it is: It’s a philosophical movement that developed in the late 1820s in the eastern part of the United States. It arose as a reaction against the general state of intellectualism and spirituality. A core belief of transcendentalism is in the inherent goodness of people and nature. Adherents believe that society and its institutions have corrupted the purity of the individual, and they have faith that people are at their best when truly “self-reliant” and independent.

An experiment on self-reliance

Hentry David Thoreau, a transcendentalist of the time, published a book named Walden where he reflects on simple living in natural surroundings. In order to fully live a simple life, be independent and self-reliant, he built a cabin near Waldon Pond and lived in it for a bit over two years on his own. The work is part personal declaration of independence, social experiment, voyage of spiritual discovery, satire, and (to some degree) manual for self-reliance. Interesting, isn’t it? Could you picture yourself living in a cabin all alone for two years?

The paranormal pond if you will

 The Bike Ride (and mostly pretty houses)

A Day In Providence (Serious Doughnut Testing Included)

Hi folks,

my dear friends visited two weeks ago and after a couple of days spent in Boston we thought it’d be interesting to leave the state and go discover other places. One of them was Providence, RI.

Easy to reach via train or car from Boston, Providence is the capital of the smallest State of the United States and makes for a nice day trip destination. Home to the renowned creative institution that is the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD for the insiders) and the ivy league school Brown University with its beautiful historic campus, the place boasts with young and creative people.

Last but not least, there’s an amazing A-M-A-Z-I-N-G doughnut place, in case you’re interested in things like that.

Let the photo show commence. Happy Wednesday friends!

Doughnut heaven

Every good day starts with a substantial breakfast, at least in my books. So we went to the one and only option when in Providence, to Knead Doughnuts. They make three different types of doughnut dough. And OH. MY. All of them are very delicious. Try them!

Pretending to be a student at Brown University…

..unfortunately Emma Watson isn’t a student there anymore though. I would have liked to talk with her about the casting choices of the prince in Beauty and The Beast.

Major artsy cool kids alert

All those artsy and cool people at the RISD, too cool for school.

Overall, we’ve had a very nice day and were blessed with beautiful weather (really a blessing, if you live here you’ll know what I mean). What are your favorite day trip destinations where you live?

Happy Wednesday!

8 (Realistic) Healthy Habit Hacks You Can Try Today

Hi guys

Hope you are doing well! We’re still talking about self-care until the end of the week. And today we’re talking about specific (and most importantly not too unrealistic habits) you can implement into your daily routines. Some seem really obvious and I see you going like “come on Sandra, be a little more creative than that”. But as with lots of things, it’s often the small things that make a difference. Be sure to share your healthy habits down below in the comments so we can learn more. Have a great day!

Don’t eat straight out of a package

This is a very dangerous one that I often don’t think about. It’s easy to just get out a package of pita chips or a box of ice cream (don’t judge)  to eat while watching Netflix, but ooohhh is it bad (because I eat the whole package easily). Instead I put a certain amount in a nice bowl and will a) eat more mindfully b) enjoy it more and c) maybeeee fill up the bowl several times?

Keep a secret snacks stash at work

It is essential to have a drawer with snacks in reach that can help you out when your lunch gets cancelled for some reason or you’re super stressed out. I am of course not talking about a sweets snacks drawer but thinking more about nuts, dates, dried or fresh fruit. To make things a little more “fun” you could share your “secret” drawer with a fellow coworker that also fills it up with little healthy surprises every now and then. I wish I had done that earlier, because the multiple times I got hungry at work, not fun.

Chew, chew, chew! 

This might sound weird but a very dear friend of mine (hola Laureta!) is a doctor (so she knows her stuff) and she always inspires me to chew my food more and not just devour it in one sitting. I try to chew the food 24 times (don’t ask me why, this number kind of stuck with me, I’m not even sure if she told me that).  Apparently it is better for your digestion, you enjoy and appreciate your food more (because you eat longer, haha) and you ingest less air while eating, which will make you feel less bloated. Win, right? 

Make drinking water fun

It’s a boring but important one. Drinking water is so good for your body, it helps with everything. So if you’re not already an avid water drinker fill up a bottle of water every morning and try infusing it with freshly cut lemons, cucumber or basil for example to give it a more interesting flavor that will make you actually reach out for it more. Also, it’s pretty to look at, which is a bonus in my books.

Meal prep on Sunday for the upcoming week

Salads are a good one to prepare ahead. Just chop all the vegetables up, store them in the fridge and take them out when you need them, all ready on the day you want to eat them or take to work. Pre-cook protein or grains (such as lentils, couscous or the infamous quinoa), and make a portion of your favorite dressing to use all week. Assembling will take no time at all.

You don’t have time to exercise today, try interval training! 

I know you’re busy today but you actually don’t need more than 20 minutes to get a great workout. In fact, short bursts of HIT workouts can even be more effective. So hop on the treadmill, do some sprints, and enjoy the post-workout energy boost (read more about my favorite HIT videos to do at home in this post).

Walk that body! 

The average job requires sitting in front of a computer for the majority of the day. Add that to sitting down for dinner and driving or taking the train to work, and that means you’re sitting for 70 percent of an average workday. Sneak in some exercise by running errands on foot, taking the stairs, parking farther away from your destination, or getting off the subway a stop before you actually need to. All those extra steps add up!

Love your to do lists

They’re your friend, not your enemy. At least I think so. Write all your tasks of the day down and prioritize them. It will help you stay on top of things and feel good about it. Ticking them off afterwards will feel even better.

50 Things That Make Me Happy

Hi everyone

I’ve inspired myself (haha) with yesterday’s post and suddenly felt the urge to write down 50 things that make me happy (sometimes such things do happen). I found that just the simple act of thinking about things that make you happy, writing them down and reading through the list once you’re done will make you smile. FORREAL! (Or maybe I am weird?! No, it’s really nice).  Try it for yourself, you’ll see how it will make you feel happy realizing how many things, be they little or small, make you feel good in life.

my family

philipp (he’s a funny one, makes me laugh ALL THE TIME)

all of my talented, beautiful, funny, smart and thoughtful friends

sleeping in a bed with freshly washed sheets for the first time

the taste of real (and) good food and eating it

 eating unhealthily (heyo you donuts, cakes, cookies, waffles and chocolate, i’m talking about you)

spending a rainy day inside all cuddled up on the sofa and being lazy AF (i’m talking when getting up to the bathroom ends up being a major accomplishment)

looking at and admiring the shapes and colors of all flowers and plants (there might be no plant I don’t find pretty)

doing yoga

listening to the stories of my grandparents

enjoying a good glass of wine and watching netflix (in this exact combination)

reading a really really good book (the ‘you don’t want to put aside’ kind of book, they’re a rare breed)

watching a really really good movie that makes me laugh/cry/think really hard

riding a bike when it’s nice outside

watching live performances (be it musicians, artists, actors etc.). it always makes me so happy seeing other people perform their arts with passion

doing a picnic in a park (on a picnic blanket, that is an essential. without that less happy points)

learning a new language and getting excited about the fact that you can start reading (and mostly understanding) the articles of a cool Dutch online magazine (cool)

genuine people that never expect anything in return (they’re the ones that deserve everything though)

the smell of things that come out of an oven (pizza, bread, cakes, cookies… a lot of good things come out of an oven i realize now)

exercising

buying delicious bread at a bakery (going into a bakery generally makes me very content, it’s a good place)

going for a hike on a sunny day and feeling connected with nature (yes that’s a thing)

(strongly connected to the above and equally as important) sitting on the ground and eating a lunch (that you’ve been carrying around in your backpack for the last couple hours) outdoors. It’s an accomplishment!

the smell of freshly cut grass

listening to music that gets you in a really good and productive mood

drinking cider (O-B-S-E-S-S-E-D)

doing skype sessions with my friends and seeing their faces on the screen

the sound of waves crashing at a beach (being at the beach is generally a good thing)

all baby animals (of course they’re nice and fantastic as grown-ups too but you know what I mean, right?)

good quality ice cream

Horchata

trying out new restaurants and bars

winter (a little less than the others, especially the boston edition of winter)

cleaning the apartment (maybe less the cleaning itself but the result afterwards. remember i’m an old lady at heart)

visiting a farmer’s market and seeing the people behind the produce you buy

intelligently funny people

people who laugh loudly (especially when they laugh at their own jokes)

catching up on youtube (don’t judge, it’s called escapism people, it’s something i’ve learned at uni)

sleeping in

travelling the world and discovering new places (extra fun challenge: going to a country where you don’t speak the language, makes it all the more interesting and great an experience)

planning travels (equally as great)

summer and the sun in general

autumn

spring

waking up early if I have to and feeling good about it

looking at old photos

going to Austria and Spain and feeling like it’s a bit like home

seeing all my friends together, getting along well

drinking tea out of a nice mug

getting voice messages on whats app (even though I am really bad at them, I LOVE hearing messages that people send me!)

awww I just read the list again (hope there are no typos) and it makes me happy. i might have (surely) written this post more for myself than for you, sorry about that. i hope it will inspire you to write your own little list.

Why Self-Care Is The Best Care

When was the last time you took care of yourself? Be honest.

You have a ton of things going on at work and your calendar is packed with tasks and deadlines.

I feel you. Been there, done that.

To try and make it all work, you think it’s a good idea to start skipping lunch and eating at your desk, stop going to the gym, and forgetting about your friends and family. When we’re stressed, self-care is usually the first thing that has to go. It’s easy it seems. And that actually only makes things worse. Why? We’ll find out in a second.

Even though I am using it myself, I think that the word self-care has been thrown around as a buzzword lately when it essentially (in my opinion at least) only means the act of doing something that benefits your well-being. It’s the constant repetition of habits, which together make you happy and be at your emotional and physical best.

If it’s that obvious a thing, why do we sometimes forget to take care of ourselves?

It’s easy to neglect taking care of ourselves because when we’re busy and overwhelmed. In our culture, hard work and endless to-do lists are valued high for some reason. When balancing school, uni, homework, work, and a social life, adding self-care to our list can seem like another time-consuming task. When we neglect self-care, however, we run the risk of experiencing high levels of stress and exhaustion, making it more difficult for us to complete everyday tasks.

Morale of the story: Self-care is important in helping us be healthy and happy individuals.

How to practice self-care

Maybe you’re already a pro a taking care of yourself. In that case I say: YAY, GOOD FOR YOU!

If you feel like you didn’t do the best job in that department, do not worry, I’ve got good news for you: There is no wrong way to practice self-care. Because the only right way to do it is the one that feels right to you.

If you find it difficult to maintain a practice of self-care, try blocking off a specific time for it and incorporate those habits (be they big or small, long or short) into your everyday life. Now the fun part begins: Think what you can do to take care of yourself and challenge yourself to do something for you every day, ok?

Some ideas to get you started:

  • Don’t skip breakfast and prepare something delicious today or go grab your favorite pastry at the bakery on your way to work.
  • Use your way to work to also look out for five beautiful things, moments, encounters.
  • Set yourself the challenge of drinking enough water this day (you can also flavor it with fruit or cucumber to make it more interesting).
  • Take a walk during your lunch break or go for a run, regardless of the weather situation. The fresh air will do you good. 
  • Have a date with yourself today: Spend an hour alone doing something that you enjoy (visiting a museum exhibit, go to a café, read a magazine in the sun, go for a walk around town, do something creative).
  • Get yourself fresh flowers
  • Bake something (maybe one of these absolute, even kind of healthyish beauts?)
  • Plan a weekend trip with your best friends 
  • Have a relaxing bath in the evening
  • (while watching your favorite shows maybe?)
  • (while having a face mask on maybe?)
  • Express gratitude (it’s a good one…more on that tomorrow on this space, don’t miss it peeps!)

Be sure to share your #ThisIsHowWeSelfCare (total bad English, never mind, it’s one that’s not taken yet, let’s conquer it!) moment with me on Instagram if you do something so we can inspire each other!

Have a great week!

Trying American Candy And Instantly Regretting It

Hello lovely people

After all the no sugar talk I decided to totally say YES to sugar today. I would generally consider myself a person that values fresh, nutritious and whole foods a great deal.

But.

Sometimes you need to eat that candy, am I right?

So what did I do? I went to a regular supermarket, stood in front of the candies aisle for quite some time (there are a LOT of things to choose from) and got five items that I didn’t know*.

Starburst

Starburst

What the brand says: Starburst candies are packed with a variety of great tasting fruit flavors and a deliciously chewy texture, to be enjoyed anytime and anywhere.

What I say: It’s basically the American version of Sugus. Every European reader will know what I mean. Nothing spectacular.

Starburst

Ingredients Check: As terrifying as you’d expect ingredients in colored candy pretending to be fruit to be. No further comment. Still, I ate SO many, can’t explain why. Just did.

Junior Mints

Junior Mints

What the brand says: When your sweet tooth demands both the rich taste of dark chocolate and the cool, fresh flavor of peppermint, there’s no need to choose: reach for Junior Mints.

What I say: I had to try it as it is a candy that has been produced in a plant here in Cambridge since 1993. Other than that, it’s not THE worst. I hope Philipp will eat it though.

Junior Mints

Ingredients Check: Nothing unexpected. What surprises me though (not in a funny way) is that it has been produced with Genetic Engineering. I suppose it’s the corn of the corn syrup. Ahhhhh.

Whoppers

Whopper

What the brand says: Malted milk balls covered in chocolate.

What I say: It’s basically the American version of Maltesers. Just less good. I really don’t know what it is but it all tastes so much sweeter or put in other words: The chocolate here is disgusting.

Whoppers

Ingredients Check: SO MUCH SUGAR.

Sour Patch

Sour Patch

What the brand says: “Sour. Sweet. Gone.”

What I say: That slogan is totally true. For some weird reason I love them. Don’t judge. 

Sourpatch

Ingredients Check: YELLOW 6, RED 40, YELLOW 5, BLUE 1. Just to name a few.

Milk Duds

Milk Duds

What the brand says: A delicious blend of smooth milk chocolate and chewy caramel.

What I say: It’s so sugary. I know, why does that suprise me, it’s candy. Yet I feel like the caramel doesn’t taste like caramel it’s just cheap cheap SUGAR.

Milk Duds

Ingredients Check: Let’s not go into that.

Dear American readers or anyone else knowing American candy better than I do, let me know if you have any recommendations! I’d also love to know what your favorite candy is?

Have a sweet day (haha)!

*Note to self: I should just have gone for the good and VERY VERY delicious classics such s M&Ms (I am seriously addicted) or for Reese’s Peanut thingys and should NOT have tried weird new things. Oh well, I’ll book it under supermarket fails.

Let’s look at trees together. You in?

I am not even going to try and sell this post to you. It’s the worst some will say. Might be true actually. Best case scenario: It might have a relaxing effect on you. Let’s see.

I was feeling adventurous and went to the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University a few weeks ago (before the big snow) to explore and…well…ended up looking at trees. A lot of them. In winter. I realize now that it might not have been the best idea I’ve ever had, I’ll admit that. But aren’t trees just fascinating? They’re old and big and majestic, each of them is different. Their little and big branches like art installations. They haven’t moved in years. Interesting, isn’t it?

Hope you’ll enjoy this virtual winter walk around the place! Maybe this post inspires you to go out and take a walk, also fine with me. 

The Conifer Path (aka the only trees that look good in wintertime) 

The occasional pop of color 

The sad tree photo collection (because no leaves)