Wednesday, March 21, 2018

11 Things I am Loving Right Now

Behold, 11 things I am loving at the moment, and think/hope that might be something(s) that strike your fancy and/or interest as well!

1.  These pancakes.  Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes, made with coconut flour and thus, are gluten/grain free, as well as very low in sugar.  These babies are light, fluffy, subtly sweet and SO delish.  Super easy to make, get excited.  These may just become your routine weekend brunching favorite...

You can find the recipe here.

2.  Anne Lamott.  One of my favorite authors, not necesarrily for the content she writes (though much of what she writes is awe inspiring, moving, and just generally awesome) but moreso, for her prose.  Her writing style is lyrical, metaphorical, witty, and resonating.  I absolutely love it.  She writes about themes universal to almost all people.  Loss, heartbreak, grief, forgiveness, love, and more.  Myself having found this book to be generally poignant and powerful, as well as discovering inspiration and much of what she talks about to be applicable to my own life and experiences, I feel certain that a majority of readers would feel the same.

I am currently in the midst of reading this one and absolutely love and am riveted by it.  Finding her insights to be moving and resonating.  I highly recommend this book.

Already read this one months ago, and was wowed.  Combination memoir and part how-to on writing.  Really great read, I will most certainly be reading it again at some point.  Highly recommend this one as well.  Her prose, again, is excellent.

3.  I LOVE these rings.  Raw stone rings, if you will.  Somehow managing to be elegant, beautiful and eye catching, while unique, slightly rugged, and a bit rustic.

4.  Granite State Candy in Concord, NH.  This sweet shop = childhood for me (as well as, an explosion of all things decadent and delicious of course).  The smell inside this place?  Theres nothing like it anywhere else.  Like a minty milk chocolate, perpetually permeating the air.  I love this.  I wish I could bottle it.  They also make some of the best candy I have ever sampled in my travels over the years.

Want to try it yourself?  Here is the link to their shop, to check them out in further depth.

(Note: the photos below were taken from one of my trips there earlier this you can see ;-))

5.  This book has, quite literally, changed much (though certainly not all) about the way I have been thinking about love until now.  And in just the last 24 hours.  Majorly mind blown over here, people.  The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm.  As an avid reader, I would say that for me personally, maybe 1 out of every 50 or so books ends up being a game changer (aka, one that shifts my way of thinking about something major in life).  This is one of those books.

A few passages from within:

"People today, especially in Westernized culture, are starved for love.  They watch endless films about happy and unhappy love stories, they listen to hundreds of trashy songs about love- and yet hardly anyone thinks that there is anything that needs to be learned about love.  One of the main problems here is that most people see the problem of love primarily as that of being loved, rather than that of loving."

"Closely related to our problems often finding as well as maintaining love is another feature characteristic of contemporary culture. Our whole culture is based on the appetite for buying.  On the idea of a mutually favorable exchange.  Modern mans happiness consists in the thrill of looking in shop windows, and in buying all that he can afford to.  He (or she) looks at people in a similar way.  For a man, an attractive girl.  And for a woman, an attractive man.  These are the prizes they are after.  "Attractive" usually means a nice package of qualities which are popular and sought after on the personality market.  People are ever looking for the "best available object" on the market."

"The third error leading to an assumption that there is nothing to be learned about love lies in the confusion between the initial experience of "falling" in love and the permanent state of being in love, or as we might better say, of "standing" in love."

"The first step to take is to become aware that love is an art, just as living is an art.  If we want to learn how to love, we must proceed in the same way we have to proceed if we want to learn any other art.  Say, music, painting, carpentry, or the art of medicine or engineering.  How can one learn this, as well as any art?  Two steps. One, mastery of the theory, and two, practice."

And.  Last one that's especially thought provoking:

"One of the most significant expressions of love, and especially of marriage with the alienated structure that much of our society exudes nowadays, is the idea of the "team."  In any number of articles on happy marriage, the ideal described is that of the smoothly functioning team.  This description is not too different from the idea of a smoothly functioning employee; he/she should be "reasonably independent," "cooperative, tolerant, and at the same time, ambitious and aggressive."  Thus, the marriage counselor tells us, the husband should "understand" his wife, and be helpful.  He should comment favorably on her new dress, and on a tasty dish.  She in turn, should understand when he comes home tired and disgruntled.  She should listen attentively when he talks about his business troubles, should not be angry but understanding when he forgets her birthday.  All this kind of relationship amounts to is the well-oiled relationship between two persons, who ultimately remain strangers all their lives, who never arrive at a truly "central" relationship but instead, who treat one another with courtesy and who attempt to make each other feel better.  This is very often mistaken for love and intimacy, when it isn't really either."

Real, deep love, experienced thus, is instead, a constant challenge.  It is not a resting place, but a moving, growing, working together.  Even whether there is harmony or conflict, joy or sadness, is secondary to the fundamental fact that two people experience themselves from the essence of their existence.  That they are one with each other by being one with themselves- rather than hiding from, sweeping under the rug, or fleeing from themselves.

There is only one proof for the presence of love: the depth of the relationship, and the aliveness and strength in each person concerned.  This is the fruit by which love is recognized."

Whoa.  Poignant, thought provoking, deep, really good stuff.  Makes ya think.  Or if not, it should.

6.  88 Acres Granola Bars.  Man, oh, man, I cannot even tell you how good these are.  I was shocked upon tasting one.  Oatey, lightly sweet, almost cakey in texture, so delish.  These are absolutely my favorite granola/snack bar on the market right now, out of all that Ive sampled.  And over the years, Ive tried many. 

I highly recommend either the three berry flavor or the chocolate & sea salt.  YUM!

Check out their products here.

7.  Rustic but cozy, charming homes/rooms/apartments.  I love how inviting all of these are.  The warmth and coziness they exude.  Though the last one is sort of loft/factory esque and more trendy (one of these things is not quite like the others ;-)), still, I love the look and feel to all of these places <3

8.  Great quotes.  Yes, its true that many quotes are either: untrue, fluffy, misleading, illogical, or just downright silly.  However, there is also a reason that quotes are such an oft loved thing.  Because a good quote can stay with you for years.  A good quote has the power to inspire, to shift someone's way of thinking.  A good quote can buoy one in times of challenge, can shift ones emotions for the better

A few of the quotes I am especially loving right now:

9. Airbnb and the AWESOME, way cool, totally unique places you can find on there that are 1. affordable and 2. just a hop, skip, and a jump away from you! 

To give a few examples, just the other day, I was taking a gander in New Hampshire for kicks.  I found, no joke, a treehouse, a red caboose boxcar, a mountaintop cottage with sweeping views of the White Mountains, a school bus, a tiny cozy cottage, and a genuine log cabin.  All up for grabs to stay in for the night (or, as many nights as you so choose).  And further more, none of the ones I just listed clocking in over $150 per night.  In fact, the majority of them are $100 or less.

See below for two actual Airbnbs in New Hampshire that I just mentioned in the list above.  Awesome, eh?  Essentially a staycation if you live close to NH, but in a completely different type of locale.

10.  Europe.  Or more accurately, a euro trip ;-).  Yes, I'm feeling a fair level of hankering and nostalgia for my recent former home of the last 4 years.  Sometime in the next year certainly, I want to get back, and for a good chunk of time (at least 2 weeks as the one trip, ideally a bit more). 

Would love to visit Scotland again, return to Amsterdam, check out parts of Portugal I haven't yet seen, as well as parts of Italy I haven't ventured to as of now.  And of course, return to Frankfurt to see the handful of close friends residing there whom I love and miss deeply.

Some of my own pictures just below of Edinburgh, Scotland.  I love the haunting, mysterious, dark feel to it.  Absolutely one of my favorite European cities, to which I am dying to return.

To read in depth, the details of my prior trip/experience in Edinburgh (recommendations included), you can check out this blog post (part one of the trip), as well as this second one (part two), and finally, part three of the trip.

And, a few of my own photos from Amsterdam.  I was totally taken by the fairytale charm and beauty of this canal city (one of the only ones in the world, aside from Venice).  I just loved it here- very magical and romantic, serene, winding and lovely.  Cannot wait to return here sometime in the near future.

To read in depth and see loads of photos from my first ever trip to Amsterdam (as well as find some great recommendations), you can read this blog entry (part one), as well as this second one (part two of the trip).

And then, the Algarve in Portugal.  Haven't been here.  Am dying to go.

As well as, I would love to return to Rome in Italy...check out Bologna...Positano on the Amalfi Coast....and Sicily.

Rome (my favorite part of Rome actually- Piazza Navona.  Ate dinner in this very square several times...its magic).




11. Marsys Law in New Hampshire.  Did you know that New Hampshire is 1 of only 15 states in the US with no constitutional rights in place for victims of crime!?  Craziness.  That, as it stands now, the accused typically have more rights than the victims. 

Under Marsys Law, this would change.  No rights would be taken away from or diminished for the defendant.  Merely, the victim would have the same rights as the accused.  Simply, a leveling of the playing field.  Making sure that both the victim and the accused have the same level of rights, the same support, and both have a meaningful voice in the criminal justice system.

To read more in depth about Marsys Law, and how you can help change history, here is the link to Marsys Law main page.

This is a page of Frequently Asked Questions, with regards to what Marsys Law is and more.

And finally, a page where you can sign a petition in support of Marsys Law.  Please, take 2 minutes and do so.  You will be helping make a huge difference in the lives of others.