Sunday, January 29, 2017

Weekly Wanderings in Frankfurt

Hi all,

I haven't done one of these in a while.  The photos taken from the top of my cell phone album (aka the most recent photos) of where I have been going, what I've been chowing down on, been up to, and the like ;-)

Happy Sunday evening and wanderings to you all!

Raclette party :-D lots of fun!

I've been here before... ;-).  Nostalgia.

Need this book in my life <3  ;-p

Another snowy day on my street.  NO snow in three years.  And now like 4 snowfalls in the past 1.5 month!!!  :-D

Love my street.  All the charming, Germanic, timberwork houses.

YUMMY brunch!  Sampled a new spot with some favorite friends :-)

The next four photos are the views out some of my classrooms in school over the past two years.  I don't know why but I just love these views.  It looks like something out of a fairy tale to me.  Something about the roofs, the chimneys, the trees and the snow.

Finally sampled Glauberg Cafes brunch the other day with Dali!! :-D delicious breakfast.

Sunday afternoon of open faced tuna melt, green tea and lots of writing <3

LOVE this photo Jenn sent me of sweet baby Buggy.  I miss this little guy so much.  This photo is 100% classic Bug.  SUCH a nut.

Pluuuuuuus, some most recent edible creations of mine...

The most recent recipe...Matcha French Toast.  YUM!!

To check out more mouthwatering food photos, plus get all these recipes, go to Sweet. Raw. Free.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Want to have AWESOME, fulfilling relationships with others?

The Art of Connecting with Others

Would you like to have outstanding, fulfilling relationships?  Both friendship and romantic?  I would imagine most peoples answer to that question would be a resounding yes!  I certainly find this to be one of the most important and fulfilling aspects of life, having deep connections with several people to whom I am close.  It makes such a monumental difference in life satisfaction and happiness.

The following suggestions, when put into practice, will help immensely.  It took me until my late twenties to figure these out, and I still actively work on them.  However, in putting these ideas into action, I have never been happier with my relationships/social life than I am now so I can tell you personally, it is absolutely worth the time and effort.   

You too will notice a marked difference in your relationships with others in following these suggestions....(which I amassed from books, articles I have read over the years, and my own personal experiences). 

1.  Become a GREAT listener.  This is #1 for a reason.  You cannot and will not be truly connecting deeply with another person unless you learn to do this.  And trust me, you aren't as good of a listener as you think you are.  The vast majority of people think they are good at this, and I can tell you both from experience and from the piles of non-fiction and psychology based reading I do that in fact, the majority of people are quite bad at it.

If you are thinking of how you will respond as someone is speaking to you, then you aren't listening.

If you are talking or commenting over them as they speak, you aren't listening. 

If you are forming opinions and thoughts as they talk, you aren't listening. 

If you are itching for the other person to stop speaking so you can jump in and say your piece, you are not listening.

Get the idea?

Legit listening takes work and focus.  It takes conscious effort and practice.  It means simply taking in what is being said.  Being fully present.  Being mindful of and engaged in the emotional experience, words and message your speaking partner is trying to convey.  It means attempting to inhabit their emotional state.  True listening is hard work, but its well worth the effort.  And because most people suck at this, if you become skilled in this arena, you have already set yourself well ahead of the pack.

For an article on the Huffington Post about how to be a great listener, go here.

A last note on this point.  No one can be a standout listener 100% of the time.  It isn't realistic, even for the best of us.  But if you can shoot for 75-80% of the time, you will still be a far better listener than most ;-) and you will notice connections in your life beginning to deepen as a result.

2.  Be willing to be vulnerable and open up.  Yes, this sometimes means revealing private, personal or deep things/emotions within or about yourself.  You cannot only be a great listener but never share anything of yourself  This is a one sided connection and relationship, which makes it false.
Dont get me wrong, its important to choose carefully whom we do this with.  Many people, even though we may like them, are not great choices to confide in.  But when you do chose carefully and right?  The feeling of revealing yourself and finding that you are still loved is a truly priceless and life changing one.  And it will absolutely serve as a way to deepen your connections with those people.

3.  To get love, you must give it.  This one took me a long time to learn.  The more desperate you are for love, the more you will silently repel and drive it away.  Only when genuinely content and fulfilled within yourself and when you begin giving love away, both in action and in emotion, will it come back to you in abundance.
(Side note: giving love for the sake of receiving it back?  This is falsely intention-ed love and will continue to backfire.  This kind of love is coming from a hole inside of you that you are trying to fill, from a desperate place of need.
You must instead give love purely for the sake of giving it.  Simply because you yourself are happy and overflowing.  Then it will come back to you).

4.  Off point #3, Expressing affection and friendship. This can be anything from loving words to a sentimental card given "just because", to a surprise visit, to offering a helping hand when your friend is moving or in some other need, to being a great listener, to dropping them a line to tell them they are in your thoughts.  The list goes on.

Show your great friends what they mean to you.  Invest in them.  Put in effort in both word and action.  This will deepen your relationships without question.

5.  Be an open minded, non judgemental, safe harbor to whom your friends can come.  If your friends and loved ones know they can confide in you, free of blame, condemnation and opinionated judgment, they will feel closer to you.  They will choose you to confide in (which is an AWESOME feeling).  All of this will invite deeper connection.  If they know they will be heard and loved, you will never have a shortage of close friends.

6.  On the same coin as point #5 though, being non judgmental and loving does NOT mean you never offer your own insights.  To truly love someone means risking the relationship by offering the truth when you see or hear something concerning.  You are willing to risk their being upset with you because you care about them too deeply to look away and say nothing.  When you see your friend or loved one getting in their own way or venturing down a path that has potential to lead to harm, true friends say something.  Not out of self righteousness, but out of caring and love.

7.  Connecting deeply with others requires getting out of your own head.  For most people, one of their favorite topics and primary concerns is anything related to themselves.  This is partially human nature.  However more often than not through, all of us are deeply wrapped up in the topic of "us" and "me."  Our own feelings, our own problems and how we feel.
In order to deeply connect with others, you must step outside and away from this self centeredness.

8.  Shared experiences.  Deep relationships are built both through talking and secondly, through time spent together and shared memories.  The more fun and varied moments you have with someone, this is another factor that goes towards deepening the relationship.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Top Notch Brunch Spots

Hi all,

As many of you have probably gathered by now, I am especially enthusiastic about the first meal of the day.  Breakfast is, to put it simply, the bomb.  Eggs, pancakes, hash browns, french toast, bacon, Greek yogurt topped with honey and berries, my god.  I could eat a variation of this meal every day.  Cue mouth to begin watering.  There is something so luxurious and satisfying about a big breakfast at the start of your day.

For more on where these photos came from...check out my other site.  You will find all of these recipes (my own creations and photos), and then some on there!  Sweet. Raw. Free.

With that said, I thought I would offer up a list of the most mouthwatering brunch spots I have discovered here in Frankfurt thus far (as well as a couple of others in different cities thrown in for good measure ;-)).

1.  Yours Australian Bar.  There are two of these in Frankfurt.  Head to the one at Hauptwache for the largest interior space, as well as the most varied spread.  This is hands down one of the best breakfast buffets I have ever eaten at in my life.  This is a "must venture to" place if you love breakfast even 1/4th as much as I do ;-)

2.  Cafe Albatross.  This sweet little spot is situated in Bockenheim.  While the interior is pretty no frills, the buffet on Sunday mornings is solid.  They offer a variety of breaded options.  Croissants, rolls, and crepes.  Eggs, sausage, even cheese spetzel is on offering (for those of you who are American, this would essentially be macaroni and cheese ;-)).  There are fruits and vegetable platters in colorful arrays, as well as a smattering of desserts.

3.  Jesse James.  The atmosphere of this place, as you probably guessed by the name, is rather slick.  Dimly lit, "too cool," with a side of funk thrown in.  I was stunned by how expansive the buffet selection was.  They even had a make-your-own burger bar.  The rice pudding was bomb, as well as a whipped sweet cream topped with museli served in little glass jars.  Vegetable salads, eggs, bacon and the works are available.

4.  Cafe Crumble.  This is one of my all-time favorites in Frankfurt.  My go-to spot for writing Christmas cards.  The fruit crumble is definitly their stand out dish.  There are always a variety of homemade cakes on offering.

To read and see more on this cafe, here is my review.

5.  Glauburg Cafe.  The atmosphere of this one is cozy and inviting, with exposed brick walls, hanging chandaliers and comfy seating.  While this is the only spot on the list that I have not actually sampled the breakfast, I have been told by multiple sources that its fabulous.

6.  Gingko.  First off, Gingko has AMAZING food, breakfast or otherwise.  Some of the best food I have sampled in Frankfurt actually.  The vegetarian burger is INCREDIBLE.  The sweet potato skillet with goat cheese was bomb.  Their scrambled eggs are always perfect.  The sandwiches here are excellent.  I have had a couple risottos here that were delectable.  You get the idea.  You cannot go wrong with anything here.  If you havent eaten at Gingko yet, run, do not walk here, the next chance you get.   

7.  Iimori.  Another favorite.  I love their shabby chic interior.  The green tea torte is amazing.  Creamy, lightly sweet, with a shortbread crust.  The tiny teapots their tea is served up in are so sweet.  Brunch here on Sundays is impressive.  Classy and upscale.  They even offer Matcha cinnamon rolls- a treat that is high up on my "still must try" list ;-)

8.  Oinotheke.  I came here once for brunch and was impressed.  The selection was healthy, rustic and delicious.  The room felt like being seated in your grandfathers stately library.  Cozy but with a touch of swank.

9.  Cafe Maingold.  Another classic in Frankfurt.  The food here is always excellent.  I especially love their quiche.  The interior feels like a grandmothers worn, old time, subtley glam living room. 

10.  Cafe Karin.  This is a sweet spot.  The atmosphere is wooded, slightly worn and inviting.  It feels like a cafe where one would hunker down with a great read and easily while away half an afternoon.  They have a special tea time offering, a three tiered platter with finger sandwiches, tiny sweets and more. 

11.  Cake Kante.  This place is known for their breaded goods.  Pretzels, croissants, quiches and the like.  The atmosphere leaves a bit to be desired.  To me, it feels a tad like an old diningroom, dingy and worn.  However, the cakes and breaded goods more than make up for it.  The patio is a nice one during the summer months.

12. The Paramount, Boston.  This spot is no frills and totally tasty.  I went once and was impressed.  The inside is cramped and cozy, a perfect winter retreat from the snowy chill of outdoors, the winter wonderland of the Commons just a stones throw away.  Here they serve up heaping plates of pancakes, eggs, delicious pastas and stacked sandwiches.  The street this restaurant is situated on is worthy of a wandering in and of itself.  Charles Street, one of the most famous in all of Boston.

Charles Street.

13. Roamers, Berlin.  This place is HANDS DOWN my own personal favorite brunch spot.  Everything, from the rustic, So-Co, reminiscent of a greenhouse or California ranch atmosphere, to the absolutely gorgeous food, beautiful and rustic.  I love. this. place.  I dream of this place.  I have been three times.  Damn them for not having a location in Frankfurt ;-) I would go every single weekend.

To read and see more food porn in relation to this fantastic eatery, check out my review of the restaurant.