Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Summer Bucket List!!

With summer just around the corner, I can feel the very beginnings of excitement and anticipation coming on. To me, despite being well into the stage of "grown up," summer still holds feelings of endless days, balmy romantic nights, new possibilities, a bit of warm magic, a sense of feeling carefree, while more adventure and openness seems to tingle in the air.

In my happily-looking-forward-towards-sunny-days state, I've begun to make lists of some of the great things I'd like experience/do/eat during the limited warm months we will have ;-) (my fellow new- englanders can relate haha). I'm really looking forward to the approaching season as you can see :-D so, here is the list. Maybe it will inspire some of you or get you feeling geared up for your own fantastic summer!

Drinks and appetizers at outdoor cafes often! (Europe is cafe culture central, so I hit the jackpot in terms of location for this particular activity).

Drinks at a rooftop bar with a stellar view.

Ice cream!!! Ideally eaten when strolling by the Main river, on a beach or down some charming European avenue. But really, ice cream eaten anywhere on warm days gets a thumbs up.

Cooking delicious food!!! I'll shoot to try one new recipe per week :-)  (a few that are on my list...)

Caramelized onion, goat cheese and balsamic pizza. Mmmmmm.

Homemade salsa!

Blackened fish tacos.

Sandwiches stuffed with eggplant, prosciutto, pesto, fresh mozzarella and sun dried tomatoes.

And on the list of foods to cook, I want to try my hand at baking a fruit pie. Oh yeah :-) I'm thinking strawberry or blueberry.

The big 3-0!!! Yes, I'll be turning 30 years of age this July! Boo yeah!!

Very likely weekend trip to Berlin for said 30th birthday....!!

Lots of reading outdoors in the sun.

I already have a summer reading list in the works...maybe I'll post this at some point ;-)
(I'm currently reading The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and WHOA. Best book I've read in a year. Hands down. Enthralling, completely captivating, riveting and quite dark. A showstopper).

Hopefully some beach action and swimming too!

Picnics of course.

Taking German language class!!! Finally.

Play laser tag, and mini golf. Both great fun.

Bicycle riding, at least a few times. Though it'll be on borrowed bikes as I don't have my own.

Mini holiday (around 4 days) with one of my BFFs sometime in late August or early September. Destination still being discussed, though the most likely candidate is looking like Budapest, Hungary.

Trying out some more new restaurants/bars/cafes throughout Frankfurt.

Hiking somewhere!

Would LOVE to ride a rollercoaster. Its been far too long.

Grill some kind of food. Mmmmmm.

What is on everyone's summer bucket list?? I'd always love to hear fun ideas and possible further inspiration!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Why we should embrace (instead of running from) emotional challenges

I find that a vast majority of people (though of course not all) tend to run from situations they find emotionally challenging.  Whether this emotional challenge might be fear inducing, or uncertainty, or simply stress over the unknown, or maybe even something painful for the time being.  As a pattern I have observed in others, its that they tend to run from these things much more often rather then facing them.

I think this is unfortunate because I would offer the thought that this causes people to miss out on a lot.  Things that, if they were willing to push through the difficult emotions, would likely have them emerging on the other side of the challenge, for the better.

Here are the reasons why I would urge others to, the next time they are faced with an emotional challenge, face it instead of taking the easier way out:

1. Do the opposite of what most people do.  People hate to be scared, or uncomfortable, or uncertain.  That is why we settle in relationships that do not fulfill us deeply, its why we stay in dead end jobs, its why we keep underwhelming or sometimes even crappy friends, its why we sometimes remain bored and uninspired.  Its why we often find ourselves doing the same thing day, after day, after day.  All because people hate to be afraid, uncomfortable or uncertain.  So instead of facing these difficult and challenging things, people often prefer to take the easier way out and just not face them.  We stick with all of this because its easier.  Less scary, less risky, less pain to have to move through.  This is what a lot of people do.  It often leads to a fairly mundane and less-then-fully-fulfilling life. Do the opposite.

2.  Because often times, doing the harder, or scarier, or more initially painful thing, leads to far more rewarding results and ultimately a more colorful and deeply satisfying life.  Examples: working your ass off for a few years for the career you want instead of settling for one that's ok but leaves you totally bored.  Making the big leap and going on the adventure even though it scares you initially but will probably ultimately thrill you and leave you with amazing stories and memories.  Going for the great love instead of settling for the good enough one.  Putting in the effort to exercise so you feel good and have the body you like.  Taking the time and effort to listen to those you love, because yes, this takes some work and effort but it will reward you with much closer and deeper relationships.

3.  This can also lead to deeper and more enriching relationships in the long run.  In relationships as well, it seems that much of the time, we run in the face of challenge, confusion or pain.  We prefer easier, though not necessarily more deeply satisfying.  I cannot tell you how often I hear things like:  a persons friend hurting their feelings so they drop the friend like a hot potato.  Or a person talking about feeling challenges in their relationship for a few weeks so they leave it.  Or a family member with whom a person gets into a petty dispute with and then to whom they do not speak with for years because of it.  Or two people whose romantic relationship ended but who otherwise have a deep friendship, connection and good thing yet they choose to cease contact and go their separate ways permanently (when, with a bit of time, they probably could have been deep and rare friends).

If, instead of running from these challenging relational moments/shifts, we instead faced them, addressed them and decided to put in the effort to work through them, I suspect in the long run we would end up with much deeper and worthwhile relationships.  More lifelong, fulfilling and close connections, and a happier relational life with others.

4.  Embracing fear and challenge is character solidifying.  Its self esteem building and makes one stronger.  When you think to yourself, "I am not strong enough for this," or "this is just too scary," or "too stressful," but then you do it anyway, face it down, work through it and come out the other side, this tends to result in feelings of: self confidence, surprise as your strength, bravery and resilience.  As well as further life satisfaction and happiness.

5.  You garner more respect, not only from others but feeling it within yourself.  When you surprise yourself and surpass your own thoughts of what you are capable of, you feel more self respect.  People around you also tend to be impressed and think more highly of you.  When you do the unexpected, take the more challenging path, face things head on, etc.  Ultimately, this makes you a bad ass    ;-)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Love, in all it´s complexities.

What is love?  How might each of you describe this complex emotion?  This is something I began giving a lot of thought to and suddenly found my pen flying off the paper.  I realized I actually had a lot to say on the subject.

Love has hundreds of facets and dimensions to it, making this a nearly impossible thing to fully explain or pinpoint with a simple explanation.  To me, love is found in not only the large gestures but even more so in the smaller nuanced things between two people.  Love is a compilation of moments throughout the span of our relationship with that person.

The beginnings of possible love can be found in the fluttering of your stomach upon the initial hours together spent building on the connection you already feel.  Love can be glimpsed in all its possibility within that first kiss that isn't just a kiss, but also a moment that causes a deep physical and emotional movement inside of you.

Love can be seen growing in the favorites and preferences one begins to store away in their memory banks about the one they are falling for.  His favorite dish is salmon, his favorite type of candy.  Her favorite sweet is strawberry shortcake, her favorite tea is Jasmine.  Love is giving interest and time towards getting to know the people they are closest to.

Love is waking up early and making their eggs just the way they like them.  Or him spending hours of an afternoon patiently in search of the perfect shoes with her.  Or her putting in hours to create a scrapbook of all their memories together.  Love is the swell of happiness you feel when hearing them sigh sweetly in their sleep, or the warmth of their head on your chest.

Love becomes clear when how they look at you changes.  The shift is subtle but there.  The way they begin to touch you more protectively and tenderly.  The warmth and affection visible in their eyes as they look at you, coupled with the sweet knowing smile playing on their lips.

Love is the hand squeeze that´s a secret symbol for something more.  The personal, endearing and laughter-evoking nicknames you unearth for each other along the way.

Love is the act of focusing, listening and choosing to be present and interested.  Even when sometimes this is challenging.  Love is the conversation that continues hours into the night, even when you are exhausted.  Its all the conversations you've had, built up like a multi-layered cake of stories.

Love is the Christmas gift you painstakingly researched online in the hopes that it will take their breath away.  Love is a sweet or heartfelt handwritten card, note, poem or letter.  Its gifts and sentiments that reflect their unique personality and passions, as well as your feelings for them.

Love is being curious about their story.  Their past, who they are right now, and what they will become and grow into.  Love is always finding new things to discover about this person. 

Love is turning towards someone, instead of turning away.  Love is seeing those traits about them first hand that irk the crap out of you, yet still reveling in their company.  Love isn't just being there when its convenient or easy, but about being there when its not.  Love is about choosing to confront and push through emotional challenges.  

Love gives priority to maintaining the relationship and connection.  Its meeting their eyes across the room at a party and feeling comforted and happy to be with this person.  Like you are sharing your own sweet, special secret in that moment when your eyes lock across the room.  Love is the joy and relaxation you feel with them under the suns warmth while lounging together at the beach.  Or cuddled together under the cozy blankets during winter time.

Love is sharing your soul with another person.  Love is someone sharing their soul with you.  Love doesn't judge or condemn.  Love doesn't posses or suffocate.  Love is loyal.  Love is fun.  Love is laughter.  Love is giving.  Love is patience.  Love is open.  Love is compromise.  

It´s the surge of emotion stirring in your stomach, the tingling in your limbs as you see them walking towards you after not having seen them for a while.  Love is excitement.  Love is comfort.  Its feeling safe in their arms and in their presence.  Love is seeing all of someone, but focusing on all that you treasure about them.

Love is choosing to run towards someone instead of away.  Yet, love also understands when someone needs space.  

Love is a certain type of kiss.  You can feel the difference behind their lips when love is present.

Love is longing for someone long after they've gone.  Its the ache you feel within your chest when you miss the sound of their laugh, or the warm weight of their hug.  Love can be feeling helpless, like it may not work out, while also being unable to fathom a life without them in it.  Love refuses to fathom this.

Love is hope.  Love searches for loopholes.

Love is overwhelming.  It evokes the full spectrum of the strongest emotions known to man.  Anger,  Jealousy.  Elation.  Thrill.  Romance.  Devastation.  Desire.  Heartbreak.  Regret.  Fear.  Comfort.  Warmth.  Understanding.  Joy.  Love encompasses the whole gamete of human feeling.

Love is when your story becomes the lyrics of the songs to which you listen.  Its everyone who makes you look twice because they wear the same type of jacket, or have the same style of hair as the one you love.

Love is making plans and discussing dreams.

Its adventure and wonder.  Love is feeling inspired and moved.  Its feeling scared and doing it anyway.  Its cherishing everything this person has to tell you.  Love is wondering about them before you fall asleep.  Its the slideshow movie of all the memories and emotions you have together stored away in the memory box of your heart.

Love is having reasons to hate someone and yet, you feel the opposite.  You choose the opposite.  Love is complicated.  Its messy and its complex.  Love is being deeply, soul-shatteringly hurt by someone and yet, still feeling unconditional love towards them.

Love is brave.  Love is thoughtful.  Love stumbles and it can fall.  Love challenges and stretches you.  Love forgives.  Love is kind.  Love is growth.

Love is life changing.  Its unforgettable.  It leaves a permanent imprint on your heart.  Love is not something you forget.  Its something you want to remember.  Love stands out, with power and color and sweetness, against the backdrop of the rest of your life.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Konigstein and Kronberg, two stunning German towns.

Wow.  These two towns were gorgeous.  But especially Kronberg.  Not only was it old, charming and gorgeous, but it had a close communal feeling, a welcoming and warm feel to it.  I would totally live here ;-) I fell in love with this city a little bit.

Now at the top of my list for German cities: Kronberg and Rothenberg.

And here are the photos...


The castle in Konigstein.

Views from the Castle...

The windy staircase up to the top of the castle...!

And now onto Kronberg (my favorite)...

Look at how cool the carvings, colors and artwork is on those pillars!!!

LOVE the front steps along with the house itself :-)

The castle in Kronberg.

Castle in Kronberg.  Reminds me a bit of Edward Scissorhands house...in the Tim Burton movie ;-)

View from the castle.  You can see Frankfurt way off in the misty distance (on the left side)!!!

Dream neighborhood.  Love this, wow.

Gorgeous.  Loving this architecture.

Great cafe location to stop for a drink and cake :-) so we did.

This is a house.  INSANE.

How charming and cute are these homes???

LOVE this view.

Dream home ;-)

Love this little alleyway/intimate neighborhood area.

View from our seat while eating cake and drinking tea.