Sunday, June 28, 2015

Fun in the happenin city of Frankfurt!

Fun in the city over the past week....

First stop.....

Louisiana.  A lively bar with a unique atmosphere.  They have an extensive menu here of food, drinks and desserts.  A great place to sit outside during the summer.  Its also situated directly next to a HUGE movie theater where they play both German and English movies.  (I am going to see Jurassic World here tomorrow, June 29!!!  SO excited to see this.  Jurassic Park to me, says childhood nostalgia ;-)).  
Anyway, I have really enjoyed going to Louisiana a couple times in the last few weeks!  Its always a sweet time!

Good Times for Good People.  Currently one of my favorite bars that I have happened upon in Frankfurt thus far.  The inside is cozy, dim, sultry and different.  The drinks here are expensive (my one gripe), but the music is great, the place is always filled with people, inside as well as spilling outside onto the patio.  This is a happening place for a drink on the weekend :-D  I have had lots of fun going here with one of my close friends a number of times this summer.

Photo by Brooke :-) reading at Cafe Hauptwache...

Cafe Hauptwache.  This is a great cafe situated smack dab in the middle of the city.  Fun Fact: this cafe actually used to be a jail!  A few especially notorious criminals were housed here.  Now its a trendy and happening cafe, popular, largely frequented in at most hours of the day.  I like going here lately to read or write while drinking a tea and having some cake.  Its a great place to be among people, as well as do some people watching.

Photo by Brooke :-D

Photo by Brooke :-)

Sugar Mama.  LOVE this cafe.  Its possibly my favorite one in Frankfurt at the moment.  Super charming, a mishmash of furniture, inviting atmosphere, slightly shabby chic.  The cakes here are excellent, as are the cookies and brownies.  I have yet to try the actual food here but it looks delicious and home cooked.  This cafe is also another happening spot in the city.  I just spent my Sunday afternoon here writing and enjoying a brownie and tea :-) great.

Photo by Brooke :-) Mmmmmmmmm

Falafel burger!!!  SO delectable.

Die Kuh Die Lacht.  This is a very decent burger place.  I would hesitate to call it "great" but its close.  However, what they do have that's great is their falafel burger, oh man, yummy.  That is what I have in my hand above.  They do have an extensive burger menu here though, and people really seem to like this restaurant, so I would recommend it.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Top 13 from the past couple weeks.

Hi All,

I present to you literally the most very recent 13 photos off of my cell phone camera.  I will offer no explanations, just the visuals.  That is part of the fun! ;-p  


(Note: they are not in chronological order).

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Possibly the MOST EXCITING news of the year!!!!!!!!!!!

Hi All,

BIG news.

This news will be especially poignant to my friends and family who are back in the USA.  Soooo....


My airfare to the USA is BOOKED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  

My official travel dates are as follows:

I depart from Frankfurt on December 23 at 10:50am my time.  I arrive in Boston, MA on that same day at 6:05pm, Boston time.

I fly back to Germany on Saturday, January 2.  My flight departs from Boston, MA at 6:30pm that day to head back to Europe.  I arrive back in Germany the next morning (Sunday, the 3rd) at 10am.

That means I will be visiting all of you wonderful people, whom I am already counting down the days until I see, for a total of 10 days!!!!!!

Its less then I hoped.  Originally I wanted to come sometime in October for 2 weeks total.  But that is the other exciting news.  I have a new job, at one of the top schools here in Frankfurt actually!  The school is called PHORMS and I start that job on August 24.  So, another woo hoo is in order!!  The one slight drawback to this job is that we cannot select when we take our vacations.  We must take them during the time when the school is closed.

That means we have holidays for 1 week in October, 1.5 week in December, 1 week in March and then about 5 weeks in the summer :-D  (the offset to the minor drawback of not being able to choose when we get time off is the addition time off from work that we get, as opposed to my last job.  One of the many things I love about living in Europe).

So my choices were either, come in December for a bit less time, or wait a whole additional year until next summer.  I decided forget the waiting, its already been way, way too long.  So, I snagged my ticket.  This is why I had to make my trip slightly shorter in duration though, and change it from October to December.  But, I will be there.  As I said, the ticket is booked.  Time to PARTY!!!!!!!!

I have already begun excitedly making lists of the foods I want to eat while there, items I need to buy to bring back to Europe with me and the people I must see!

On my list of must-eat foods, here is what I am coveting as of now (though I am sure I will think of a number of other things within the next few months).
(Note: I am basing this list off of a previous blog entry, My Favorite Boston Eats, however while I certainly really like all of these places, they do not all make the cut for "must eat at places"):

Places I must eat at include...

Pizza from Galleria Umberto.  SO incredibly delicious.

An Unos deep dish pizza.  I know its a chain, but its still one of the best pizzas I have ever had.  The crust is thick, flaky and buttery.  The sauce is tangy, flavorful and chunky (I know, I hate that word too, but in this one instance, it signifies deliciousness).  And the cheese is stringy and YUM.

Burgers from Boston Burger Co.  These are still some of the very best burgers I have ever eaten in my life.

Burgers from Mr. Bartleys Burger Cottage.  These come in as a close runner up, for another excellent burger.  This restaurant also holds a few nostalgic memories for me... :-D

The Danish Pastry House.  Not only did I work here but the pastries and cakes are AMAZING!!!  I plan to have a field day putting together an entire box of deliciousness to take home with me that evening.  Oh yeah.

La Carreta (though specifically the nachos).  This place also holds a lot of nostalgia for me as well.  Though the nachos are to die for.

Black Tie Cheesecake from The Olive Garden.  This remains, still, one of my favorite desserts of all time.

Crema in Harvard Square.  I will have a certain date with a special someone here :-) as this was "our place" to meet, eat tasty food and have great conversations.  Lots of fun topics, juicy confessions and heart-to-hearts took place here.

Possibly Rudy's in Somerville (Mexican food).  The nachos and the monstrous combination plates here are the BOMB.  Superb Mexican food.

There you have it.  As of now, those are the establishments that are hot on my radar for chowing down.  And yes, some major chowing down action is going to occur.

Oh my gosh, I really cannot wait to see everyone.  This is SO incredibly exciting.  The countdown begins....!!!!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Escape for the your own backyard!

Why not welcome summer with a page-turning read while lying in the summer sun??

I dont know about everyone else, but there is not much that I love more then curling up with a great book.  Location isn't as important as the book itself.  Though all ideal reading locations would include: the beach, in the park on a blanket, sitting outside at a cafe, curled up on ones couch inside during a snowy or rainy day.  And I would say that summer offers us more inviting reading locales ;-)

Summer time is a great time to read, with all the options for places to read outside in the warmth of the sun.  Below, I have compiled a list of what is on my own summer to-read list.  I hope you might find some books on there that will interest you too!  Or that you might be able to pass along to a friend whom you know would be interested in a particular one.

(PS. If you have any interest in purchasing one of the books below to read, because my description made it sound especially enticing ;-), please click on the photo of the book!  This will direct you to to purchase the book and I will receive a slight cut from the purchase of the book.  I like to think of this as my very minor compensation for having recommended you an awesome summer escape!  Thank you very much.)

  Any person who regularly reads my blog knows by now that this is one of my very favorite books ever.  After reading it once while on vacation in Portugal in a captivated state of awe, I would highly, highly recommend it.  This book is a mind-blowing, fantastic story.  The writing is some of the best I personally have ever read (I LOVE her writing style.  Its poetic, visual, dark, metaphoric), the characters are fascinating and the story is unforgettable.

 Another one of my favorites.  This story is about Francie Nolan and her time growing up in the slums outside of Williamsburg.  The writing in this one, like The Goldfinch, is also incredible.  At times, the story is heartbreaking.  But its also inspiring and triumphant.  There are many human lessons to be gleaned from this book.  Much of human experience (more so in the form of challenges, but also in the form of wonder and beauty) can be found in this story.

 I have to admit, I did not read her first book, Eat, Prey, Love.  This is her follow-up to that.  At the end of Eat, Prey, Love, after the crumbling of her marriage and having taken off to travel through Italy, India and Bali, Elizabeth meets and falls in love with Felipe.  Neither of these two believe in marriage, having both survived emotionally wrecking divorces themselves.  However, Liz as an American citizen and Felipe as an Australian citizen, discover that in order to be together, in one place over the long term, they must in fact tie the knot.  Elizabeth is skeptical and has major reservations about this.  So she embarks on the long journey of researching marriage in general.  The history of marriage, marriage in connection to women, how marriage benefits men more so than women (that's an actual scientific statistic!), what tends to make marriages work out vs. fail, how infatuation affects our relationships and marriages, etc.

I am currently reading this and am really enjoying it.  Elizabeth writes in a personal, easy-to-read, witty manner.  And the topic matter is really fascinating and thought-provoking.  This book will cause you to really think about your relationships and examine your relationship choices more in-depth.

 This is a story about a one night stand gone very wrong.  In this suspense thriller, Mia leaves the town bar with an enigmatic stranger, which turns out to be the biggest mistake of her life.  She is immediately abducted by this seemingly sexy stranger, who clearly turns out to be anything but.  What follows is gripping thriller.

 Surely many of your have seen this one sitting on the bestseller shelves for a long time now.  The plot line goes like so:  Rachel takes the commuter train every morning, the same route, to work.  Every day, she glides past the same home where she sees a perfect looking couple having breakfast out on their deck together.  Shes even nicknamed them, "Jess and Jason," feeling as though she knows them.  Then, on her usual commute one morning, she sees something shocking.  Its only one minute until the train resumes driving.  Now everything's changed.  Unable to keep quiet, Rachel goes to the police and becomes entwined in everything that happens next.  Another great suspense thriller.

 This book has apparently been on the bestseller list for years.  So naturally, I have to read it.  The story is about a sweet couple, Tom, a lighthouse keeper, and his bold, loving wife, Isabel.  Years into their marriage, after miscarriages and a stillborn, there is heartbreak and thus, strain in their relationship.  Then one night, a boat washes up onshore carrying a dead man and a living infant.  Tom wants to report the find right away, but Isabel insisted the baby is a "gift from God" and wants to keep it.  when the baby is two years old, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland with their child, only to find that their choice to keep her will devastate one of them.

     The year is 1729 and Resolute and her siblings are captured by a band of pirates, taken from their family in Jamaica, and brought to the New World.  Resolute and her sister are sold into slavery.  Heart wrenching and brilliantly written.

 A classic of course.  This book was originally published in the late 1800s.  Treasure Island is a tale noted for its atmosphere, characters and action.  Combined with the fact that its a classic, as well as my love of the movie Hook, I think this is a must-read.

 I thought said it best:  Anyone who lived through the 1980s may find it impossible—inconceivable, even—to equate The Princess Bride with anything other than the sweet, celluloid romance of Westley and Buttercup, but the film is only a fraction of the ingenious storytelling you'll find in these pages. Rich in character and satire, the novel is set in 1941 and framed cleverly as an “abridged” retelling of a centuries-old tale set in the fabled country of Florin that's home to “Beasts of all natures and descriptions. Pain. Death. Brave men. Coward men. Strongest men. Chases. Escapes. Lies. Truths. Passions.”

 This book has been likened to Forest Gump.  After a long and eventful life, Allan ends up in a nursing home, believing that will be his end destination for life at this point.  However upon turning 100, he decides to celebrate.  He climbs out the windows in his slippers, stumbles upon a suitcase filled with drug money, and adventure ensues.

 This is a love story between two people, one deaf and the other disabled.  The story is said to be a page turner, a wonderful one.

 This is non-fiction, falling into the self help genre.  This specific book is for those who are looking to be less reactive and more calmly thoughtful, when finding themselves in emotionally challenging situations.  This teaches us to react to situations with love rather than with fear or anger (peoples usual reactions to difficult things).

 Another book in the non-fiction, self help genre.  This book will help give one the insight and tools to deal with difficult life situations, in terms of acceptance and openness.

 And finally, one more book in the self help genre.  This book is about the three different attachment styles (anxious, avoidant and secure), none of which are "bad" or "wrong."  This book tells one how to best connection with their partner depending on which style their partner has.  It also teaches the reader how to ask for what they need, and how to work through challenges, in relation to their own attachment style.

 I believe summarizes this one best: An award-winning memoir and instant New York Times bestseller that goes far beyond its riveting medical mystery, Brain on Fire is the powerful account of one woman’s struggle to recapture her identity.

When twenty-four-year-old Susannah Cahalan woke up alone in a hospital room, strapped to her bed and unable to move or speak, she had no memory of how she’d gotten there. Days earlier, she had been on the threshold of a new, adult life: at the beginning of her first serious relationship and a promising career at a major New York newspaper. Now she was labeled violent, psychotic, a flight risk. What happened?

In a swift and breathtaking narrative, Susannah tells the astonishing true story of her descent into madness, her family’s inspiring faith in her, and the lifesaving diagnosis that nearly didn’t happen. “A fascinating look at the disease that . . . could have cost this vibrant, vital young woman her life” (People), Brain on Fire is an unforgettable exploration of memory and identity, faith and love, and a profoundly compelling tale of survival and perseverance that is destined to become a classic.

 This story is about a couple, childless and adrift in Alaska.  Sadly they now are drifting apart from one another.  Yet, in a special moment together, they build a small child out of snow.  The next morning, the snow child is gone.  But they glimpse a small blonde girl running through the trees.  They learn that she is a child of the woods, and come to love her as their own.  But what they eventually learn about this little girl will transform them all.

 This is supposed to be a gripping read.  Erik Larson—author of #1 bestseller In the Garden of Beasts—intertwines the true tale of the 1893 World's Fair and the cunning serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims to their death. Combining meticulous research with nail-biting storytelling, Erik Larson has crafted a narrative with all the wonder of newly discovered history and the thrills of the best fiction.

 This book sounds fascinating.  I think summarizes it best though:  Revised and updated, this fifteenth anniversary edition of A Return to Modesty reignites Wendy Shalit’s controversial claim that we have lost our respect for an essential virtue: modesty.

When A Return to Modesty was first published in 1999, its argument launched a worldwide discussion about the possibility of innocence and romantic idealism. Wendy Shalit was the first to systematically critique the “hook-up” scene and outline the harms of making sexuality so public.

Today, with social media increasingly blurring the line between public and private life, and with child exploitation on the rise, the concept of modesty is more relevant than ever. Updated with a new preface that addresses the unique problems facing society now, A Return to Modesty shows why “the lost virtue” of modesty is not a hang-up that we should set out to cure, but rather a wonderful instinct to be celebrated.

A Return to Modesty is a deeply personal account as well as a fascinating intellectual exploration into everything from seventeenth-century manners to the 1948 tune “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” Beholden neither to social conservatives nor to feminists, Shalit reminds us that modesty is not prudery, but a natural instinct—and one that may be able to save us from ourselves.

 This is about how the pervasiveness of sex in today's media wrecks havoc on young people.

 The extraordinary #1 New York Times bestseller that is now a major motion picture, Markus Zusak's unforgettable story is about the ability of books to feed the soul.

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement. 

In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak, author of I Am the Messenger, has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.