Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Years Eve invites a signifigant wander down Memory Lane....

Happy New Years Eve, Everyone!!!!

What special things will you do to celebration tonight, and with whom?

I know most everyone is into the New Years celebration which revolves around the drinks, food and friends that will unquestionably be the focal point of the evening.  People also tend to look toward the next year and begin pondering the things they might like to do differently.  Goals or accomplishments they hope to reach.  Things they long to do.  The type of person that, this year, they will finally become.

What about the awesome things you have already done though?  What about who you are, right at this very moment?  What about the amazing places you have seen this year?  The close friendships you have made?  The leaps and strides you were able to make that, when you think about those for a few quiet moments, give you a rush of joy and pride?

These are important things to consider as well.  We don't actually have any promise of the future.  That is never a guarantee, as we don't know what will happen to us next.  And the past is already gone, done, cannot be tampered with or changed.  All we have is right now.  So instead of focusing on what you are going to change and how things are going to be better, what about also reflecting on all the awesomeness that has been your life thus far?  How lucky you have been?  The things that, if given the chance, you would never want to change?

What things have you done in the past year that were majorly awesome additions to your life?

Happy New Year!!!!

December, 2015/January, 2016
One year ago, I was with these fabulous people back in the US.  This was my first visit home in over two years, having been long overdue.  I was able to spend time with my brother, Spencer, my sister, Lexie, my mom and a number of my closest, most loved friends.  This was an outstanding visit.  I loved every minute of it, all of which concluded far too quickly.

My siblings <3

Sarah, one of my BFFs.  Her wedding last December <3

Brother and Sister <3

Awesome dinner :-D back in Boston

Blast from the past at Danish Pastry Shop.  God, did I miss that place.  Heaven.

My Moms <3

Favorite Christmas cookies ever.  My mom has made these almost every year since I was a child.

Christmas dinner back in New Hampshire.

Next three photos are the downtown area of Concord, New Hampshire.  Where I grew up!!! :-D

Galleria Umberto with Alex.  Some of the BEST pizza in all of Boston.

Newbury Street.



Cupcakes, cocktails and girl talk.  That about covers the necessities for an awesome evening.

Crema with Jenn!!!!!  Our old haunt ;-)

My sweet baby, Bug <3 I missed this little guy, big time.

Spent my last New Years eve with Momaroo :-D lots of fun.

Next three photos are Beacon Hill in Boston, my favorite part of the city.

I love these two :-D

February, 2016.  This month, I was shown around Limburg for the first time.  I spent a long weekend in Berlin with a friend from Boston, which gave me a significant amount of time to really explore the city which I didn't have the last time I visited.  PS. while in Berlin, I had the immense pleasure of discovering one of the most fabulous brunch spots of my life, Roamers.  I still dream about the French Toast from this place.  Stellar.

March, 2016: my mom came over to visit for 2.5 weeks and we had the ADVENTURE of a lifetime.  She took me to Zermatt, Switzerland (one of the spots at the top of my bucket list, and a place I was sure I would never actually get the chance to visit within my lifetime), Barcelona, Spain and Lisbon, Portugal.  We had a BLAST.  Zermatt, as anticipated, was my favorite.  Talk about the ultimate cozy, alpine, magical winter wonderland.

Lunch at my favorite cafe in Frankfurt, Sugar Mama :-D

I took my mom on a day trip to Heidelberg in between our other awesome travels.

Zipping off to Switzerland.  I was nearly trembling with excitement for this particular destination.

Most AWESOME (aka, scenic, twisting and turning as we wound our way into the center of the alps) train ride of my life, without a doubt.

More views during our train ride to Zermatt...

There she is, the world-famous Matterhorn.  I was awoken (by my mom actually) at about 7am and jumped up to run through the empty streets of Zermatt in my pajamas, my winter coat thrown on over the top, to get this photo.

The restaurant we stopped to have lunch at during our day of skiing the Swiss Alps. The views?  No big deal, right? ;-p

Yup, that would be the trails we were skiing.  THAT was our foreground view.

This was the view from the rooftop of our Air BnB place!!!!  Its ok I suppose... ;-p

This restaurant, along with this smoothie, was phenomenal.

Almost like a melting candle...

Reminded me a bit of a Boston street actually, but with a Spanish twist ;-)

And now, onto the final leg of all the travels together, Lisbon.  Mom and I agreed, we ate AWESOME food in Portugal.

April, 2016: Two of my closest friends from Boston came to visit, Alex and Dan!!!  This was a whirlwind visit, very short but super sweet.  We had a blast!!!  Spent a day wandering Frankfurt and then took a day trip to Heidelberg.

May, 2016: Adventures in Amsterdam with Travis AND Amira (the second one, an unexpected surprise as Amira, another very close friend of mine, was in Amsterdam that same weekend with her boyfriend, Alex.  The four of us met for dinner.  This was a total blast).

Travis and I also ventured outside of the city to Keukenhof, the world famous tulip gardens of Holland which are only in bloom 6 weeks of the year.  Stunning.

Amsterdam is absolutely one of my favorite cities in Europe.  Definitely makes top 5, possibly even top three.  There is just something about it, the atmosphere gives off a dreamy, fairy tale, quaint, magical, romantic vibe.  I could wander this city for hours.  Its incredibly photogenic.  The canal houses are beautiful, like gingerbread cookie cutouts stood upright.  The gently winding canals give Amsterdam a laid back feel and scenic look.  This is one of the best cities in Europe, no question.

June, 2016: Fun photo shoot with Dali, one of my best friends.  Lots of hanging out at Sugar Mama on my own doing writing.  Many fun moments with friends.  And a four day overnight trip with my fourth grade class at school during which I discovered the BEST honey I have ever tasted in my life.  Dear god, this was amazing.  And I have never been a huge fan of honey, but this stuff?  Game changer.

July, 2016: Lexie, my little sis, ventured over to Europe for her first time ever and the two of us embarked on an awesome adventure together.  We visited Rudesheim am Rhine, Berlin and Paris.  Bombastic :-D

Yes, I took her to Roamers in Berlin.  The BEST brunch I have ever had,  I was literally trembling with thrill to go back here ;-) and it did not disappoint.

High tea at Laduree :-D

Picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower together <3

Evening bicycle ride through Paris.  We loved this.

I have never seen this many books stuff into and piled high in a shop in my entire life.  The smile says it all.

Croissant making class on my birthday.  Another bucket list item checked off.  Thank you, Dad :-D I absolutely loved this.

Off to see the Beauty and the Beast musical, a birthday gift from Judith, one of my BFFs here in Frankfurt.  The show was incredible.  My jaw was on the floor almost the entire time.  Whoa, what a unique, generous and just generally amazing gift.

August, 2016: This month was another big one.  It included my solo trip to Stockholm, Sweden for a week (during which, I ventured out to one of the far most islands of Sweden called Sandhamn, which reminded me SO much of back home in New England, I was filled with nostalgia and charm, loved this mini adventure during the week I was in Stockholm), and a trip to Edinburgh, Scotland with Judith which was AWESOME.  Edinburgh feels magical.  Like a subtly creepy, dark, but totally romantic Gothic fairy tale. 

This was, without question, the most unique and most beautiful library I have seen in my life thus far.  The Stockholm Library.  I ended up talking the woman into giving me a library card for the week.  I came in almost every day to wander the stacks and to look skyward.

Lots of cafe lounging and writing on this trip. <3

The Swedish specialty cinnamon roll.

These next photos were all taken on my day trip to Sandhamn, one of the outermost islands that is a part of Sweden.  It reminded me so much of back home.

Wandering the island of Sandhamn...

Looks just like New Hampshire doesnt it?  Sandhamn, Sweden.

I had a phenomenal meal at Herman's, a supposedly awesome vegetarian restaurant in the city with a sweeping view of Stockholm.  This is when I really started getting more into the idea of sugar free desserts, raw food, etc.

My favorite boat in the Stockholm harbor <3

Birthday treat this past summer :-D at my favorite cafe.

Edinburgh with Judith.  The following 12-13 photos are all from this awesome trip.

September, 2016: This is when food photography/recipe testing really began taking me by storm...hence, the birth of Sweet. Raw. Free. came soon thereafter.

Buckwheat pancakes topped with berries and sunflower butter.

Sugar-free pumpkin cheesecake.  Mmmmmm.  One of my favorites.

Freestanding libraries in Frankfurt, how cool is this??

Picnic in the park with Bhakti :-D

B & B ;-)  (Brooke and Bhakti).

October, 2016: this month included dinner parties, many visits to Sugar Mama, lots of reading, fall foliage, my solo trip to the French Riviera (where I was finally able to explore the tiny, magical medieval feeling villages that are dotted along the Riviera, places I had dreamed of seeing in person for years).

November, 2016: another fabulous dinner party.  Lots of fun with friends.  The new J.K. Rowling movie, "Fantastic Beasts."  A seemingly uneventful month as compared with all of the others, but this month was eventful in that I was doing a lot of philosophical and analytical thinking, about the next step for me in my life, what I want to do within the next few years, where I might want to be, etc.

December, 2016: Christmas cookie baking, visiting Somayeh in Hamburg (reunited after 4 months, SO amazing to see her again.  And I had never seen Hamburg, so this was also lots of fun).  A beautiful, blanketing snowfall in my neighborhood.  Delving more deeply into my writing.  A much needed 1.5 week vacation from school during which I relaxed, read, wrote and just really enjoyed myself.   Raclette party at Judith's, which was lots of fun.  An especially engaging and great tea/conversation with my friend, Amira last week in the coziness of Cafe Hauptwache.

My street <3

I am going to conclude this long montage of memories and moments with a fabulous quote for all of you (including myself) to ponder on, both tonight amidst the celebration with friends, as well as tomorrow.  The beginning of a new year.