Monthly Archives: April 2012

A good book

There really is nothing like a good book. A book that can, even briefly, allow your mind a much-needed ‘holiday’ from the worries and uncertainties of everyday life.

It’s been so long since I’ve read a book that really moved me the way that so many in the past have (guilty pleasures like the Hunger Games and Twilight series do not count, although I have to admit I’ve read them all…) I’m just aching for a time when I can curl up on the couch with a glass of wine, or better yet lay by the pool with some skinny girl sangria, and dive into a new book.

I wasn’t always the book-worm that I am today, let’s just say CliffsNotes and I go waaayy back… It really wasn’t until my last year at Fordham University, thanks to the inspiring reading list chosen by two of my favorite professors, I finally felt the intangible yet wonderfully powerful impact of a truly good book.

Some of my favorite past reads are:

1. The Glass Castle

2. A Thousand Splendid Suns

3. The Alchemist

4. My Sister’s Keeper (love a good tear jerker)

5. Zeitoun

I’m finally nearing the end of my MBA so I’m growing a bit anxious for some free time and a chance to pick up some quality reading material for some upcoming summer trips.

 Here are some of the new books on my list inspired by this blog:

1. Delirium

2. Life is a Trip: The Transformative Magic of Travel

3. The Replacement Wife

4. The Lost Girls

5. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)

Looks like a good start! What good books have you read lately? 🙂

Reading on the beach with my best friend (We didn't even know we'd brought the same book!) ❤

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Confessions of a wannabe foodie

I love good food, make that great food. I love treating myself to dinner at the best restaurants, trying new dishes and have even been known to take a few health risks in the name of culinary delight. I was raised with a very diverse diet from a small age ranging from sushi, indian and Moroccan food to italian and french delicacies. I have to admit, I’ve been a pretty brave eater from the start.

My mom is an excellent cook. Unfortunately, I inherited my mom’s taste for excellent food but not her culinary talents. Now, I’m not a bad cook per say. I can make a nice and healthy meal and have even mastered a few more complex dishes. It’s more that I don’t have the patience to test out new recipes knowing that more often than not I will end up setting off the smoke alarm, dumping my failed creation in the garbage and ordering take-out. Seems like a lot of trouble if you ask me. So why bother? (Especially since Sebastiaan is such an amazing cook, I’m a lucky girl :))

I’ve been reading a lot of different food related blogs lately, many of which talk about the joys of cooking, the satisfaction that comes from tasting that first perfect bite and the almost therapeutic nature of the process. Let’s just say I’m not quit there yet…

Sebastiaan and I have recently become determined to get healthy, and as many of you know, one of the best ways to do so is to cook more of your own food. For me, knowing exactly what is on my plate really makes me think twice before taking that first bite. I’ve always been a very healthy eater especially dating back to my days as a ballet dancer, but let me tell you, living with a guy for the first time can quickly put a dent in some of your healthy habits. (Sebastiaan once tried to convince me that putting a half-inch of butter on a dinner role is good for you… need I say more?)

So after taking some inspiration from my favorite food blogs and doing a bit of research I’ve made a list of a few seemingly feasible dishes that I am committed to trying in the upcoming weeks.

This Spring Salad with asparagus, fingerling potatoes, snap peas and spring onions.

 These Crispy Black Bean Tacos.

 This delicious looking Tilapia dish.

This sesame crusted salmon

So maybe it’s not exactly the art of cooking that has inspired me to take this first step in my culinary journey but hey, it’s a start. Now let’s see how the dishes turn out… (Fingers crossed!) 🙂

Bitten by the Travel Bug

Although I just returned from a quick trip home to the states over easter, I now find myself itching to plan another getaway for Sebastiaan and myself. It’s been a about 2 months since our last trip and I’m starting to get a little stir crazy. The warmer weather (well, it’s warmer somewhere…) always makes me giddy to pack my bags and jet off to somewhere new. Because Sebastiaan and I plan on moving back to the states in the near future I’m determined to take advantage of our time living in Europe and do as much traveling as possible. Here’s a list of our must do trips:

Istanbul, Turkey

Seems like such an interesting and vibrant city to visit.

Vienna, Austria

I’ve heard such great things about this city, a definite must see! I’d also love to take a little Austrian ski trip one of these days 🙂

Stockholm, Sweden

Known for its great relaxed atmosphere and budding music scene.

Munich, Germany

Oktoberfest anyone? 🙂

Budapest, Hungary

Known for its spas… Enough said.

Barcelona, Spain

I would love to see all the beautiful Gaudi architecture and of course sip some sangria along the Mediterranean 🙂

Copenhagen, Denmark

Looks so beautiful and quaint.

Mykonos & Athens, Greece

Clear blue water, ancient ruins and Greek food. Yes please!

Lisbon, Portugal

Amazing seafood and beautiful views

St. Tropez, France

 Looks like paradise…. everyone should  vacation like royalty at least once in their lives right? Well, one can dream… 😉

Now all we need to do is decide where to go first!  🙂

Sebastiaan’s Birthday

As a part of my birthday present to Sebastiaan we started taking tennis lessons this past weekend. We were both so excited to begin since we started to “play” a bit this summer and haven’t had a chance to pick it up again. We got up bright and early Saturday morning, donned our new workout gear and were on our way. I mapped out the route and assured Sebastiaan I knew exactly where we were going. At least I thought I did…. Once we got on the metro I realized perhaps my directions were not as reliable as I had hoped.

After about 15 minutes of trying to google our final destination we gave up, hopped in a cab and headed off with plenty of time to spare. Our cab driver, who from the start seemed to have no idea where he was taking us but refused to admit it, pulled over on the side of the road after about 15 minutes and told us the courts were around here somewhere but he could drive no further… We got out of the cab, crossed the street only to realize our lovely chauffeur had just dropped us off in the middle of the woods with no one and nothing in sight. I may or may not have verged on hysterical by this point.

Ok, so maybe it wasn't this bad but almost. I swear.

After walking a mile along the highway we finally hailed another cab and made it to our lesson (only about 40 minutes late). Our teacher, who happens to be a classmate of mine, was thankfully more amused than annoyed by our tardiness. Luckily, his next student was running late too so we were still able to hit around for awhile. After a bit of a rough start we ended up having a blast (it didn’t hurt that we weren’t nearly as bad as we thought we were).

It was so nice to get out and do something different and active together. We left with a little extra spring in our step and anxious to play again soon. That evening we planned to throw a little party to celebrate Sebastiaan’s birthday and our new apartment. Although some of our guest began arriving while I was in the shower (there may have been a bit of a miscommunication about the start time), the party was an absolute success. It’s amazing how one evening with friends, family, food and drinks can make a new place really start to feel like a home. After what turned into a very late night, Sebastiaan and I spent most of the day yesterday curled up on the couch in our pjs snacking on leftovers and watching tv.

It was the perfect lazy Sunday 🙂

Spring Cleaning

After surviving some grueling exams resulting in a brief blogging hiatus, a quick trip home and some much-needed girl time, I’m finally feeling a bit refreshed which I think that has a little something to do with the fact that spring is finally on its way.

I love Spring. I love spring despite the fact that I have some of the worst seasonal allergies known to man and spend most of the time looking likes this:

I still can’t help picking up flowers on the way home from work, opening all the windows (in turn welcoming tons of pollen into our apartment)  and soaking up a little sun any chance I get.

It’s not just the warmer weather, longer days and colorful clothes that get me giddy just thinking of spring, it’s also the chance to sweep away (literally and figuratively) the winter blues and start fresh. I always take time in the spring to clean out my closet, donate clothes that I no longer wear and in general bring some much-needed organization to my life.

But to me, spring cleaning shouldn’t be only about cleaning out the cupboards and washing the windows, it’s also about taking the time to do the things that will help me live a healthier and happier life, things we often seem to abandon in the colder months.

Today marks the beginning of my spring cleanse. While I wish I had the will power to do some come crazy all juice or raw food diet, I don’t think I would be a very pleasant person to be around…so I will opt out this year.

I’ve picked up some cute new exercise gear (always helps to motivate me a bit), found some great healthy recipes and did a thorough decluttering of the apartment.

Love everything Lululemon

Stuffed zucchini. Yum.

Inspired by this post written by my best friend, I’m determined to shed a few pounds and get back into maid of honor shape (the wedding is just a few months away!).

Student loans and renting in Amsterdam currently limit my abilities to join a gym but luckily our new apartment is just a few blocks away from a beautiful park perfect for jogging. So as the warmer weather approaches (it is going to get warmer in Amsterdam right?) I’m excited to get outside, get fit and incorporate some healthy new habits into my weekly routine. 🙂

Spring is when life’s alive in everything. ~Christina Rossetti