#love #truelove #hot-chocolate #food #mornings #travel #france #usa

Don’t let numbers define you.

Too often I find myself chained to numbers in my life. I rely on them and let them determine who I am. They tell me whether I am loser or a winner, a good person or a bad person, or if I am a failure in life.

How much money do I make? Why am I not making more? How many pounds do I weigh? How expensive was the holiday I went on? Was it expensive enough to impress other people? Does this dress look like an expensive dress? How many hours did I sleep? Why don’t I have a two car garage? How old am I? (and the inevitable- when did I get this old?)

It’s a scary thing, relying on numbers. They put me in a bad mood because there is always a goal that has to be reached. Sales numbers, performance reviews, even damn dieting is not successful unless the scale budges and shows less!

What would happen in my life if I started to ignore numbers? What if I became happy with what I am making? What if I realized I don’t need a two door garage and that the world won’t end because I do not drink 8 glasses a day like I was supposed to according to every health magazine? What if I was happy with the fact I only sold one book so far on Amazon– someone bought my book, isn’t that something?

What if I, instead, focused on helping others, or making someone’s day by actually having a conversation with them? Or baby-sitting someone’s kids so they can finally go on a romantic date after sleepless nights and dirty diapers?  What if I invited that chatty old neighbor for dinner after five years of knowing her?

The world becomes so much easier when the burden of number disappears- suddenly, the focus is on others, and not on you.

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Reclining seats in crammed spaces

Whoever thought a reclining seat was a good thing to have in a can of sardines type environment must have been a complete halfwit- or a true optimist in regard to human spirit and selflessness.

There are many annoying things when taking a flight somewhere, but reclining seats on an airplane/bus should be banned. Forever forbidden! Never to be given to humans as an option ever again!

Most people travel in economy class which means one gets a tiny little square of space to sit on through the next X amount of hours. Seating by the window tends to be a little better, but if a seat is reclined in your face the anger is equal to that of a isle seat or the middle seat.

Jerks who recline seats in crammed spaces truly show the type of people they are. It goes without saying they are self-centered and selfish. But what is worse are the problems they cause for the person sitting behind them. Because not only do they make one feel like their presence is not worthy of any respect at all, but they put one in a bad spot.

Now, the even more uncomfortable individual must:

1) Talk to the person who reclined their seat OR

2) Recline the seat themselves

3) Justify and apologize to the person behind them who is now unsatisfied with the new seating situation

It becomes like a domino effect. First jerks reclines the seat, and then everyone else has to do it in order to feel like they are not crammed as a packed commuter train in Tokyo. Now, a third person is mad at the second person because of something the first person did. I know, many times life works this way, but come on, let’s end this madness when we are all suffering in a tiny seat.

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Is life without bread worth living?

I have been trying to eat no carbs (well, let’s be honest- LESS carbs) and I truly am struggling.

In the mornings I find myself confused, puzzled and almost sad because I used to always start my day with bread. Grilled cheese sandwich, PBJ sandwich, omlette with toasted bread, toasted bread with butter and honey, garlic bread with cream cheese, baked ham and cheese rollups…. I mean the list goes on, people!

Now, I stare at the fridge and I can not possibly think of things to eat in the morning without bread! I consulted a few recipe websites, and boy oh boy, no bread breakfast requires cooking. I hate cooking! And I hate cauliflower! I do not want to eat cauliflower hash! And who in their right mind eats vegetable miso soup with chickpeas for breakfast? Have people lost their minds?

The suffering continues through lunch. Like my Grandma, I always dip my bread in soup and wipe the plate with it. Now I can’t do that anymore. And how can I turn down endless bread sticks at Olive Garden? Am I supposed to wait for other food to come out and not indulge myself in warm bread sticks? How?

As the night falls, my bread-less life proves to be a challenge. Pass on the sausage bread, Leah! Forget about the pita bread pizza, Leah! Don’t touch the pretzels, Leah! Agh, end the misery!

I love the simplicity of bread, its practicality and its deliciousness. And as I (try) to live my life without it, I ponder…. Is life without bread worth living?

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Quality chocolate for .50 cents

Alright, alright. You can’t get it in the American stores. For many reasons, chocolate in U.S. is not only expensive but the presence of cacao is terrifically low and sugar content abysmally high. But that’s how we like it I guess.

I liked it that way too until I discovered a German store called Lidl (Lidl is pretty much a copycat of Aldi or kind of like Dollar General with better quality products). There are many things in my life that bring me joy and finding great chocolate for the price of a hamburger at McDonald’s on Wednesday’s is one of them.

Lidl is/was a shabby-looking store with a strong warehouse feel. Nothing fancy or classy about it- but Germans love it. Almost instantly as I walked in, a 100 g (3.5- Ounce) of chocolate caught my eyes. Wrapped in an appealing, yet simple wrap tempted me from the shelves. Milk Chocolate for 50 cents. (Mind you, this was like two years ago so the price really hasn’t gone up at the time of writing.) This chocolate wasn’t expired or poisonous. It didn’t give you painful diarrhea. It wasn’t like godawful Hershey’s with their butter substitutes and whatnot. This was genuinely good chocolate. Because it was so cheap, I had to hoard it. I couldn’t pass on such a deal! I bought different kinds: the alpine milk one, the one with nuts, raisins, the white chocolate kind. I thought I died and went to heaven.

Needless to say, all that chocolate was gone before I could bring back any to the States (so I had to go back to the store and buy more). I miss that chocolate. I genuinely miss it. It crosses my mind specially as I wander down our Publix section or when I shop on Amazon. Good chocolate for little money does exist. It exist in the world of the good ole Germany. Now, who in Germany is reading this and is willing to ship some over to me? 😀

P.S: Thanks for reading my post! Leave a comment on what product you miss! 😀

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Link to my book on Amazon (since I haven’t posted one in like half a year 😉

The travel jitters

Furthest my mom has traveled in the recent years has probably been Georgia and New Orleans. My father has never been outside United States. When we were younger my mom booked us tickets to England and we left, without him. He refused to come along.

I never could truly understand the mindset of being unable to travel to new or different places. To me, that’s part of the excitement, to Dad, it’s unpleasant. Now that he’s retired, he goes to same places each week and talks about them like it is his first time there.

Since I am embarking on an overseas travel soon, I can’t tell you how excited I am (btw, I offered to pay for Dad’s ticket but he merely responded he’s not the traveling type).

There’s something about traveling I always loved. It’s the anticipation, the planning, the preparation. Sometimes the process before going anywhere is even more exciting than the trip itself. I get to imagine my own scenario of how the place I will go to will turn out. I browse for restaurants I will eat at, local desserts I will stuff my face with, the historical places I will visit.

It’s a beautiful thing to have travel jitters and I wish my Dad could share them with me. I feel like he’s missing on a part of his life but at the same time he seems to be content. So does it matter?

Well, I can’t force him into anything and I can’t wait to pack my suitcases!

P.S: Thanks for reading my blog. Like, share or comment! 🙂

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Taking a semester off

“I took the summer semester off to go on an adventure with Timm. The plan was to spend the next three months together, travelling around the States.”- Jenna Gunner

Taking a semester off is a dangerous matter. Jenna feels like she will get back to the studying rhythm in no time, but it is not always that easy. Once you leave school for a semester and go travelling, it is ridiculously hard to return back to a routine which doesn’t allow you to do whatever you want.

Even if you leave school for a semester to work more or earn more money, the rewarding paycheck coming in every two weeks makes it much more tempting to not go back to school and spend money on overpriced text books and university fees.

I will always support taking a semester off, but make sure you know what you are getting yourself into. Make sure you know how hard it is to integrate in the boring, daily routine again. Because sometimes, people quit school and become wanderers; they don’t want to go back to where they were, but they are not happy with the status quo either. Money eventually runs out or the “good money” you thought you were making with no degree is actually not that good when you realize they are working you for little money but pay someone more because he didn’t quit and finished his/her degree.

Did any of you take a semester off? How did it turn out?

P.S: Thanks to all the visitors of the blog for coming and taking the time to read my stuff!

P.S2: Link to my book on Amazon. Check it out!

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The venturesome Friday plottings

Every Friday, on my way to work, I pass the Orlando International Airport and my mind just goes berserk. I start plotting my next escape, my next adventure. I can’t take this anymore. Why am I going to work on this beautiful day?

I park the car at the cheap parking lot- 10 dollars a day? Here’s $30, I’ll be gone for three days. I pay the machine and step inside. I don’t have any luggage, but adventures are always most fun when they are not planned. Do I have my passport with me? I check my purse. What a coincidence- I do. I step up to the counter of the Aer Lingus and demand a ticket to Ireland: “when is your next flight?” I am ready to pay anything.

“The flight total is $1,600, ‘Mam.” Ouch. I can’t afford that. Maybe my next destination won’t be Dublin. I go to Lufthansa. “$1,200 if you want to go to Berlin.” Well, there goes my international flying adventure. The world is not at my reach. It’s the size of my wallet.

I go back to the car and check my wallet. I got five bucks in it. What can five bucks get me- maybe a morning Sausage McMuffin? #fml

I drive away to work, postponing my adventures to a different day. This Friday adventure will be how to survive until 5 o’clock.

P.S: What is your Friday like?

P.S2: Thanks for reading my blog. Start commenting, don’ be shy!

P.S3: A nice weekend read.

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Add some hot chocolate to your stinky Mondays!

“I woke up, tossed and turned all night and ended up getting up at six in the morning. I sneaked out of the room and went to the kitchen to make some hot chocolate. Life is always better with a cup of hot chocolate.” Jenna Gunner- “Six months of Croissants, Café crèmes, Parties and Love”

Mondays are a pain in the butt. But they don’t have to be. Start them with something good. For Jenna, it’s a cup of hot chocolate that makes all the difference. What makes the difference for you?