The last few days have been busy! It was my birthday on Friday (the 9th), and I turned 23 :). I did not have a lot of guests on Friday as my family likes to celebrate birthdays in weekends.I started the day with chopping off a large part of my hair. I had already meant for quite some time to get a haircut but when I was at the hairdresser I decided to go shoulder length. Almost 20 cm shorter I walked out. Initially I was quite shocked at how short it was but it has been amazing so far. I can actually wear my hair down all the time! I have had some great reaction on it to. Most people say that it really suits me :). I don’t know if I will keep it this short but for now I am happy with it.
After I went grocery shopping with my mom. It was a little hectic as I did not really prepare a shopping list beforehand. Might have been more convinient if I did do that.. In the afternoon we went to get my birthday gift. I was in sore need of a new pair of running shoes. I started running about 5 years ago and that is when I got a good pair of running shoes. You can imagine that after 5 years my shoes were not really doing the best job any more. I was reluctant to invest my own money into a new pair of shoes but with a birthday coming up I knew that it was the perfect opportunity to ask for a new pair of shoes. We went to a local sporting goods store, and although the choice was limited I am really happy with the shoes I eventually picked. I have really difficult feet, as they are really narrow but also quite big. I tried on some cool pairs of Mizuno’s but those were all way too big which was a pity. I went home with a pair of shoes which really had to grow on me. I initially did not want to have a pair of purple shoes but now I am really happy that I made this choice!
Asics Gel Pulse 6
I have yet to run with them but I am hoping that I will really notice the difference!
Friday evening I got a visit from a primary/high school friend which I hadn’t seen for 2 years. It was really nice to catch up and although we hadn’t seen each other for a long time it was just like it always used to be. No awkward moments ;). We spent a couple of hours talking and it is really fun to see how she has changed, but at the same time remained the same. I really hope to speak to her more often in the future!
Saturday morning was spent in the kitchen. I had to prepare for later that day because my aunts, uncles and grandparents arrived at 3 to celebrate my birthday! Birthdays are a lot of work in terms of the planning and time that goes into it, but I had an amazing time with my family. I did not get the chance to visit them as often as I like because it live far away (according to Dutch standards!) from most of them. When I am busy with school I usually skip birthdays. I hope to visit a lot of other birthdays this year! I have had some talks with my aunts and uncles and had one of my little nephews as a assistant in the kitchen. He always like to help with preparing and clearing and he is really independent so he is actually a great help! Unfortunately my bf had to leave last night to go home to our kitties because they had been alone for two days and he also had two soccer matches today. I am really going to miss him because I won’t be going home until the 19th. That is a lot of days without him.. :(. Fortunately I will be doing lots of fun stuff in the mean time so that I have something to preoccupy my mind!
Today was mostly a really lazy day. I spend all day in my pajamas as did my mom and sister. We have been munching on leftovers from yesterday and generally just lazed about. Wonderful to do that with people who I love. It has been useful to. Yesterday evening, all cozy in my blankets, I had already finished Let it Snow by John Green, Lauren Myracle and Maureen Johnson, a perfect winterread. Each author wrote his/her own novella and then they all came together in the end. Wonderful winter read!
Right now I am reading The Gift by Cecelia Ahern. I am 80 pages in and it has been good so far. My mom read it a couple of weeks ago and she said it was kind of predictable. Can’t wait to see what I think! Then back to the fun thing I will be doing this week. Tomorrow morning my youngest sister, she is 18, and I will go to London for 5 days :D. She has been to London once before when she was 6 so it is safe to say that can’t remember a whole lot about the city. I have been there about 5 times now and I really like to go there because every time is different. We still have to pack our suitcases but then we are all ready to go! It is going to be a really early wake up call but I am so excited! It is going to be awesome!
I have not a lot to tell you. Yesterday I spend the morning working on my paper, while one my kitties tried to sleep either on top of my arms or on top of my laptop. He was not really helpful, lol. Then unexpectedly my bf came home early, at 1 instead of 6. He had been sent home because the store he works was very quiet and they didn’t need two people in the department. He spent most of the afternoon watching all kinds of videos while I spent it cross-stitching and watching Bones. I am almost finished with season 4. I really like that show! I have also made a lot progress with my Pokemon cross stitch. I have almost finished page 6 (out of 30) so you could say that things are moving really fast ;). The rest of the evening was just spend quietly because after dinner the bf had to go to soccer practice so I watched more Bones. I did try to make more green smoothies. Since the first of January I have been drinking green smoothies every day. It is the perfect way to start my day and this way I get all my vitamins and minerals. It was pretty late in the afternoon before I went to the supermarket so I didn’t have a green smoothie for breakfast. To not break my streak of a green smoothie everyday I decided to make one late last night. I put in a grapefruit, because that is what the recipe called for, and it was the most disgusting thing I have ever tasted. I just do not like grapefruits! I felt pretty bad about it because I made a serious batch and I did not want to throw it away. I kept the leftovers, and I hope that my dad will want to drink it. Luckily I had some other fruit lying around with which I made a pretty good back-up. Streak is still going!
Today started late. It is so nice to lay in bed, just dozing when the whole world is already up and about. I know that I should really try to get up earlier. But this morning it was justified as I did not go to sleep on time. I was determined to finish my book first. Gone with the Wind, as I mentioned a couple of days ago, has been on my dresser for months now and I was so close to the end. Despite the light that was on my bf was already asleep so I had all the time in the world to finish it. It was so nice to sit down and just read without interruption. Reading is by far my favorite hobby but sometimes I forget how much I like to do it. Being done with Gone with the Wind gave me very mixed feelings: at the one hand I was happy to be done with it because the book is just so large but on the other hand I missed the sense of closure I get with other books. I think I have to take some time to really think about what the book is telling me. Nevertheless that was book 2 of 2015.
This morning we went on a social outing. BF’s grandparents live in the same city as we do but we don’t go there really often. I know we should go more often but it is one of those things that we both say that we will do and then it just doesn’t happen. But we had phoned earlier this week that we were going to stop by so we went. It was the most dreadful weather ever to go through. We do not have a car so we went there by bike. The rain was not hard when we left but despite that it was absolutely drenched by the time we got this grandparents’ place. I was not happy at all. But in the end I am glad we went. They are really nice people although they do live a little in the past. They have a respectable age and I think that a lot of people of that age would not live on their own anymore. They are 86 and 83! I hope to be still living unassisted when I am that age! They are really sweet people. They even gave me an early birthday gift. I was happy that they remembered! My birthday is tomorrow and so far I have not really felt like an ‘almost birthday girl’ at all. I did just ask my dad to pick up a cake for me so hopefully I feel more birthdayey tomorrow :).
I am now sitting on the couch at my parents house because I will be celebrating my birthday here tomorrow. It is just much more convenient that I travel here than that everyone that wants to visit me all the way to my house. All my family lives within an hour whereas they have to drive more than 2.5 hours to get to our house (the house the bf and I live). It is only logical to do it this way :). We had super funny food just now. I bought my mom black coloured spaghetti for Christmas and we just had it. To be honest it look really disgusting and a lot like worms. I did not taste any different from normal spaghetti. It is weird how much taste is associated with colour. If all my food would be black I would taste things a lot differently!
I think this is all for today. My mom and little sister want to go running in a bit and I feel not really up to it, but I think I have to go. I will see how it goes. Maybe I will surprise myself. Have a great night 🙂
I had such a nice day today :). The day started early. I had to get up at 8 to go to a class that started at 9. The last couple of weeks I slept in every morning until at least 10 so you can imagine that 8 was pretty early ;). I had to present in class because me and my groupmates had to present on a research question we’re working on. The class is called Transamericana and deals with all sorts of information about the United States. This course is a minor course, which I picked at one of my electives. As I am an American Studies student this course is pretty easy for me. I have had good grades for all assignments so far, so I am pretty happy. Today was no different. We scored an 8 (out of 10) for our presentation :). The paper that accompanies this presentation is due the 17th so there is still some time to get everything on paper and ready. Besides, I have three wonderful 3 people working with me on this thing so I am pretty confident that we will manage!
There is another assignment, however, that I have been dreading for a couple of weeks now. I really want to be done with my bachelor degree but I still have to complete the final phase, starting in February, where I do some final courses and write my bacherlor thesis. To gain entree to the last phase I have to phase a course called Rhetoric and Composition II, where they basically test your essay skills. I am pretty confident in my writing skills, as I never seem to fail essay assignments that were done for other classes but for some reason I cannot seem to pass any assignment in this class. I am doing the course for the third(!) time and it still is nothing working. There is one last chance for me to pass this course and that is to write a 2500 word paper due the 20th of January. I am so freaked out by it that I have hard time to actually sit done and work on it. Which is totally ridiculous because the only way I am going to even pass this course is by sitting done and work on the paper. Funny how my brain works the total opposite. But, I have decided that tomorrow I am going to work on it all day and at least finish a first draft of the paper. There was a really nice guy in my class that wants to proofread it and give me feedback so I hope that with his pointers I’ll be able to improve it and hopefully pass the course. Fingers crossed!
Then more exciting news: I went running again today, third time this year!, and I did some yoga for the first time in a long time! I really like yoga. It is a good way to challenge myself without over doing it. It gets me relaxed and it perfect for when I want to do something active without going all crazy. They offer yoga class at my gym but for some reason I didn’t go to the classes. With a new year comes new determination so I went to early afternoon yoga class. The teacher has changed since I last went but she had us do really nice exercises. Incidentally she did really nice and easy beginner poses so that I could get right back into it without feeling all awkward. I did however notice that because the class was during the day the other yogi’s were all significantly older. Actually was a super nice experience because I noticed that they were all very concentrated and much quieter which made the experience much more relaxing :).
So this was my day again. I’ll leave you with a picture of one of my amazing kitties. His name is Basko and he is one year old. He is also super cute!
I am also making this book a mission tonight. I have been reading Gone With the Wind for more than three months now and is taking me forever to finish. As you can see, the size of my edition is enormous but I am very close to finishing. It has 825 pages but luckily I am done to about 155 pages to go. I probably wont entirely finish the book tonight but I certainly will try to read some tomorrow in between my frantic tries to create a wonderful paper!
Usually Sunday’s are reserved for laziness but for me it was Lazy Monday. I had only one thing to do today and that was ‘write a book review’. I still had to read the last few chapters of The Fight to Save Juarez, which I did and then I wrote a 1000 word review on the book. I had never written an academic book review yet so I am not quite sure if I did everything ok, but we will see!
The Fight to Save Juarez was a really interesting book. I had expected the book to be full of facts, and numbers and lots of cultural theory. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. In actuality The Fight to Save Juarez is hauntingly real account of what life in Juarez was like under the leadership of the in 2007 elected mayor José Reyes Ferriz. The writer Ricardo Ainslie conducted interviews with multiple people across the social strata that were involved in one way or another with politics or narcotics in Juarez during that period. As many of you may know, president Calderón of Mexico, initiated the war of Drugs at the beginning of his presidency and the situation in Juarez has been unstable and violent since then. Reyes Ferriz had the difficult task of saving Juarez and give the city back to its citizens. That task seems immensely difficult to me. As someone who did not know a lot about Mexico, Juarez or the War on Drugs, this was a very good starting point. The book was easily accessible, it had no information dumps or difficult terms that I didn’t understand; instead it was clear and well written and very easy to read. The chapters were short, usually not longer than 10 or 11 pages and that ensure that the information Ainslie presented came in bit sized portion. At lot of the content of this book is extremely gruesome as it details real events committed in a real conflict. That is what made it such a good book for me. Ainslie did not dance around the bush but presented the facts in an engaging way. Information he got in interviews he conducted with all sorts of people, from the mayor to federal police and army personnel, to priests and social workers. I would love to read more non-fiction written like this, because despite the content I am really glad that I read this.
Luckily there are also happier things I can talk about! Yesterday evening I finally went to see The Hobbit and The Battle of the Five Armies with the bf. I was happy that it was significantly shorter than the other two. I really liked this one the best. I felt that it was much more to the point and had less filler scenes. Although the entire trilogy is gorgeously filmed (it almost looks like a documentary!) they are really long winded in my opinion. Therefore I was happy with the this last one as it had a lot more action. I really liked the battle on the plains in front of Erebor, the entire battle was more than 30 minutes of the movie! I am just amazed at the level of detail portrayed in the fights; they always seem really lifelike to me. In general I am just really a fan of the battle scenes in the Middle Earth franchise. The Battle of Helmsdeep from The Lord of the Rings – The Two Towers is one of my favorite movie scenes ever!
I also baked some cookies this afternoon. Well, they are not really cookies but they are very small and round, about the size of a coin. They are called ‘pepernoten’ (literally translated peppernuts) and they are a dutch cookie that is traditionally eaten before the celebration of Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas). After Sinterklaas, which was December 5th, they gave away the mixes that they hadn’t sold before the celebration. I took me a long while to make them but I am glad I did. They are delicous! Well there is nothing really more to report. I think I am going to go to bed and spend the rest of the evening either watching Bones or reading a book. Or both!
Have a great evening :)!
I am enjoying myself so far in 2015. If I can keep it up this could turn out to be a wonderful year! Yesterday I did not go along with my bf to his soccer club. I was just not feeling up to it as he said he had to stay late. In the end I was glad I didn’t go with him; he only came home at 00.30! Luckily we are going to do something fun later. Finally, we are going to see the Hobbit!
I love good food. But I am also a very lazy person. That means that I rarely feel like cooking. Which is a shame, because I like good food. Food is just better when you make it yourself, instead of ordering in or cooking with boxes. My goal for the month of January is to cook everyday that I am at home, so that I try new things and hopefully fall in love with my own cooking ;). Luckily January 1st I started off on the right track because that dinner was absolutely delicious if I may say so myself :). I love pinterest as a source for recipes and I found this amazing Chicken and Spinach pasta bake (the recipe is available via Food.com). It was some delicious and normally I do not really like to have spinach. So a) the food I cooked was actually good and b) I found a good way to eat more spinach.
On day 2 the food was not so good. I am trying to use some of the prepacked meal boxes that I have bought in 2014, because I think it is a waste to let them go to waste. I did not like that food at all. It just had no taste. We ate about a quarter and I put the rest in the freezer to give it to my mom. Hopefully she willl like it! Luckily, yesterday the food was good again. First I planned to make some chicken but that would mean chicken three days in a row, so instead I made a Mexican oven dish. One of our local supermarkets, Albert Heijn, published a monthly magazine with amazing recipes. I have been collecting the magazines for more than a year now and I never cook anything from it. This month will be the perfect month to change that! The dish was ground beef, with chili beans, tomatoes, corn, nachos and cheese. Perfectly good and really easy to make. And it was good budget food as the ingredients are not that expensive :).
Doesn’t that look good? The pictures are little bit dark but hopefully you will get an idea of what it looked like. You can find the recipe here. Like I said, ideal if you like good food on a budget!
Another hobby I decided to get back into is Postcrossing. The idea behind the website is that you request an address of a random person that also has an account on Postcrossing. You then send a postcard with a nice message and a code to that person. When the person receives his or her postcard they need to register the code. The moment the code is registred your address will go into the database for another person to request. This means that you receive a postcard for every postcard you send. I have actively participated in the past, and I have sent about 150 postcards so far but for some reason I did not really continue to keeping sending them. That is a shame because I love to receive mail :). I hope to sent one every week this year, so that hopefully I will at least get nice mail once a week. Especially with everything that is going electronically, the times I get nice mail are few and far between.
Hopefully my postcard will be liked :). I can’t wait to get some postcards back! Well, now I’m off to get cooking again. I really found a wonderful recipe on Pinterest: Beef Noodle Stir Fry. I am looking forward to it!
As I have no classes until February 2nd, I am now spending all my time at home. I do have some exams, essays and presentations coming up, but I do not have to physically leave the house for anything. On the one hand this is fabulous; I have loads of time, after done with my schoolwork, to watch television series, read books and work on some of my hobbies. On the other hand this means that I basically stay in my pyjamas all day. Omar left for work today at 11.20, but I stayed in my pajamas until 4 o’clock. At least I changed into normal clothes, instead of staying in sweats. Well, I shouldn’t really complain. I mean, how many people get the chance to be at home all day and do what they want?
So with all this time I spend some time working on an immense project. By chance I started cross-stitching back in October. One of the first things I started was a birthday present for my boyfriend who has his birthday the end of July (the 31st, born in 1988, the same as Harry Potter!!). I tried to do it in secret at first but I cannot for the life of me keep things like that a secret. I managed exactly 3 days before it became a hassle. The suprise element is gone but he still really likes to see how it comes together. So do I. The picture I stitching is of all 150 pokemon from the first Generation. My bf really grew up with the anime series and buys and plays the nintendo games whenever they come out. The thing is huge and takes a lot of time. Might not have been the most wise choice for a beginner, but luckily it is not that hard and I enjoy working on it a lot. To give you an idea of the size:
This is the finished upper row, which I finished in the beginning on December. As you can see it is big! This is only the first row of 6, and this one row took me about 2,5 months. I don’t have high hopes that the entire piece will be finished before the end of July but I really hope to get this finished in 2015. So today I spend working on it for a bit. I like to work on it while watching a series, today I watched two episodes of Bones, my fav series as of late.
I am really happy with how it looks right now and I hope I can persevere and finish it!
One other project I like to accomplish this year is finally making photo-albums. I have so many pictures digitally and I just want to have something physical to page through. First I wanted to create online albums that you can get printed all ready made. But then it was looking at the prices and those things are crazy expensive. Especially when I have more than a 1000 pictures I would like printed. So I decided to do it the ‘old-fashioned’ way and I will just order photo’s to be printed and then I will make an album myself :). Much better and it will be fun to see them all while I am making the albums. Today I have been collecting and selecting all the pictures I want to have for December 2014. This meant that I had to get the pictures that were on my sisters’ phones and I hope to get one’s that are on my bf’s phone after dinner. Then everything is all ready to be ordered :).
Yesterday I had mentioned that I was going to finally see the last Hobbit movie but when we arrived at the cinema there were no more seats. This is the second time that happened, apparently the Hobbit is still really popular. We were smart enough to make reservations so we are now going to see The Hobbit tomorrow. Hopefully it will not dissappoint. So, dinner is almost ready and Omar should be back from work any moment! Tonight we are probably going to his soccer club to have some drinks with his teammates so that should be fun!
Happy Sunday tomorrow!
This title might make no sense at all! I need to hand in a book review for a class that is due in 4 days. I started reading it today, which means that I probably need to do some binge reading for a couple of days. The book is pretty interesting; it’s a non-fiction war about the drug war in Juarez, published in 2013, so recent. It have now read about 50 pages and although it takes some time to get the who is who straight (I have difficulty with the Spanish names) the book, called Juarez: Heart of Mexico’s Drug War by Ricardo Ainslie, really gives a great insight into the situation in Juarez as it takes examines an event in each chapter and tie them all together to the larger drug war that is happening right now in Juarez and elsewhere. I haven’t finished the book by far but I am happy with my choice. I’d rather read something that I can actually learn from and that is interesting than a much drier book on economy. The class is actually really good too, its a class on the history of Latin America, and I have learned a lot of Mexico’s history in particular.
The Bones in the title refers to the television series Bones that I am currently watching. I really like police/detective series as they are perfect for on and off watching. I can watching 20 episodes in a row and than not watch for months and still remember what everything was all about. I currently on season 4, but I believe that there are about 9/10 season out so I have still a lot of episodes to watch. I have been watching an episode and then read 2 chapter of the Juarez book and time has been going really quick.
Time always goes quicker than I want it to go. I had this great plan to get up at 8 am this morning. I was pretty good with my bedtime lately so I had high hope of rising earlier than I have done in the past couple of weeks, but no luck. I snoozed 4 times and by the time I did get up it was 10. Well at least I tried, and I will do so again tomorrow. Hopefully I will be able to get up at 9.45 ;). One of my plans today was to run, as I have a short race in a couple of weeks (the 18th to be precise) and I haven’t done any running for a few weeks now. Again, I tried but I couldn’t do more than 1,87 km, which is pretty bad. Well, I’ll go again on Sunday and see if I make it past the 2,0 km then. At least I am really happy that I did some exercising again, better than sitting on the couch. Next week I am trying to go to the gym again. I haven’t gone there for ages!
Another thing that I re-started today was an app I used a lot at the beginning of 2014. It is called Plant Nanny and it is really cute ^-^! It is basically an app that lets you keep track of how many water you drink by giving the water you drink to your plant. The more water you drink and thus give to the plant, the better your plant will grow. Since it a new year, it really want to get back to paying attention to my health again. Exercising and drinking water are two of the things I will try to keep doing!
So this was today so far. It is almost dinner time as you can see from the time in my Plant Nanny, so I need to get cooking! I am in the mood for food :). After the dinner Omar and I will finally go to the cinema to see the Hobbit Battle of the Five Armies, after I vetoed going 5 times. The movie starts at 20.15 and will probably be just as long as the other two but I am excited to see how it all ties together in the end! Have a nice night 🙂
Oh, I had so much fun yesterday :). Normally I like to spend New Year’s Eve inside, watching television and eating “oliebollen”, which are basically diep-fried doughballs. Low key. Omar (BF) and I were supposed to go to my parents this year, as we alternate between our house and my parent’s house every year. But since we just spend the week around Christmas with them we decided to celebrate New Year’s with friends. Around nine we went to my best gf house were we met with two of our friends that moved to Amsterdam last summer. They both are doing their masters there so I hadn’t seen them for a while. It was really nice to see each other, to talk and have fun. We had great drinks and we even had some fireworks so it was definitely a night to remember!
We got home at 5 and I was so ready to go to sleep! And I slept pretty good, although I did wake up at 12. It nice to start the year off with the people I love. We had a great time and I definitely need to see them more often ❤
Well since this is day 1 of 2015, it is time to get back on track with real life, but as the same time remember to enjoy everything. Right now I am really enjoying that I can just laze in my bed and that I don’t have to go anywhere or do anything. To balance out all the alcohol of last night, I started the day with some chicken broth and 2 green smoothies. Much better than more “oliebollen” and wine :).
The rest of the day I am going to finish watching The Hobbit – The Desolation of Smaug because man, that movie takes forever! Battle of the Five Armies has been out of some weeks now but I wanted to watch 1 and 2 again before going to the cinema. They are a long sit though ;). My other plan is to kick off my reading for 2015 by starting World Without End by Ken Follett while taking a bath later, and make a meal plan for the coming 4 days. After all the Christmas binging it is time to work in some more vegetables in my diet again. Have a night January 1st night!