Jan 072014
 

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(“What you gonna do, huh? Who you gonna call? I’M NEVER TAKING OFF THIS WARMANDTOASTY SWEATER AND YOU CAN’T MAKE ME. Wha’eva, I do what I want.” – brilliant caption provided by Femke on my FB-page)

Yes, hi, hello, welcome. I’d like to thank to a patient BFF, a good camera, wine and of course the photogenic purchases for the reasonably-okay pictures featured in this blog post. Below.

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Dec 252013
 

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 The present on the right is for me. Manfriend only put it under the tree yesterday because he knows how much I hate it when people torture me with their upcoming gifts (seriously, dick move). So, it’s only been here since yesterday and it’s STILL driving me insane that I don’t know what it is.

Hi. So yesterday I tweeted: “Not blogging for Christmas because guess what I fucking can”

Which is a legitimate reason on its own, but what helps is that I really want to do other stuff for Christmas.  Light candes, play records (Black Keys is a current favorite), watch old movies with Manfriend, drink bubbles and spend time with my loved ones.

I just want to do Christmassy-stuff for a couple of days. That’s what I want to do to make 2014 more wonderful, which was what this challenge was all about in the first place.

So that’s what I’m doing.

BUT. Apparently as a blogger you have to assume that your blog is the most important thing in your reader’s life and that everyone will STILL make it a priority to visit your blog on Christmas**, so I dove into my archive and looked up some of my old articles that you might like to read while I am away being a bad blogger.

I hope that keeps you entertained for two days.

If not, and you REALLY want to read more of my stuff over Christmas during the little alone-time that you might have, download my other two e-book-thingies (Law of Attraction and Habits) that are only 5.50USD/4.00 Euros each or the combo pack that is 9.00USD/6.50Euros.

After that lists of links and that totally shameless referral to my stuff for sale****, I’m just going to tell you to have a lovely Christmas.

Later, babies.

*Click. Such merry and so Christmas, Raffika. 

**If you DO visit my blog on Christmas, I think that’s fucking cute. If not, have fun and I’ll see you later. 

***Which I still haven’t finished because I’m a dick. 

****There is one more shameless plug coming up on New Year’s, but TRUST ME, it’s going to be SO GOOD that you will forgive me for it. And then I’m done until I drop a new e-book. Pinky promise.  

Nov 102013
 

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Hi Internet Friendz, happy Sunday.

I’m happy today, because I had a lot of cake but also other reasons. So I hereby present my very first real personal gratitude list on the blog: That Whole Gratitude Thing.

(Possible Undertitle: Everyone’s Doing It And If They’re Not They Should Be Because Gratitude Is Healthy And Important And Stuff.)

Including Instagram pictures and Manfriend. Enjoy. (Or not, I don’t know your life and what you’re into.)

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Sep 292013
 

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Gather around children, and let me tell you a little story about my weekend.

On Friday night, I went to my brother-in-law’s graduation party in a bar in Rotterdam. It was fancy, I wore a blouse and everything. We were in this bar with cool quotes about alcohol such as “I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me” (Churchill) written on the chalkboards on the wall and I was with my boyfriend, his brother and his friends hanging out, talking and drinking.

I was totally planning on keeping it civilized and going to bed at a decent hour, I swear (your honor). But people were handing me a new glass of wine as soon as my previous glass was even edging towards empty. Around midnight I was actually slightly drunk when Lin texted me, asking me where I was and if I wanted to come over and tell her about the party before I went home. She also baited me with prosecco (your honor).

You gotta understand something about me. I can be having tea with the Queen of England. I can be doing push- and pull-ups with Michelle Obama in the middle of the night. It can be four in the morning while I’m splitting atoms with a reincarnation of Einstein. I will STILL go “whoops, gotta go!” as soon as Lin texts me a random invitation to hang out.

“Gimme 15″ I texted. I said goodbye to everyone, as they were going to go to another bar soon anyway, kissed Manfriend goodnight and before officially calling it a night, I was going to make a quick pitstop at Lin’s.

I was more tipsy than I realized at that point, because apparently Lin saw me arrive, swerving on my bicycle and giggling to myself and almost falling over. Total hearsay, but credible. I was also a little loud as I entered her apartment, apparently. After my last glass of wine, I fell asleep with my head in her lap as she tried to make me watch Orange Is The New Black.* Apparently.

I went home and fell asleep at 02:30. The next morning I woke up IN ABSOLUTE AGONY. The unholy mother of all hang-overs had nestled into my brain, causing a headache of migraine-proportions and just all-around PAIN. PAIN. EVERYWHERE. I do NOT understand how some people do this almost every weekend. I was DYING.

Manfriend still sleeping off his own hang-over from the party, I was alone in my pain. Obviously I needed someone to know about it, so after two Ibuprofen and a multivitamin I texted Lin: “SO. HUNG. OVER.” We texted back and forth a little while I was  walking around the house grunting like a little zombie and generally hating my life. I hated my life even more when I realized I had all the ingredients for Lin’s brilliant spicy pumpkin soup EXCEPT for the onion. “UGH, I don’t wanna go to the supermarket” I texted Lin, “the only supermarket I would like to go right now is Marqt.

Brilliance struck me. “You wanna go with me?”  Her response: “If I get pumpkinsoup after.”

That is how Lin and I ended up going to Marqt together. While shoveling the free samples Marqt employees kept offering us into our mouths** while scouting for almond milk, popped quinoa and sprouts. Got my onions too.

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Afterwards, Lin installed herself at my dining room table with her laptop. Manfriend had woken up too, looking for aspirin and comfort cuddling to battle his own hangover. I got busy in the kitchen with the pumpkin soup, Manfriend put on some records and Lin continued writing her thesis. The weather was amazing outside, and I opened the kitchen windows to let in sunlight and a small breeze.

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I started to feel really happy. Even with the hang-over and the headache, I suddenly felt happier than I had been in really long time. I was so happy with my boyfriend and best friend being near, being able to cook something nice for them. Manfriend came into the kitchen every once in the while to give me a kiss or wrap his arms around me while I was behind the stove, Lin was tapping away on her laptop and the house started to smell amazing. G also came over for lunch, and the four of us had the pumpkin soup with some bread.

After lunch the boys left, Lin and I sat at the table writing and talking while drinking tea with a Tony’s Chocolonely caramel-sea salt bar*** on the side. I spent Saturday night with some of my closest friends from high school, Sunday with Manfriend. I generally had a very lovely weekend. It made me so happy, and grateful.

For people. Like Lin, like Manfriend, like G, Angel, my parents, my entire family. For simple things like eating with people you love, writing on actual paper, having chocolate next your tea, having a boyfriend who randomly yells out “I LOVE YOU” from wherever he is in the house at that time, beautiful supermarkets and healthy food in cute packages.

Honestly, I could never have imagined my weekend starting with 2013′s Worst Hang-Over and ending with having gratitude spilling out of my ears. However it started, this was the loveliest autumn weekend a girl could have hoped for. I’m totally happy and recharged because of it, ready for a new work week.

I hope you had the lovely autumn weekend too — minus the alcohol fumes out of your pores and pounding head, and that you were exposed to lots of things to be thankful for too. Be it your family, your hobby, the great weather, the fact that you DIDN’T have a hang-over this week…Let’s be happy about it. And let’s take it with us into this week to make it awesome.

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That’s all folks!

*I don’t know, man. I don’t know.

**My favorites were the brocolli-blue cheese quiche, bacon-date, and seaweed noodles. 

***I feel as strongly about that fucking chocolate bar as I do about Nespresso: “What else?”

Sep 092013
 

 

TEAM/THEME UNICORN ALWAYS

Phew! Hi babies.

I have been meaning to write sooner, but starting a new academic year is always a little nuts. Basically all I do that week is I run around on university campus either to my students or for my students. Everything is getting started, and that’s something that makes me very happy. New beginnings inspire me.

I’ve been sort of without direction for a while, I guess. I want some more focus, drive and plans in my head. So I thought to myself…What do i want to do this year? Not in terms of goals or achievements, but just…What do I want to focus on doing? What do I want to give love and attention to*? What areas do I want to dedicate myself to this year?

I thought about it, and found three major themes I am dedicating 2013-2014 to. It’s not specific results, because that’s not what it’s about. It’s about focus, and about keeping the important parts of you or your life the most important parts of you and your life. Here’s what I want to focus on.

Working Hard

Before you guys think I’m sitting around with my feet on the desk, picking my nose and grading my coworkers on relative attractiveness**, no. I make myself useful. I make deadlines, I do what I need to do and I do it well.

But because I procrastinate, I often do it at the last minute — quite frantically too. I could just have easily done it sooner, and therefore better. Also, I like to give the extra effort that takes a normal thing and makes it great. That makes me feel good.

Which comes down to a basic truth I discovered about myself (and people in general): I am happier when I’m getting shit done. I’m happier when I am productive and spending my time on things that good for me and others. I’m happier when I am reading literature for work, writing, preparing material for students than when I’m slacking off and procrastinating.

So my first main theme for 2013-2014:

“Do the work. Work hard. Do your best, work through whatever to get shit done. Even when you aren’t in the best mood, when you’re a little tired, when you would rather hang on the couch with Manfriend and Breaking Bad episodes, do your work, whatever it might be for that day. You’ll be in a flow of doing things, you’ll get more positive results and most importantly, it makes you happy.”

Yoga

Over the summer I realized I want to offer up more of my time and energy to my yoga practice. There is so much in there for me, both physically (I will one day do a full-split Standing Bow) and mentally (granting me the definite decrease in ADD symptoms).

The connection I have with Bikram Yoga combined with the commitment to Yoga Maya has created an equilibrium in my head. Although it’s the most crucial part of yoga for me personally, yoga is not just Bikram for me .It’s not just the sweaty battles against myself in a full-length mirror or the mental battle of “should I go or shouldn’t I go**”. Yoga is just yoga. Whether it’s in 40 degrees for 90 minutes, 10 minutes in the living room or an hour long class that ends with chanting: Yoga is yoga. And I love it. It’s good for me.

So I’m making yoga a first priority, in both yoga schools. I’m still working on the details and an exact schedule, but there will be lots of Camels, Downward Dogs and other Yoga Postures With Animal Names in my immediate future for sure.

Be Calm

When I am excited about something (which happens a lot, I love stuff), I get quite happy and loud and my arms tend to move up and down a lot to express my excitement. And when I am busy with stuff, I can also get a little frantic and flailing and loud. You can only imagine the amounts of loud noises and limbs flying around when I’m both busy and happy.

Plus, I like to make people laugh. To do that I make faces, crack up a few jokes and all around try to be funny with a lot of outward energy and behavior.

I discovered I kind of wear myself out sometimes with that. Because of that I have two completely incompatible social settings: ADHD-Social Butterfly-On-Various-Groovy-Drugs and Hermit-Recluse-Who-Refuses-To-Speak. If I have a couple of social events in a week I tend to be all energy and excitement but after that I’m exhausted. I often need an alone-day to completely recharge from social stuff.

Additionally, if I’m all over the place with my movements and jokes and weirdness, that affects other people too. Similarly as a really quiet person makes you either quiet or talk more, me and my energy have an effect on who is interacting with me. They either get on my level and we end up a bunch of loud idiots or they think I’m too much, become withdrawn and timid and we can’t connect as well. While my intention is the exact opposite.

So for the past few weeks I have been experimenting with a new social setting: Calm and contained.

Sorry to anyone who hates phrases like ‘I don’t like his vibe’ or ‘there is something is off about her energy’ but I know my own energy very well and it’s very all over the place. And now I try to contain my own energy more.

I keep it more within myself. I am still my open, normal self, but the focal point is more on being a calm version. I just try to send out a relaxed vibe, with some funny bits.

I’m not doing it with meditation excercises or visualisations or anything, I just do it by being chill and calm, especially with new people. I think it’s working well, because I feel less tired than I usually do at the start of the academic year (from all the new people and work).

So taking care of my inner calm is another theme for me this year. I think it will be really good for the people I meet and interact with, as well as for myself and my own energy levels. I predict they will fluctuate less.

So, yeah. My mantra for 2013-2014: Work hard, do yoga, be calm. I encourage you to think of themes for yourself, but as always, feel free to use mine. Bye babies.

*Besides like, family, friends and various cute fluffy animals.

**While I only do that on Friday

***Unless I’m in immediate danger of dying, the right answer is pretty much always  ‘yes I should go’.

Aug 292013
 

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OH HEY FRIEND LOOK This picture basically sums up everything about me on my holiday: Looking for wi-fi, shoveling food in my mouth and occasionally glancing over at Manfriend to see if he’s still alive.

If you want to see and/or read more about my holiday, there is pictures and bullet points after the jump.  Continue reading »

Aug 142013
 


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HELLO.

If you want to creep my life: I went to the Berlin Zoo with Manfriend last week. We took pictures.

If you want to see more of me, Manfriend, big animals, sea creatures and creepy crawlers, click on. Warning, lots of spiders after the jump.

Continue reading »

Jul 032013
 

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I have a million things about Rotterdam that I love. The industrial buildings mixed with old architecture, big deserted factories and booming skyscrapers. The university and the beautiful bike ride past Kralingse Plas on my way there. Our beautiful neighborhood: urban influence meets 1930′s houses meets family friendly blocks.

Additionally, Rotterdam has so many nice places to have breakfast, lunch, drinks or dinner. I am the opposite of an expert or an elitist (I love having coffee at the HEMA and the tuna salad sandwich at La Place…), but I do appreciate good establishments. I enjoy a cosy place for coffee, a big plate of Italian food in a beautiful restaurant or a big-ass lunch at a leisurely place. While some places come and go, something that has been in Rotterdam for 25 years now…is Loos.

Situated in one of the (if not THE) prettiest neighborhoods of Rotterdam, Loos is a grand cafe restaurant that’s been there for 25 years. It’s very close to my yoga studio so I have been there for coffee and lunch a few times. In summer, my boyfriend goes there occasionally for drink with friends; when the sun is out it’s great to sit outside, overlooking at the small harbor across the street. I had never been there for dinner before last night, but now that I have? Already plotting to return.

Because I am such a hip and cool happening blog person I know Lin, I was invited to their Bloggers’ Dinner, celebrating Loos’ 25th Birthday. I met a whole bunch of pretty women who either blog or work in PR, seeing some new faces and finally meeting Marieke and Jolien! While chatting with my table mates and drinking wine, I enjoyed the wonderful food we were served .

Take a look at this little selection of what we were served.

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First course: Coquilles with fancy ham (don’t remember which kind, please excuse the self help blogger trying to figure out food) and sage.

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Green leaved salad with cucumber, marinated tuna -fresh and so delicious- and wasabi mayonaise.

Not pictured: A wonderful gazpacho with sundried tomatoes served with delicious little bread loafs, as well as a bloodwurst with beet and apple. Slight panic ensued at discovering I had no images for you to feast your eyes on (pictures made by Lin or by me using Lin’s camera). I calmed down once I realized you’re probably still drooling over the first few food pictures and/or confused why I am writing about this in the first place*.

(Further panic ensued when I looked at the pictures and realized I forgot almost everything the -very patient and pleasant- chef told me about the foods, except that it were all great classic dishes that I found out tasted amazing.)

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Main course: Sea bass with spaghetti, all sorts of veggies and sea weed. I love anything with sea weed (except cupcakes, although I’d be willing to try it) so this was lovely.

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Quiche with summer vegetables and a chutney.

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OH THE FRIES. OH THE MAYONAISE. Also, salad. Excuse me for not being as excited about that (even though the dressing was nice) BUT SERIOUSLY THE FRIES.

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Spaghetti with vongole, parsley and other herbs. Perf.

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Lamb. Look, as a former vegetarian, I am still quite ashamed to say that I love the taste of one of the cutest baby animals alive but honesty bids me to tell you that I had bites of this and it was truly exquisite.

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Dessert: Regular, pistache and tiramisu creme brulee. I am now OBSESSED with it. Any volunteers to go to dinner with me and have a gallon of this for dessert?

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Strawberry mousse with berries, mint and strawberries soaked in vodka (great party idea).

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Take a look for yourself at these cute little treats! The chef told us that this is something guests can order if they’re too full for dessert but still want to have something sweet. What a great -and tasty- solution!

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The official birthday cake in honor of Loos’ 25th Birthday!

It is really soft and creamy and oh God I really cannot remember what is in it it’s green tea flavored!. It’s made by de Koekela so come on, how could it be anything but divine. (Answer: it can’t be so why am I even bringing this up).

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Me being very excited over eating dessert. Also, Lin: Might look good enough to eat but not suitable for consumption.

Thank you Loos and Miss Publicity for having me. Loos, happy birthday and I think of you when I think of a great place to eat in the prettiest heart of Rotterdam.

Now for my readers, if you actually want to read something useful about the food Loos serves like ingredients and/or accurate descriptions, I highly recommend the blogs by Lin, Marieke and Jolien!

*It’s a great restaurant, I had a good time and THEY GAVE ME YUMMY FOOD, ok? Will blog for food.