My Christmas Bucketlist

December is already here and the holiday season is upon us; there is no better time of year to slow down, relax and reflect on the year that’s gone by. In between working around the holidays, I’m also looking forward to spend some much needed quality time with good friends and family, and some other fun activities – here’s my christmas bucketlist..❤️

Have a “no screen time” day

Buy and decorate a christmas tree

Invite the girls over for a christmas lunch

Voluntair and make a difference (I just started volunteering for an organization that helps low-income families in my community, especially around the holidays)

Read lot’s of books in front of the fireplace

Bake christmas cookies

Wrap presents while listening to christmas songs

Go to spin class on christmas eve (I do this every year!)

Watch lot’s of christmas movies in my pajamas

Try a new winter recipe

Make a playlist of my favorite holiday songs

Spend a night out on the town with good friends

Do you have any fun plans set for the holidays yet?

My 40 before 40 Bucketlist!

“No one gets out of here alive.” Jim Morrison

So why not make the most of your life, because what’s really life without dreaming? Maybe you’re riding the golden high that’s your 20’s or clinging to your 30’s like a kid who eats candy, regardless you still have a lot of life to live.. Your thirties truly are your golden age, don’t let it go to waste!

Here are 40 things I would like to do before turning the big four-zero;

1. Learn a new (third) language
2. Participate in a workout challenge/race/competition
3. Travel to new places with my little sister
4. Take a solo vacation
5. Celebrate New Years Eve in another country
6. Enjoy happy hour on the rooftop at the Henry’s in LA
7. Become debt free (student loans/house mortgage excluded)
8. Go on a (or several) girls trips abroad
9. Voluntair for a cause I’m passionate about
10. Try a profession in a different field
11. Get a tattoo (something meaningful)
12. Create my own cookbook (for personal use)
13. Splurge and buy something expensive for myself
14. Drive Highway One from San Diego – San Francisco
15. Spend the night in a historic Bed & Breakfast
16. Create a built-in-library filled with books in my future home
17. Go on a new road trip in the U.S.
18. Work Abroad
19. Host an amazing theme party
20. Spend a full day at a SPA
21. Attend a concert
22. Invest my money wisely
23. Practice yoga and meditation more regularly
24. Go on a yoga/mindfulness retreat
25. Head back to the U.S. to visit all my amazing friends from college
26. Buy and decorate our dream home
27. Ride a snowmobile in the Arctic
28. Get a Brazilian wax (If I’m brave enough, hehe)
29. Buy a complete wardrobe with quality pieces
30. Invest in a personal trainer
31. Take an ethnic cooking class
32. Complete a 30-day-challenge of my choice
33. See a professional dermatologist
34. Live a month in NYC and discover everything the city has to offer
35. Be a audience member of a tv-show
36. Invest in my own Bunad (our national costume)
37. Go on vacation with a group of good friends
38. Start my own business
39. Try to complete all the points on this list
40. Celebrate my big 40th with a big party!

Many people worry about getting older. Maybe it’s because you’re worried about all the things you wanted to do, but didn’t do? If so, I have a suggestion for you; start living your life! Do all the things you want to do! You can do anything you put your mind into, just remember to be realistic so you don’t set yourself up for disappointment.. Remember; a life is made for living! 😍

Do you have any personal goals you would like to complete before hitting a certain age? Or maybe before the end of the year? Do tell!

Random Acts of Kindness

Being kind can have an impact on your psychological and physical health. Kindness is a behavioral response of compassion and actions that are selfless, and it’s often undervalued. Why is that? Kindness are often linked to happiness, and if you become happy and someone else is happy, there’s no reason to not be kind. Being kind to your fellow people can be displayed in many ways and it’s often the little things that truly makes an impact. Here are some Acts of Kindness you can perform to make the day better, both for yourself and someone else;

♥ Help someone before they ask

♥ Offer to babysit for free if someone needs a date-night

♥ Smile and say hello to a stranger

♥ Leave letters of encouragement on other people’s cars

♥ Let someone go in front of you in line

♥ Do a favor without asking for anything in return

♥ Hold the door open to someone

♥ Give up your seat to someone else on the bus/train

♥ Compliment a co-worker for the good job they do

♥ Run an errand for someone

♥ Make breakfast in bed for your significant other

♥ Suprise visit a good friend

♥ Visit a senior center and talk to the elderly (who often feel alone)

There are all little things that can make a huge impact in someone’s life and it’s all for free. Hopefully it will inspire you to do something kind for someone.. 😊

The Apps I use the most

Most people depend on their phone in almost everything they do, from listening to music or podcasts on the run, reading news, sending emails, making phone calls, and to keep our self updated on social media, myself included.. And while some might argue it’s a negative thing, it’s also made our lives easier in many ways! Here are the apps I use the most in daily life (and maybe you’ll be inspired to download some apps that could make your life easier as well!).. 😊

Social Media
Facebook, Snapchat, LiveCollage, WordPress and Instagram are the apps I use for social media. While my Facebook and Snapchat account are set to private, my Instagram account are open to the public. I use Facebook mainly to keep in contact with close friends from around the world and Snapchat to keep myself updated on everything that going on in my friend’s life. LiveCollage is great to use when creating different collages, both for Instagram and to save on your phone for later purposes. Instagram is a great tool for inspiration. Regardless of what you’re looking for, you’ll find it at Instagram. WordPress is the platform I use for blogging, where I also bought my own domain. If you’re looking into starting a blog, I recommend WordPress, as it’s a very easy step-by-step platform to use.

Travel
KLM, Fly Delta, Ryanair, Booking.com and TripAdvisor are the apps I use most for traveling purposes. I’m holding a Delta SkyMiles Membership, so the Fly Delta app makes everything a lot easier – it displays my membership status + number, holds a booking function, I can check my flight status, information about Delta Sky Club, airport maps, and I can track my luggage using the “Track My Bags” function. KLM and Delta are cooperative partners, which means I receive miles when flying with KLM (and other cooperative partners). I added my SkyMiles number to the KLM app, so whenever I book a KLM flight, my miles are automatically added to my Delta SkyMiles membership upon booking. It’s very convenient! We often fly Ryanair for small get-away trips and using their Ryanair app is very easy. Being a low price airline, Ryanair have lot’s of “hidden fees” (e.g. for printing your boarding pass for example). However, those days are by – use the app to get an overview over upcoming trips, to check in and download your boarding pass, receive your flight information and to download their latest flight magazine. Booking.com is the best app for hotel bookings and rental cars. Sign up for their membership (it’s called Genius Member and it’s free!) and receive lot’s of great hotel offers for Genius members only. You can view/manage your future bookings in the app, check your Genius status and reward, and order transportation (taxi/rental car) through their app. TripAdvisor is a great to use for both restaurant and hotel recommendations/reviews and things to do. We use it all the time for restaurant recommendations when traveling, and we’ve never ended up at a bad restaurant, so it’s safe to say that TripAdvisor is pretty reliable.

Financial
Vipps and DNB Mobilbank are the main apps I use for financial purposes.
Vipps is an app that allows direct money transfer regardless of your bank, you can send money requests to people, view all your transactions, pay your bills, and some places also accepts Vipps as a form of payment (which comes in handy if you forgot your credit card!). DNB mobilbank is my online bank account that provides many of the similar services as Vipps, but it also display my loans + mortgages, holds information about your point of contact in the bank, and display all my savings.

Entertainment
Netflix, Spotify, Viaplay, TV 2 Sumo, NRK TV, the Apple Podcast App and myTuner Radio are the apps I use for entertainment. I use Netflix and Viaplay to watch movies and my favorite tv-series and Spotify to listen to music, especially when working out (you can make your own playlists). On Tv 2 Sumo and NRK TV you can watch movies and tv-series, but also a wide range of Norwegian tv-shows are availible. The Apple Podcast app is one of the apps I use most frequently today, you can find any podcast in this app. myTuner Radio is great if you want to listen to the radio, as it displays most Norwegian radio channels.

News & Email
To keep myself updated on the news, I read VG, Dagbladet and Afterposten everyday. The three main news papers in Norway covers the entire news picture from all over the world. I use the Gmail app for email purposes, both for my blog and private purposes.

Me-time/Relaxation
Besides working out, I’ve made mindfulness and meditation a part of my life.
Two apps I use a lot is the Insight Timer and Calm. Insight Timer has an insanely huge library of content, including nearly 13,000 guided meditations from over 2,600 teachers on topics like stress, relationships, creativity, and more. Calm’s free offerings include basic mindfulness practices. These free meditations, about 25 in total, come in different lengths, from a quick 3-minute meditation to a half-hour sit. You can start off with 7 Days of Calm, a week-long beginners’ series that includes practices for cultivating awareness, returning to the breath when the mind wanders, and training for how to bounce back when the brain switches into “autopilot mode.” Calm also offers free sleep stories, a calm music section, and shorter meditation series. Both apps are completely free, with in-app purchases available. I also holds a Family Sports Club gym membership, so I use their app for signing in, to open doors, and to register for different workout classes.

Grocery Shopping
Æ, Coop and Mattilbud are my favorite apps for grocery shopping. Mattilbud displays all stores and their individual offers each week. When signing up, you fill in your zip code and county, so the app easily locates the offers in your area. Æ and Coop are apps for individual stores, which lists individuals offers available, but also display your shopping history and different coupons.

What apps do you use most frequently? 🙂

Homemade Apple Jam

Fall is the perfect season for apple picking and there are several ways to use them.. How about this homemade apple jam? With a golden color, sweet chunky texture and a hint of cinnamon, this apple jam is perfect on a slice of fresh bread, on top of your granola or maybe in a dessert..
Another big plus – it’s super quick and easy to make & almost free! 🙂

You can use any apples you want, but try to take advantage of the apples you can pick outside. If you don’t have an apple, tree don’t hesitate to ask someone that does, as many are happy that people use them instead of having to clean up tons of rotten apples from the ground..
It’s a win win for all!

Ingredients
A bucket of fresh apples (I used a 10 liter) – a splash of lemon juice – a pinch of cinnamon – 5 tbs of sugar

Directions
Fill a large bowl of water and add a splash of lemon juice. Peel and quarter all the apples, add them to the water as you work. The lemon water will prevent your apples of turning brown.

Add water, the apple peel and a splash of lemon juice into a big heavy bottomed pot and bring to a boil. Stir regularly and let it simmer for approximately 15 minutes. Once done, remove and throw away the apple peel. The lemon/apple peel infused water is the base for your jam.

Add the apples to the pot, along with the sugar and boil for approximately 30 minutes until you get a thick, chunky texture. Remember to stir often and be careful, as the jam is very hot. Depending on how you want your jam (liquid or with chunks of apples in it) and how big your chunks of apples are, you might need a stick blender if you want a liquid texture. I personally prefer small chunks of apples in it. Add cinnamon and taste to at the end.

Cool off before pouring into clean, sterilized jars or food containers (make sure you can freeze them). Keep in refrigerator for up until 5-6 days.

Enjoy!

Interesting links from around the web #9

A step-by-step guide on how to use yoga to de-stress in life

75 fun and free things to do in London

8 sustainable swaps I have made in my home” – Emily from Cupcakes & Cashmere

A full bowl of chips and Loaded Guacamole? I’m down!

The Everywhere Bag is the perfect weekender & carry-on bag

The 50 best movies on Netflix right now

Check out the High Line Dining Guide – “How to eat and drink your way up Manhattan’s West Side”

How to make a Greek frappé (φραπές) – the unofficial summertime national drink of Greece

What jobs will still be around in 20 years?

If you take the time to read this blog, this post is for you.

Hello to all you beautiful people, who actually take the time out of your day to read my blog and comment – I want you to know that I appreciate every single one of you! ♥

When I created this blog in January 2018, it was because I needed a creative outlet where I could write about things I have a great interest in and hopefully inspire others along the way. I haven’t been very consistent in my updates on this blog, but I’ll try to change that, as I truly enjoy blogging. Many find it annoying where there’s a lack of updates, myself included, I therefore want to make an effort to change that. It’s so much fun every time I log into my WordPress account and see all the activity online. I don’t care to much about the statistics per se (I don’t think it’s healthy to have that as a main focus), but it’s fun to see all the different countries represented. It’s literally people from around the world who found their way to my blog – and I love it!

And now, to the purpose of this post; I can see that many people are stopping by this blog and with me being in the beginners face of blogging, I have a question for you; what is it that you like about my blog? And is there any topics you would like me to focus more on? I personally enjoy writing a general lifestyle blog with focus on Bucketlist progress (how to live life to the fullest!), traveling and daily life, because that’s mainly my life summed up. However, it would be nice to communicate with the people who read this blog and as well all know, we all depend of constructive criticism, acknowledgement, and positive feedback in the things we do. It’s essential to receive, not only for improvement purposes, but it also provides me with an extra drive to do a better job! 😊

I want to thank you in advance for taking the time to provide me with some feedback, both good and bad, and I’m looking forward to hear from you all!

A simple & good breakfast

I love a good breakfast and some of my favorites includes baguettes with any type of spread or a delicious omelette, but sometimes I just prefer something easy and quick and that’s when I’m making this Greek yogurt with homemade granola, chia seeds, honey, and apple chunks!
I ate this a lot a for breakfast when I was living in the Netherlands and it’s been a favorite ever since.. If you’re tired of your regular breakfast or just want to try something new, you should definitely give this a try!

Ingredients

Homemade granola (recipe here) – acacia honey – chia seeds – Greek yogurt – apples

Directions

This recipe can’t be any easier; cut apples into small chunks and layer in a bowl with yogurt, honey, chia sees and apples. You can also switch out apples with other types of fruits, maybe fresh strawberries (if in season) or a berry mix (strawberries, raspberries and blueberries) – they’re both delicious. I recommend topping with an extra dash of granola, it’s soooo good!

Enjoy!

By best tips on how to relax in a hectic everyday life

Many claim it’s difficult to find the time to relax, but I think it all comes down to priorities. It’s the same whether it’s exercising, eating healthier, spending time with people who insert something positive to your life, etc. – it all comes down to what you put as a priority. Below, I’ve gathered some of the best ways to relax in a hectic everyday life (at least this is what works for me)..

Practice Yoga/Meditation/Mindfulness
I’m so glad i discover the world of yoga and mindfulness, it’s truly a great way to disconnect and de-stress from all the stress, obligations, and deadlines in life. Recently, I’ve been attending a fun yoga class at my gym (a mix between Thai chi, yoga, and meditation) and I love it! My gym is currently undergoing a huge renovation so the schedule has changed a bit, but I just discovered that my gym will offer classes in both Yoga flow, Yin Yoga, Bodyflow and Mobility and Streching when renovation is done – my goal is to try them all!

Get busy in the kitchen
I love cooking and there’s nothing better than trying out a new recipe while listening to a favorite podcast or music, and hope for a successful result (it’s not always the case). Cooking has a soothing and calming effect on me – you simply just follow the directions in a recipe and hopefully create something delicious! If looking for some cooking inspiration, take a look at Gaby’s blog!

Relax and dive into a good book
I still have quite a few unread books in my book shelf that I’m planning on diving into this fall. Reading is the perfect activity to de-stress and relax; light some candles, tuck yourself into a fluffy blanket and dig into a good book. Here’s some recommendations; Sycamore Row by John Grisham, Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews, and The Widow by Fiona Barton Barnet.

Get Active
Point one on the list definitely falls into this category, but being active in general i a great way to relax. You might associate working out or being active as exhausting, and while it might be true to a certain level (because it’s supposed to be exhausting), it’s also a great way to relax. Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier, more relaxed and less anxious, it promotes better sleep, it’s fun and social, and allows you to completely zone out if that’s what you want.. So keep on moving!

Limit screen time and listen to a podcast instead
While I do still watch a lot of TV, it’s safe to say that lot’s of my screen time have been replacing by audio. I listen to podcasts on a daily basis whether I’m working out, cleaning my apartment, I’m in the shower, cooking or laying in bed, it’s a great way to de-stress and relax. There are so many great podcasts out there, so it’s something for everyone. (If you need some recommendations, I did a blog post on my favorite podcasts a while back).

Spend time with people who insert positivity to your life
There’s nothing more negative, stressful and energy draining than surrounding yourself with people who brings negativity and stress into your life. If you feel stressed out, tired or feeling down, take a look at the people around you and consider the situation. Maybe there’s someone you need to remove from your life? It’s always worth considering, because most of the time we’re not even aware of it our self.

What’s you best tips for relaxing? 😊

Where to eat in Leiden – a previous “local’s” recommendations

I posted a Leiden Travel Recommendation on my blog a while back and to follow up on the post (in case you decide to take my recommendation and actually visit Leiden) a restaurant/coffee shop guide is a necessity! 😊 Whenever I visit someplace new, I’m always exited to check out all the restaurants and coffee shops – it’s a mission to locate all the hidden local gems. We all need food & drinks to fuel out bodies and in order to avoid bad dining experiences, I always try to do a little research before traveling. However, when moving to Leiden I was determined to just try out different places and it turned out it was the best thing ever – I came across so many great places! Even though it’s a fairly small city compared to Amsterdam, Leiden still offers a great selection of restaurants and coffee shops!

So without further ado, here are my favorite places to eat & drink in Leiden;

Belgisch Biercafé Olivier

This is the place for anyone that appreciates a good beer (of any kind!), wine, a good drink, and delicious Dutch bar food! As an upscale bar with a wide selection of over 200 types of beer, you’re guaranteed to find something you like. If going out for a drunken night, order the fries and mayonnaise from the bar food menu! The staff is very friendly and knowledgeable so if in doubt, don’t hesitate asking for recommendations. This place also offers a food menu (which I unfortunately haven’t tried) and have a big backyard/outdoor patio for warmer days. I actually lived above this place in the Netherlands and it’s very popular, especially during the weekends.

Anne & Max

Anne & Max is located on the Fanfetje, right next to the canal and close to the shopping street De Breestraat. It’s the perfect place for coffee, lunch and people’s watching. This all organic place has an inviting contemporary vibe, often filled with locals having lunch and catching up with friends. They have a great menu including delicious coffee/tea, sweet treats, and nutritious breakfast and lunch options. For drinks, I recommend their delicious homemade ice tea with mint and cappuccino. To satisfy your sweet tooth for breakfast, I recommend sweet morning on the menu (freshly squeezed orange juice, coffee or tea, a croissant, a warm flax-seed scone, clotted cream, strawberry jam and yogurt topped with a fruit salad). For a warmer breakfast try the oven-baked eggs with salmon/ham/bacon, sourdough bread and avocado on the side. For lunch, try their avocado toast or super club sandwich (chicken, bacon, avocado and a side of vegetable chips).

Happi Tosti

If you like a good grilled cheese sandwich, this is the place for you! Located in the heart of Leiden, this place offers the best grilled cheese sandwiches you have ever tried. They have a wide menu of sandwiches including chicken tex-mex. spicy choritzo, goat cheese, tropical, choco-banana, and the classical ham and cheese. I recommend the sandwich with multigrain bread, smoked ham and organic cheese with a side of pesto mayonnaise – it’s so good! This place is often filled with families or hungry students, but offers a cozy vibe. Try to get one of the spots outside if you can!

Coffee Company

When I was living in Leiden, this was my go-to-spot. If you would ask anyone where to find me, the answer would always be coffee company (of coffee co as we called it). It’s located across the street from Anne & Max and on the corner of De Breestraat. I recommend their iced latte with caramel and their au natural homemade ice tea – they’re both winners! You can also grab a delicious cookie or a muffin with your coffee. This place is a typical student coffee shop where the tables are set up for studying. Being a fairly small place, you can almost expect a fully packed place all the time. If the weather cooperates, you might be able to get a spot outside if you’re lucky!

De Waag

De Waag is more of a “high end place” compared to many places in Leiden and even though it’s a little pricey, it’s definitely worth a visit! This restaurant offers great food, delicious drinks and a great atmosphere in a monumental building in the center of Leiden – it’s a culinary hotspot!
I recommend their Mexican burger (with an ice cold corona on the side of course!) and the Portuguese chicken. If you’re lucky try to get a spot outside by the canal. This place is very popular among the Dutch population and especially after-work events/drinks, so a reservation is recommended.

City Hall Italian Bar & Bistro

As indicated in the name, this restaurant is located inside the City Hall of Leiden. The great combination of a beautiful location (right next to the canal!) and a characteristic building, makes this restaurant unique. I highly recommend the pizzas and pastas, which both are amazing. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday every week from 17.00-19.00 is “pizza pasta mania” where you get all pizzas and pastas for only €10! My favorites include pizza margarita, pizza with parma ham & zucchini, and penne pasta with chicken and pesto. For starters I recommend
the focaccia with Parma ham, buffalo mozzarella and sun-dried tomatoes. This place also have a large outdoor seating area, but a reservation is definitely recommended as this place is very popular.

Roos Cafe

This charming cafe probably has the most perfect location in the city of Leiden; located right next to the canal, the cafe also has a small outdoor area and a deck to sit on outside (if the weather cooperates). I recommend their ice coffee (that are served in cute mason jars), smoothie bowls and a sandwich of any kind.. they’re all delicious! They also have a great variety of cakes to satisfy your sweet tooth. This place is fairly small so it fills up quickly inside, so you better be early to make sure you get an table!

Very Italian Pizza

This was my go-to-place for having pizza when I was living in Leiden for two reasons; it’s very cheap (their most expensive pizza is €11!) and the pizza is the best – thin Italian crust loaded with any toppings you want! I recommend the pizza Hawaii (Ham and pineapple), Pollo (Smoked chicken, sweet peppers, red onion and pesto) and Italian (Pancetta (Italian bacon), fresh mozzarella and spinach). In addition to pizza, they also soups, salads, and a great selection of pastas. If heading to Amsterdam Schipol airport, this is an ideal place to grab lunch/dinner as it’s located only 5 minutes from Leiden Central Station and the food usually comes pretty quick. On a sunny day, try to get a seat outside on the deck!

Have you ever been to Leiden before? If not, please go and eat & drink yourself through town! 😊