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Christmas is in the air

6 Dec

I seriously can’t believe we are right in the thick of things with Christmas just 19 days away! Yikes! We got our official first snow in Helsingborg yesterday, which lasted a good 15 minutes and then went away. That is my favorite kind of snow. Over this past weekend Joachim and I met up with my good friend Lykke and her boyfriend Stefan to check out a Christmas market at a park called Fredriksdahl that is located just across the street from our apartment. We spent a few hours at the market on Sunday wandering around to the different stalls that were set up, selling different Swedish delicacies such as different breads, meats, cheeses, jams and sweets along with other little gifts you would find at a typical Christmas market.

What was also neat about this market was that they bring in old houses that have to be at least 200 years old and place them inside the park. Then, they have actors inside the house doing what a typical family would’ve been doing 200 years ago. And let me tell you one thing, THANK GOD I WASN’T AROUND BACK THEN! Yikes. I would definitely be one whiney little bit** if I had to endure the kind of stuff they did. More power to ’em.

Here are some of the pictures I snapped over the weekend:

All bundled up, waiting at the entrance for Lykke and Stefan

Typical stars that you’ll see in the window of every Swedish house during Christmas time  🙂

This one’s for you mom! A giant troll-thingie that costs 1,000 kr (equal to approx. 150 dollars). I would’ve bought it for you but then I would’ve had to pay for an extra seat on the flight home!

Accordion-playing men

Santa looks a bit different here, below is an attempt at capturing Swedish Santa through the window (Joachim didn’t have the patience to let me wait in line to snap a real one!)

Here he is!

My cute little guy trying to stay warm inside the barn

A stand full of sweet treats!

And finally, this one’s for you sister! You can buy your very own eel to have on the Christmas table this year!

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Happy Thanksgiving…a few days early!

21 Nov

Okay, let me address a few things to set the record straight:

1. Thanksgiving is NOT celebrated in Sweden…because the pilgrims didn’t settle here, the settled on PLYMOUTH ROCK in the United States of America.

2. We celebrated Thanksgiving this past Sunday because a. I have to work on Thursday and would have ZERO time to make Thanksgiving dinner and b. We will be seeing Joachim’s mom and grandma this weekend so I won’t have time then either.

3. As you will see in my pictures, there’s one thing missing…the turkey!! My mom tells this story-I’m still not sure if it’s true or if it’s just a cop-out because she doesn’t want to make a turkey every year- about when my sister and I were younger, she went to all this trouble to make this very nice turkey for Thanksgiving, stuffed the damn thing and all. Unfortunately, when she placed it on the table, Lindsay and I took one look at the bird and both started hysterically crying. I’m still not sure if it was because of this huge dead bird in front of us or maybe my mom just burnt the hell out of it (i think it was option a) but to this day my family just has turkey breast and ham on the big day. Also, if you know anything about me, it scares the living daylights out of me to eat anything straight off the bone (feels too cannibalistic to me) so we just have a nice little ham sitting at the end of the table 🙂

So, I hope I have answered all of the looming questions and will thus bless you with the great pictures I took of our feast.

–Someone watches a little too much Dexter…

And poor baby Enzo fell into a sleep coma after all that turkey ham!!

So there you have it, my FIRST ever Thanksgiving that I made by myself…in Sweden…where they don’t even celebrate Thanksgiving…and I didn’t even have a turkey. Oh c’mon, give me a break!!

The 30-day photo challenge

4 Oct

Happy Tuesday everyone!

I have decided to take part in the 30-day photo challenge that has been floating around the blogosphere. Each day-for the duration of 30 days- I will add a new picture with a new meaning. Day #1 is:

A picture of yourself with 10 facts:

10 facts:

1. I was born in Arlington, Virgina

2. I have been around the world (and seen a lotta places)

3. I love crappy reality TV (pretty much the only thing I watch)

4. I love to bake!

5. Working out and taking care of my body is a top priority

6. I love to be goofy and not take life too seriously

7. My boyfriend’s name is Joachim (Yew-Wah-Keem) and he was born and raised in Sweden. (Born in Stockholm, raised in Mora)

8. I love sports and can hang with the best of ’em

9. I have lived in quite a few places since I was born (and no my parents aren’t in the military): Virginia, New Jersey, Missouri, Colorado, Arizona, a ship (for 4 months) and Sweden

10. I have one older sister, Lindsay (25) and a mom and dad who are still together after 26+ years (I think it’s 26, I could be wrong though! lol)

I decided to try my luck at this 30-day challenge to really test my blogging skills and see if I can post and take pictures for 30 consecutive days! There might be times, here and there, when I’ll post about other things that are going on, but for the main part I will try my hardest to stick to my goal of the 30-day challenge. Also, since I usually don’t post on the weekends, the 30 days will be M-F (5 days a week), lasting for 6 weeks. Let’s see if I can last!

Mallorca

8 Sep

I really didn’t know what to expect going into this trip. I knew that we were going to have fun but little did I know how much fun we were really going to have.

Let me just start off by saying this: Jan, a man from my company who was in charge of planning everything for the trip, flew down to Mallorca a few months ago (on his own time) to check out all the places we were going and to make sure they were “on point.” That being said…every single thing we did literally took my breath away.

I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking but let me say this: the hotel we stayed at was owned by a Swede so we got the royal treatment (free drinks, partied with the owner, was dubbed the honorary bar tender for a bit during the last night, etc.).

Also, an adorable Spanish family consisting of a husband and wife and their daughter owned the vineyard we toured. I was so impressed by their vineyard and villa that at the end of the tour I asked if they did weddings. Don’t worry, Joachim and I are not at that point yet, but I just wanted to know for future reference. (By the way, the answer was no, but there was another villa/vineyard that looked like theirs 20 minutes up the road that does weddings. I’ll keep this in mind). This was my first trip to a vineyard and now I am a bit scared that every one I ever go to will never live up to this one. After the tour we had tapas and a wine tasting in their garden with flowers and leaves canopying over us. Pure bliss. Oh, and did I mention the old man who owned the vineyard was ADORABLE?!

Attended a local beach after the wine tour that was blasting house music out of multiple speakers and had the quintessential tiki bar located just steps from the water.

We also went to an Argentinean restaurant located on a hill about 15 minutes from our hotel. As most of you know I’m not the biggest meat eater in the world but this meat was literally cooked so well I barely needed my knife. Great conversation and amazing wine were of course accompanied with the food.

Some of us decided that we needed to see more of the inner city so our last day there we walked toward the center of town where there is a beautiful cathedral built by a king back in the day that took 100 years to build! He built it so he could be buried in it, but it took too long to build it and he died before it was finished. What a bummer. It was breathtakingly beautiful and was perched atop a hill overlooking the ocean. We wandered around the small streets and went window-shopping for quite some time. The city was very clean and very “livable.” I seriously think I could live in Mallorca for a few years. No joke.

For our last night in town we went to the most beautiful Italian restaurant that was situated on the edge of a cliff, overlooking the ocean. I think it was probably the most beautiful restaurant I have ever been to and I couldn’t stop saying to myself “is this real?!” The food was to die for and the conversation that night was wonderful. I finally got over the hump of only drinking white wine and now consider myself an all-around wine drinker. Yippee!

I feel truly blessed to work for such an amazing company with equally amazing people. I left this trip thinking to myself “how am I so lucky to be here and have this amazing opportunity to grow and find new things in life?” I also realized that while I was in Mallorca, it happened to be the one-year anniversary of the day I actually moved to Sweden. I could’ve never imagined that a year later I would be sitting with my coworkers from the best advertising agency in Sweden on the most beautiful island I’ve ever been on. Life is truly amazing.

And now I realize, above I said I was going to let the pictures do most of the talking but that didn’t happen. Sorry I wrote so much but I really wanted you guys to understand what went on while we were there. I hope you all some day plan on going to Mallorca and experiencing it for yourselves.

Just what I needed

29 Aug

My parents are officially back home in the States and we couldn’t of had a better time while they were here. Those ten days seemed to fly by so quickly and here I sit, looking back on it all and wondering if they were even really here. I’ll give you a quick recap of our activities so I can catch you all up on what went on while they were here.

First, my parents were really taken back by the town that I live in (Helsingborg). I don’t think they expected Helsingborg to be as beautiful and quaint as it really is. We spent many days just wandering around the town, stopping for coffee, lunch, shopping and many photo opps. We headed to Stockholm for three days where we wandered around Gamla Stan (Old Town), which was conveniently located just down the hill from our hotel, went on a boat tour around the city, sat outside and drank coffee at a café in the middle of a square (my mom’s one request), watched the changing of the guards at the royal palace, ate delicious dinners and got a chance to be a family again.

 

Once we were back down south again, we headed up the coast toward Mölle, which is a town along the coastline, where we parked and walked through a forest that ends at the tip of the coast with extraordinary views. My mom also made it a point to outfit our cat with everything possible to make it feel “at home” in our apartment. With the new kitty litter box (with a roof on it to keep the smell down), new toys, a new three-story kitty tower, food, treats, etc. I think Enzo may be the most spoiled cat in Helsingborg.

The day before they left, we took the train down to Copenhagen (where their flight was departing from) and checked into the Hilton next to the airport to make the bag transfer and check-in as easy as possible for the next morning. We took the rest of that afternoon to check out Copenhagen where we had lunch alongside the water in which a jazz trio had just happened to set up shop next to where we were sitting. After lunch, we took yet another boat tour but this time around Copenhagen. After the tour, we shopped a little then headed back to our hotel to enjoy our last night together.

I can’t imagine doing anything different while they were here. Everything just seemed to happen as it should and we all had such a great time together. Saying goodbye is never easy and I’m still trying to get over the fact that they’ve already come and gone.

108 days left until I am home again.

I love you mom and dad! I am so lucky that I have two parents who would travel across the world to hang out with me (especially with a few broken ribs). I can’t wait until we are all back together and can have our family all in one place again.

Cooking Anxiety

5 May

So last night I was eager to try my new “Thai Coconut Curry Shrimp” recipe that I recently found, here. I headed to the store after my body pump class and picked up the necessary ingredients including a bottle of fish sauce.  I was a bit weary of using fish sauce because I’ve heard how bad the smell is, but I decided to pick up a bottle anyway so I could follow the recipe to the “t.” Anyway, I raced home, deveined the shrimp (the only bags available were with the WHOLE shrimp, eyes and all, so deveining took about 30 minutes) and I started chopping the necessary vegetables. I had just poured in the coconut milk and was getting ready to put in the fish sauce. I reached for the bottle and realized there was a seal on the top of the bottle that wouldn’t budge. I picked up the knife (which we JUST bought at IKEA and is super-duper sharp) and tried to cut off the lid. Bad idea. The knife slipped right off the lid and straight into the top of my left wrist. I immediately ran it under water and grabbed some toilet paper to cover it. Realizing the toilet paper was going to do it justice, I grabbed a (clean) kitchen towel, wrapped my wrist and put pressure on it so I could call Joachim. Mind you, I was home alone at the time. Joachim, who was at work, can’t usually answer his phone on the job because he is busy answering phones for his company, so I didn’t reach him on the first try. Knowing my cut was pretty darn deep; I ran out of our apartment and knocked on our neighbor’s door. The old lady answered and I immediately asked if she spoke English. She said she did so I managed to tell her what I had done but she was a bit confused about where I lived, exactly. I tried to convince her that I was her new neighbor, but that was beside the point. I told her what I had done and asked what I should do, and she responded, “I don’t know, go downstairs”! At this point, I was getting a bit nervous about my hand falling off that I decided to call Joachim one more time. Luckily, this time he answered, I told him what happened and he rushed home from work to take me to the hospital.

This might be a bit graphic but when I uncovered my wrist to show him the damage I saw what looked like a piece of green onion stuck in my cut. When I tried to wash it away, I realized that wasn’t a green onion…it was one of my veins popping out! Omg. That was the last time I looked at the cut.

Anyway, we arrived at the hospital and got pretty speedy service upon arrival. The nurse was really nice and cleaned my cut and gave me some pain medicine while I waited for the doctor, who had been just called to another part of the hospital for an emergency. After about 15 minutes, the doctor came in and introduced himself. He did some quick finger tests to make sure that I still had feeling in my pointer finger and thumb because he said he could see my tendons. Luckily, the tendons were still in tact so he went on and gave me 5 stitches and sent me on my way.

the damage

Another side note, the doctor asked me where I was from and I responded “the United States.” Before I moved here, when I would travel I figured it was obvious that I was from the U.S. so I when people asked me where I was from, I would say Colorado. But, once I moved here and responded with “Colorado,” people were dumbfounded about where in the hell that was, so I resort to sticking with the U.S. ANYWAY! After I said the U.S. he kind of gave me this look like “OBVIOUSLY” and I went on to tell him that I was from the big CO. Come to find out, he’s been to Colorado about 10 times and has been hiking/camping in Estes Park every time. While he was stitching me up we talked about the Rocky Mountain National Park and about how he wanted to live in Boulder once he retires. I was in and out of the hospital within an hour and managed to have a pretty good experience for the circumstances.

All in all, I’m feeling fine today. My left hand is a bit sore just because of where the stitches are placed. I can get my stitches out in 10-12 days and I should be as good as new. I am actually starting to feel a bit scared to pick up that knife again, but I know that I just need to take things more slowly and be a bit more careful.

Feeling good!

That’s all for now. Be safe in the kitchen…especially with big knives. And, Happy Cinco de Mayo!

–Hadley

Blog inspiration

28 Apr

Ever since I’ve moved to Sweden, I have found myself reading more and more (amazing) blogs that  have truly inspired me. The ones that I usually find myself reading are usually fashion/interior design/cooking/style blogs all mashed into one. I have decided that I want to add some of these features into my blog so I can find more inspirations to write instead of just giving updates.

Which leads me to my first food/recipe post.

A big thing here in Sweden is to have “fika”- or coffee and sweets break- towards the end of the week. Fortunately, my company provides the sweets for us- ranging anywhere from cinnamon rolls (kanelbullar) to fresh berry cheesecakes. At Joachim’s job, they too have these so-called fikas but they take a more “someone is delegated to bring in a treat on a specific day” approach. Thus, today was Joachim’s turn to bring something so I was the the one who was declared the “head baker” last night. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love to bake-cookies, brownies, cakes, muffins, really anything triggers my baking bliss. I think this stems from memories of my mom and I spending days in the kitchen baking sweets ever since I was little. Even now, we usually spend a day or two in the kitchen around Christmas time and make as many cookies as humanly possible. Which cookies did I make last night, you ask? Of course, my infamous chocolate chip cookies that I wrote about in my blog post yesterday. I managed to snap some pictures on my iPhone of the sweet, little things which will have to suffice until I get a better camera to use for my new **updated** blog.

I am weary of whether or not I should let you in on my SECRET recipe… I guess if I get enough comments about wanting the recipe, I’ll have to put it up 🙂 Enjoy! And try not to salivate too much over the pictures!