Winter Break in Pittsburgh

For Christmas & Winter break, I decided to visit my sister and booked a flight to Pittsburgh, USA. Pittsburgh is definitely not the biggest city in the US, however, it’s very calm, and if you’re there visiting family for winter holidays, it’s quite cosy and a lot of fun. 🙂

As I said previously, I travelled to Pittsburgh, so I can spend Christmas and some of the winter break with my sister. It was such a long trip, because in December, there are no direct flights from Europe, so I had two layovers and had to change three airplanes. OMG. It was exhausting. BUT I MADE IT! And the journey as a whole was actually so much fun, especially when travelling alone, and having the ability to be more independent.

What to do in Pittsburgh, PA?

There is a lot of things to do in Pittsburgh, however I only spent a week there, and I couldn’t possibly to everything. Here are some of the places you might consider going to if you’re ever in Pittsburgh:

Mount Washington (Pittsburgh)

If you wish to take some amazing, pro photos, then you need to go up to Mount Washington. It is a hill, and you get to it by crossing the bridge over Monongahela River from Downtown. It doesn’t take long to get there, and the view is amazing. I went up there on an extremely cloudy day, so my photos look very dark, grey and gloomy. If you’re here on a sunny day, or in the summertime, your photos will probably be much much better. 😀

Ross Park Mall

This is a veeeery big shopping centre, a bit outside Pittsburgh. It has a Macy’s store, a Nordstrom and many shops including Bath & Body Works, Banana Republic, American Eagle, etc.

Gaucho Parilla Argentina

Yes we are in the US, not Argentina itself, but the food here is AMAZING. Still had leftovers of it at home because the portions are huge, but it tastes so so good.

PPG Plaza

This is the most exciting and urban-like place to visit during Christmas. There is an ice-skating rink, a very tall Christmas Tree and many different food stands where you can get a hot drink and some pastries. I would definitely recommend visiting, as it puts you in a real christmassy mood, especially in the evening when you’re surrounded by Christmas lights.

Well, this is all about my week in Pittsburgh, PA! I hope you enjoyed reading the post, make sure to give it a like, and comment if you have any questions, or would like to add information about Pittsburgh which I haven’t mentioned!

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas, and I wish you all the best in the New Year. Let’s go, 2019!

– D

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Mindfulness

Ahhhhh… I didn’t get to write over the past few weeks as I had a huge amount of work to complete for school. The last year of high school is just so much pressure. Maybe you can relate, however old you are or wherever you are reading this in the world.

Last week, my school organised an event where they talked about mindfulness, and about managing stress & anxiety. I found the presentation so helpful, as I am a person who literally feels stressed every single day, where this is created from constant overthinking and perfectionism. The overthinking and the worrying then develop into anxiety – a loop is created where I’d feel down and miserable and find it hard to feel uplifted and optimistic again. The presentation I attended talked through processes which could control and minimise stress and anxiety, and so I’d like to share my thoughts about what I’ve learned from it, and how my attitude towards things changed (where I finally started to worry much less about everything!!).

Talk to people about your worries

You shouldn’t be one of those people who worry if others want to listen to you or your worries. The right people will want to listen and help you out, that’s why they are your friends and/or family. Anyone  will most probably take their time and talk to you if you tell them it’s important. The best is to talk with a close friend or family member and this is because they already know you and can therefore help you best.

Mindfulness and relaxation

The main idea of mindfulness is to live in the moment. Yes, at first, this sounds surreal. Aren’t we already living-in-the-moment? We are not, actually! Living in the moment means forgetting (or putting aside) things that happened yesterday, and things that are to come tomorrow. Anxiety doesn’t have to come from negative thoughts. It can pretty much burden you from constantly thinking about either good or bad stuff, so simultaneously, you are not thinking about, or living in the present. If you decide to meet up with a friend, talk to them! This sounds silly, but don’t think about your work/school assignment or presentation that takes place tomorrow.. just be in the present and enjoy the moment. When you make yourself a meal, taste every ingredient when you eat. Pay attention to smaller details, to which you wouldn’t have necessarily thought about before… Lastly, if you do keep on feeling anxious, restless… take a break! Stop what you’re doing. Sit down, or even lay down if you can, and relax for 5 minutes. Take a deep breath in, and then out. Repeat this several times until you feel more relaxed. Don’t let anyone disturb you, or talk to you, or distract you. It is 5 minutes of your whole day, so everyone should understand and you shouldn’t worry either, as you have the whole day to finish off what you need to do.

Google actually has some pretty good advice on how to unwind and minimise anxiety

Googling answers to specific questions can sometimes be surprising, helpful, but sometimes it can also give so many responses that you start stressing even more, especially if they’re negative. When I was dealing with anxiety a lot, I googled tips on how to minimise this. I also looked for tips on how to stop overthinking. Here are some useful links:

https://www.headspace.com/blog/2017/06/01/stop-overthinking-start-living/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/what-mentally-strong-people-dont-do/201602/6-tips-stop-overthinking

The best thing to do is to keep yourself occupied. Make sure you have a hobby, that you’re active and that you have close people who you can talk to. If you have any questions or would like to add something, please do write it in the comments below.

Have a happy week! 😀

– D

A Week in Koblenz

Last week I travelled to Koblenz, Germany. It was such an amazing experience – staying with a German family, working in a museum, and improving my German language skills.

As soon as I got to Koblenz, I fell in love with the town. It’s quite a small place, however, there’s so much to do and see. The food is also quite DELICIOUS. Yes.. I ate Currywurst THREE TIMES in one week!

Top Touristic Places

There are some parts of Koblenz which you need to see, such as the Deutsches Eck. I arrived to Koblenz on November 10th, and exactly the next day, there was a sort of celebration in the town called St Martins Umzug (St Martin’s Procession). There was a group of people playing the traditional music live for this celebration and it was such a cosy and fun experience!

Another good place to visit is the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress. It’s sooo beautiful, and the view of Koblenz from it is spectacular. The fortress is also the place where I had my work experience for the week. I woke up every day at around 6am, had quick breakfast, hopped on a bus, walked to buy lunch for the day, took a lift up the hill to the fortress – and then finally got to the office! I got to know some amazing people there, and really improve my German and learn more about office-language, which I didn’t really look into before.

Food in Koblenz

I love street food!! Hot-dogs, kebabs, and currywurst are a must to try if you’re visiting Koblenz. Bon’n Frietjes is the best place to eat Currywurst. The best Döner Kebab place is probably YA Döner, which is located in Forum (the Big Central Shopping Centre of Koblenz – located at Zentralplatz). More good restaurants/cafés include: Café Einstein, Alex, VapianoGalestro, etc.

Autumn in Koblenz

I mentioned this in a previous post, but Autumn is absolutely my favourite season! I was so excited when I saw the beautiful nature’s red, orange, yellow, brown and green colours – really really pretty. Obviously, I took some photos of it, just because of the aesthetic, haha.. Apart from food, I went to the cinema and saw a German film called Der Vorname and I am actually happy that I understood most of it (YAY!) and it was quite funny too! I definitely recommend the cinema in Koblenz – the one I went to was called Apollo.

Day trip to Venlo, Netherlands

The museum I worked at in Koblenz organised a day trip to Venlo, Netherlands, in order to visit another museum (Limburg’s Museum) and look at different exhibitions. I loved the archaeology parts of the museum, and I enjoyed the Dutch architecture and nature. Here are some of the photos I took.. by the way – I was there for ONE DAY ONLY.. so I’m happy that I managed to take a couple of photos at least!!

Well, I hope you found today’s post interesting! If you’ve ever been to Koblenz, please comment which parts of the town you liked the most, and if you have any recommendations, or if you think I missed out on something, do say! 😀

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope to see you again soon. 🙂

Love you all,

– D

 

 

Autumn is the time to relax & unwind

This week, it FINALLY started to feel like proper Autumn – the wind, the rain & thunder and the cold weather. I was thinking of writing about what I find so special about Autumn, why it is my favourite time of the year, and give some of my tips for what do to in Autumn!

Okay..so.. everyone in my family will disagree with me, but I think Autumn and Winter are just the most beautiful seasons! There’s just something about having a hot cup of coffee (or tea 🙂 ), sitting in your garden (or getting cosy in a blanket and looking out the window) and watching the nature change its colours. As I live in the south of Spain for a few years already, I genuinely miss the Autumn colours and the Winter snow. Here are some of the things I like to do every Autumn:

Cooking and Baking

Ok – this is one of my favourite hobbies. Yes, you can obviously cook and bake throughout the whole year, but in Autumn, you get to make dishes that give a more autumnal vibe. You can finally use pumpkin spice, cinnamon and other ingredients when baking – without feeling silly (because let’s face it, if you love baking like I do, you’ll end up making gingerbread cookies or such in Summer, too 🙂 ) If your hobby is cooking, then go online and find some new recipes to try out! Hopefully you’ll have fun and feel that you’ve done something productive as well.

Afternoon walks around the neighbourhood

Yes it’s cold, and rainy and some days it’s even freezing, but I’m weird and I love this kind of weather. I also love wearing jumpers and coats and scarves… I could go on haha. The best days in Autumn are those cold days with some sunshine, when it’s not too cold, but pleasant enough to go for a walk around the neighborhood. If you live in a bigger town or city, stop by a cafe and have a pumpkin spice latte or some other hot beverage! If you’re in a position where you’re able to work from home, why not take your laptop to the cafe one day, and spend your morning there. Just a little change in your daily routine could brighten up your mood.

Spending time with friends and family

I already feel festive! This time of the year, I feel as if there are so many holidays (after Halloween is over, I immediately focus on Christmas) and this makes Autumn the perfect time to spend more time with friends and family. On weekends, organise a lunch or supper and invite your close ones, and then maybe watch a movie that you all like. In my family, we usually watch Something’s Gotta Give or It’s Complicated, and make tons of popcorn (which as usual, we finish the first 5 minutes of the film).

Read more books

I’ve never exactly been an avid reader, but I do love books! I am very picky, so it takes ages for me to choose which one I’m going to read. Because it’s colder outside, it’s the perfect excuse to stay inside and read that new book you just got. Put on some nice relaxing music, wrap yourself in a blanket, and get cosy on your sofa with your book!

Relax more & overthink less

This advice is something I remind myself of every single day, no matter the time of the year. I am a person who constantly overthinks and can’t possibly take a minute to relax. I think this comes from me being a perfectionist and I can’t be satisfied with what I’ve done unless it is perfect or at least as close to it. In order to overcome this, I constantly remind myself that whatever I do, I am trying my best and that sometimes it is a must to just leave everything that I’m doing and relax for a bit. Hobbies such as cooking, playing the piano or just simply taking a nap help.

Hope you found this interesting & useful. Please tell me what your favourite things to do in Autumn are, and write your comment down below!

Have a happy & relaxed week. 😀

– D

 

What to do in Oslo

In the summer of 2017, my sister and I took a trip to Oslo, Norway. It was such a fantastic trip, because I got to see this beautiful town and experience the Norwegian food and culture (I am lowkey a foodie, so you will come across food a lot here and many restaurants with ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS food will be recommended as well!). The first thing I noticed about this city is how unique it is because of its geography: it has hills, flat land, and not to forget, a huge port, which is probably one of the most stunning places in Oslo. The atmosphere at Aker Brygge is just so vibrant and there are so many restaurants, cozy cafes, as well as lots of people to meet.

Ekebergparken & Sørenga

So… one of the most breathtaking places in Oslo were the Ekebergparken and the Sørenga area. Ekebergparken was so calming because once you’re there, you are immediately surrounded by nature. Everything is green, there are so many trees and the best part is that you have the complete view of the city from there. Also, if you’re an absolute lover of public transport (like me!), then you can easily get to Ekebergparken by tram. Fortunately, the park was on the completely opposite side of town from where I stayed (Frogner), so I basically considered travelling by tram a form of sightseeing, as you travel through the city on your way to here.

Sørenga is probably one of the most popular summer locations for both locals and tourists (there’s just so many people there!) and if you wish to visit it, I’d recommend going around 8pm, during the sunset as it is so stunning and you can take some fantastic pictures as well. For me personally, it was still too cold to swim in the sea, EVEN THOUGH  IT WAS MID-JULY. If you’re like me, then you can just have a drink and enjoy some really good music.

IMG-2237

View of Aker Brygge from the Oslofjord tour boat.

What about food?

As I mentioned previously, Aker Brygge is one of the other popular places, where you can try amazing food and enjoy the atmosphere of walking by the sea and just appreciate the architecture. Some restaurants that I visited include Peppes Pizza, where the pizza is honestly so tasty, and I loved it especially because there’s a variety of dishes to choose from. The second place is Olivia Aker Brygge. I believe this is actually a restaurant chain, as I’ve seen many around Oslo. My sister and I must’ve been to this restaurant at least three times, because their salmon was spectacular (you can see the photos below!). Lastly, if you’re just looking to have some coffee and croissants, make sure to stop by Kaffebrenneriet. Again, there are so many around Oslo, you’ll find it at corners of many different streets. The one I’ve been to was located at Skovveien 8, in the Frogner district, where I stayed.

Don’t forget that most restaurants in Oslo are quite pricey. I would definitely advise to check the price as many restaurants were unexpectedly expensive. I hope you do enjoy Oslo if you ever decide to travel there, the people are so welcoming and even though it’s a big city, it is actually quite relaxing and calming because of the nature and greenery that you’re constantly surrounded by. Here are some more pictures I took. Enjoy. 🙂

If you’ve ever been to Oslo, please feel free to share your experience and thoughts in the comments section below. Also, if you have any questions, just write them down in the comment box!

Until next time,

– D