February 14, 2014

Valentines Day ❤

Today marks the day of my very first Valentines Day dinner date with Sam! This is our fifth Valentines Day together... so why did we never go on a date before?  I don't want to blame it on hockey... but it is because of hockey.

The first two Valentines days he was in Toronto, and I couldn't travel to be there with him at that time.  I believe I sent him a big pink envelope of LOVE stuff.  Some mixed CD's, pictures, letters, complete with heart stickers.  I'm sure we skyped and had a fun loving time! 

The third Valentines Day we were in Oskarshamn, Sweden.  I was going about my normal activities when something clicked in my head (around 4 pm) when I realized it was Valentines day!    The same thing happened to Sam at the rink, I think he grabbed flowers and chocolate on the way home! We both had gotten confused and thought that it was the next day, an away-game day. I think we ended up making a romantic dinner at home with the few hours we had left!

The fourth Valentines Day we were again in Oskarshamn.  Having gone to most of the restaurants in town too many times, we decided to have a baking cookie Valentines Day. I believe we had take-out from of one of our favorite places Åstroms. We made heart sugar cookies and decorated them in shades of pink with sprinkles! It was so much fun, and a playful way to celebrate Valentines Day! 


This Valentines Day we planned ahead and made reservations at a place called Mississippi Inn here in Stockholm. It was recommended by a friend. When I got home from the gym Sam was already home from practice and had red roses and chocolate waiting for me on the kitchen table.  I had picked up some chocolate and Oreos for him on the way home as well!  I also got Raylan a new red toy for her Valentines present, she loves it, hasn't put it down all day! The day flew by and next thing you know we were at dinner.  Sam had barbecue ribs.  I guess that is an acceptable choice five years in, bbq face is such a sexy look. Just kidding, he ate if like he knew what he was doing.  At dinner I asked Sam what his favorite love memory (I had to explain as the moment when you felt the most love) was that past year.  He said it was when he was on the couch and I had fallen asleep on on side of him snuggling, and Raylan had done the same thing on the other side.  He said he felt so much love from both of us in that moment. For me it was walking around with Sam in the dark through the old town of Prague this past December. What is your moment this past year when you felt the most love?







 We came home and decide to watch Valentines Day (the movie) and remembered how boring it is and stopped about 1/4 way through.  Now we are all three snuggling on the couch watching some of the Olympic Games!  It was such a wonderful evening, I enjoyed getting to go on a date with my boyfriend! 

What is your favorite thing to do on Valentines day? Anybody else have trouble celebrating Valentines Day without life getting in the way?

I hope everyone feels some love today, because everyone deserves to be loved on Valentines Day & every day! 

❤ Cacilie 



February 13, 2014

The Best of 2013

Not yet have I had the chance to reflect on all of the blessing last year brought me.  It was a fast, busy, memorable and life changing year!  Honestly I cannot believe we are already almost half way through February, 2014!! 

I know I will most likely forget a few wonderful moments on here, but I will do my best to remember! 

1.  Sam and I got a puppy, a beautiful sweet little girl named Raylan.  She is a Giant Schnauzer and has changed every minute of our lives since we welcomed her in!  She is now 53 pounds and 100% perfect for us! 


2.  We moved from Oskarshamn to Stockholm for Sam's hockey.  Stockholm is roughly 100x bigger than Oskarshamn, so there is so much more to do this year!  I do find myself missing the open space and fresh air of a smaller town, but I love the multitude of frozen yogurt bars, shopping, Starbucks, and dog parks.  




3.  I started this blog! It is a time consumer, thought sharer, and connection keeper.  I love all that it brings to my life and the lives of everyone who reads it.  

4.  I planned my absolute dream wedding all summer!  The big day is this summer, June 14th at Villa Bellezza.  I do have to give my mom a special shout out here.  Without all of her help, organizing, and knowledge I would not be so sure that the day will everything I had dreamed of. 

5.  Last year brought many travels.  Days after my arrival home from Oskarshamn I went out east with my family to New York City, and Washington, D.C.  A few weeks later we went with Sam's parents down to Naples, FL to visit Sam's grandparents and to soak up the sun!  My little sister and I went on a little road-trip to Milwaukee for a week this summer to visit my brother and his girlfriend.  Then the big trip over to Sweden.  When my mom and grandma were in town we went up north in Sweden to Ormsjo. Then in November I met up with my dad and brother in Riga, Latvia, we spent a week traveling thought Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.  Fast forward a few weeks and we were in Berlin for five days, followed by Christmas in Prague.  Phew... makes me tired thinking about all that travel!  




  


6.  A new found love of calamari, and scallops. 

7.  Finally figuring out the solution to many of my problems was completely cutting gluten out of my life!  It is not fun to not be able to eat many things that I used to love.  However, the benefits far outweigh the momentary disappointment of not being able to eat the fresh warm basket of bread when starving and waiting for my meal at a restaurant, or not getting to have cookie dough in my ice cream. 

8.  Another fabulous year of living abroad under our belts!  Honestly, I am so grateful for this experience every day.   With that, we made so many new friends in 2013, some of them we relatives we didn't even know we had!  One of the best parts of living abroad is when we have family and friends come to visit!  Definite highlight of 2013 was starting the year off with my whole family, and Karl's girlfriend being in Sweden.  Then in Stockholm we had many visitors in 2013, my mother, grandmother, sister, and Sam's parents.  It was so much fun being tourist in Stockholm with all of them.  


 


9.  I reconnected with one of my very best friends.  We had fallen apart for about three years when we decided we missed each other too much and decided to meet up for dinner.  It was as if no time had passed and she is such a positive influence in my life.  

10.  My brother moved back to the U.S. which means that I will for sure see him every summer when we are home from the hockey season!  Such a relief, I love him way to much for go more than eight months without at least one hug from him.  

I created this list in no particular order, except the #1.  Raylan coming into our lives was by far the best part of 2013.  I know I am most likely forgetting some pretty important things that happened last year,  but I am human and I forget things.  Please remind me if you think of something and I will add it to the list! 

I have a feeling I know what will be the best part of 2014! Any guesses?  


With lots of love for the past, present, and future, 

xoxo

Cacilie 



February 9, 2014

feeling blessed

Today I was going about normal day to day activities when I was reminded how scary this thing we call life really is, and how quickly it can change.  


I am the kind of person who even though nobody got hurt, still sits here in shock and needs a good hug when my fiancé's team bus burns to the ground.   I was so shocked when my friend sent me a link to the article and photo about it happening today.   All of a sudden my mind was flooded with way too many thoughts! 

"Were the boys on the bus today?" 
"Where is Sam? I should really call Sam!"
"Oh no, what if something happened?"
"Did people get hurt?"

I then got shaky, sweaty, sad, cold, nervous, basically a bundle of emotions! All of this happened before google even had the time to translate the webpage for me!  I soon found out that the bus driver was the only one on board, and he got off of the bus in time to remain unharmed!  They didn't say why the fire started, just that it happened this morning.  This is still terrifying to me!  The hockey team spends so many hours on that bus, it is truly a miracle that they were not on it when this 'mystery' fire started.  I would like to think that a full team of hockey boys would have been able to to get off the bus fast enough, had this happened while they were onboard, but you never know.  Hopefully the new team bus is a better one, actually I pray it is a better one!! 


As I write this blog, I am reminded of all of the blessings in my life.  I can see Sam and Raylan both sleeping peacefully on the couch.  I have loving family and friends here, and back home.  We live in a cozy safe apartment, with delicious warm food.  Everywhere I look I see blessings small and large.  I am so happy that my life is just the way it is today, and that nothing is changed.  


sending love today to everyone
xoxo
Cacilie 
  





February 4, 2014

My Rockstar Fiancé


Sam, Steve, and Dustin the day of recording!


I really mean it, Sam is now a certified Rockstar.  Oh my, I cannot keep a straight face while saying that, but it is true.  Sam and two of his teammates are climbing the charts here in Sweden with their new single, Wicked Games!  They call themselves, The Saviano Express.  Ok, I am lying on that part.  The guys don't call themselves that. They were given that name by the producer (Fredrik Olsson).   




Itunes Chart just days after the song was released! (Released January 27, 2014)


I did purchase this delightful melody.  Music to my ears... I hope I don't regret writing this on here.. but sadly not music to my ears.  The genre (metal) is not my usual 'go to', its basically my absolute never 'go to'.  That being said, I still LOVE this song! The intro is my favorite, its really the only part where you can hear each guy say a little line, I find it incredibly adorable! 




Lyrics
A sleeping giant faces dawn
And the league where we belong
A yellow, red and blue machine
Coming at you feirce and strong
On broken wings we're rising
This is the season all will change
And the wicked games we play 
Keeping all the hicks at bay 
Our colors never run as we all bring you 
down, down, down
Watch us storm the ice again
Dwarfing what stands pine
Everytime we play our game
disabling Their Control
Full speed ahead now, teammates
From our dreadful dreams we will wake
And the wicked games we play 
Keeping all the hicks at bay 
Our colors never run as we all bring you 
down, down, down
Beat them through the five hole
Buzz around the net Still pitching a shutout
A night we will not forget
Looking for the equalizer
We've got a bench cleaning brawl
Stand them up on the blueline
Hear our crowd roar


The 'Studio'


The wonderful people who made it happen! 

February 2, 2014

Humlegården




One thing that visitors mean, is that I get tired and have many activities to do.  For Raylan they more often than not mean quite the opposite.  So I knew as soon as I was able, it was back to long walks, dog sledding and afternoons at the dog park!

Today I wasted no time and braved the cold. I went straight from dropping my friend Kirsten off at the airport directly to the dog park.  We went to one downtown in Humlegården


 Some videos at the park of the dogs all playing!  

I have never seen quite so many dogs there at one time!  Some of them I recognized, but most of them Raylan had never met.  She was a bit apprehensive about entering.  She was definitely smaller than the majority of the dogs today.  There were two Great Danes, one 80kg and the other slightly smaller.  There were many other large breeds there as well.  Some of the dogs we saw today were, a couple of Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Golden Retrievers, a German Pointer/Vizsla mix (adorable!), a few Whippets, a couple of Poodles, an Irish Wolfhound, a few Jack Russell Terriers and we even saw another Giant Schnauzer! 

We ended up staying almost two hours! She was so covered in other dog saliva that she went straight into the shower once we got home.  It is now 11pm and Raylan is still sleeping, that is what I like to call a successful day at the dog park!  

February 1, 2014

The Tastes of Hungary

One of the main things that we did in Budapest was eat, and we enjoyed almost every bite!  We experienced quite a range of restaurants, from a modern fast casual one to a romantic candlelit dinner with plate cloches.  


For lunch the first day we found an interesting building on steamy water (we were very near to the thermal bath, so safe to assume that this waster was fed by the same thermal springs).  The building was surrounded by ducks, and you had to walk across a small bridge to get inside.  This restaurant was fairly empty due to it being very low season travel time.  Our food came and the portions were very generous and delicious! This was our fist experience with rich Hungarian food!  Even the grilled vegetables were oozing with flavor.  Don't get me wrong, this was a very nice restaurant, Arnold Schwarzenegger ate there when he visited.  I did see one freaky thing inside, scurry across the edge of the floor! A little mouse! Thankfully I was wearing boots and had finished eating.  The restaurant was called Robinson and its location makes it perfect for before or after the thermal bath!  We went shopping afterwards, grabbed some coffee and tried some beautiful cakes! 




The steaming water and ducks!





Gluten-Free Almond Cake



                                                           Walnut Cream Cake


Later that evening we were so hungry in Hungary.  We walked out of our hotel and made our way into the first bistro we found, Pest-Buda which was very creatively decorated in reds and whites.  Once again we had almost the whole place to ourselves.  My friend Kirsten had read to try the traditional Hungarian 'beef goulash with egg barley'. I, stuck in my rut, ordered the 'whole trout with green salads'.  While I was enjoying every bite of mine, Kirsten was attempting to swallow just one of hers.  Safe to say she will NEVER be ordering goulash again, anywhere, ever.  Kudos to her for trying the recommended dish!  Sometimes I get thinking that I should be more adventurous in my foreign menu selection, but then I remember that I prefer to enjoy eating my meals.  




Pest-Buda


My trout




The next morning we started the day early with one of the best lattes I have ever had, or maybe it was just early and much needed.  We were up early to get to our walking tour we had booked for that morning/early afternoon.  After the tour we shopped for so many hours and then realized we were in Hungary.. I mean very hungry.  Out of no where we found a modern fast-casual health oriented restaurant called Fruccola, I seriously just got butterflies in my stomach thinking about it.  What I would do for a place like that near where I live (Sweden or Minnesota), it is basically a menu of what I cook daily.  I had a delightful salmon filet atop fresh vegetables.  Kirsten had grilled chicken with grilled gomolya and vegetables.  She was kind enough to share the gomolya cheese, melt in your mouth delicious! If we had been in Budapest another day, we would have been back.  We also had our third latte of the day here... jitters... typical girls trip! 






For our last dinner we wanted something memorable, beautiful, and scrumptious.  What we found was all of the above, plus: romantic, historic, stunning views, close to our hotel, savory, and perfect!  We happened to walk by Halaszbastya Restaraunt on our way to our hotel, actually it was located in the castle connected to our hotel!  We made reservations for late in the evening and were brought to our table in our own alcove, overlooking the Danube and the Chain Bridge and Parliament.  The high ceilings had dimly lit crystal chandeliers and extensive arches, our tables were lit by a single candlestick.  It felt like the most romantic date, the only thing that was missing was Sam.  Just kidding, Kirsten was great company, and we had a fabulous meal.  They had live a live string quartet that set just the right tone for the meal.  The menu was impossibly hard to make a decision off of, for both of us!  We ended up splitting the 'Salad of broiled goat cheese with caramelized apples and citrus dressing', we may be partial to the tangy taste of goat cheese, but we both thought it was phenomenal!  The salad made us excitedly anticipate what was coming next, the anticipation grew until our waiter lifted the shiny silver plate cloches and reveled our choices. For my main course I had the 'Crispy-skinned salmon with spinach pearl-barley risotto and crunchy algae'  it was inspiring.  By inspiring, I mean I really wish my risotto would taste like that when I make it at home.  Kirsten had the 'Chicken supreme with lemon-corn coriander gravy and layered jerusalem artichokes,' she liked it much more that the goulash from the previous evening.  Anyone going to Budapest must go here, it will not disappoint!! 



The main dining room! 









Walkway to the restaurant with views of the whole city!





Budapest has whole-flavored, rich, affordable food.  I am very pleased with every restaurant choice we made and wouldn't change a thing! 

Széchenyi Thermal Bath, Budapest

A few weeks ago when my friend Kirsten and I were planning her visit, we made a spur of the moment decision to book a trip to Budapest, Hungary. 


Kirsten and I, in flight!


The time flew by and next thing we knew we were onboard the Arlanda Express, headed for the airport.  A quick 2 hour flight later we had arrived, then one quick taxi ride and we were all checked into our room and ready to start our Budapest adventure.




The view our of our hotel room window! A castle, and the Danube river.  


When reading about visiting Budapest there were only a few things that really stood out to us to experience.  One of these things was a thermal bath.  The most famous one is called The Széchenyi Medicinal Bath is the largest medicinal bath in Europe. Its water is supplied by two thermal springs, their temperatures are 74 °C (165 °F) and 77 °C (171 °F), respectively (Wikipedia).  The water baths that we went into ranged from 38 °C to 40 °C, which is really not very hot.  They also had some cold water baths, but we were not interested in freezing anymore than we already were running from one pool to the other outside.  


Getting there was easy enough, we used the local metro... which was old.  Once you walk in the doors, there are just swarms of staff in white uniforms dying to answer in confusing ways what you could read in the flyers that are on the shelves behind them.  After being told at least five times that the entrance we were using closed at seven (it was four) we entered the odd locker/changing room.  Men, women, and children drying their hair, changing rooms with doors on each side, tall metal lockers that looked very un-secure.  You had to rent towels from a little booth inside the changing area, eww gross.. but our options were limited.  Our hotel offered us bath-sized towels that we would have had to carry with us all day, or hand towels that would have been soaking in one second, we chose to rent.  





                                                                  The very, very old metro.


Once in the changing rooms we tried to shut both of the doors on each side.  We finally realized that to lock them, you shut them both and push part of the bench inside down to block the doors which in turn locked them.  We locked our purses and belongings in the rinky dink lockers provided and just HOPED that when we returned they would still be there.  






                                                  This is the way the changing room door locked.


The baths were full of people of all ages.  We really didn't know what ones to try first so we just tried all of them, well pretty much.  We got outside pretty quickly and it was so foggy it was very hard to see much from in the bath.  We still managed to see a plethora of PDA, it was everywhere.  Once we made it down to the far end we found this circular shaped pool water with a current which made it fun to swim quickly.  We got into a few collisions and accidentally got most of our hair completely wet.  


In total I think we were in the pools only an hour and a half, but we were ready to go.  Thankfully our lockers had remained untouched and we were able to leave with all of our belongings.  We even ended up using the funny looking hairdryers in an unsuccessful attempt to not be walking around the city with wet hair.  We were both so happy we went and experienced a traditional thermal bath.  As for it's medicinal qualities, I did not notice a difference, just that my skin was extremely dry and my fingers turned to raisins.   

We were unable to bring our cameras into the bath area in fear of getting them wet, so I do not have many pictures of the pool areas.  There are many available online if you are interested, the building is quite beautiful.  

Here is a link to the bath we went to, Széchenyi Bath.