Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Metz Miscellany

My most recent Metz photos weren't all of doors, though it's true that at least half of them were.

We found Le Vélo Rose at 28 Rue Taison, behind the Cathedral. It's a mix of new and vintage items, and I found the prices quite reasonable. Check out the shop's actual "vélo rose"--complete with a set of boules attached to the handlebars!

On the same street, I spied another cute shop with this wonderful jewelry in the window. I'd love to have one of those necklaces made from vintage watches.

On the corner, we found the tiny but very busy pâtisserie-boulangerie Aux Merveilleux de Fred, where Husband fell in love with a couple of warm-from-the-oven pastries with caramelized sugar--so much so that he went back for more! Friend Jodi and I (see our reflection?) took a couple of photos before moving on. Yes, I had one of those pastries, and it was fabulous!

I liked this place's mailbox, as well as their door handles.

And I thought these mini-trucks were pretty adorable.

We flâneurs got hungry (and thirsty) after wandering for a couple of hours. We stopped in this cute café/bar for drinks and tartines.

Now we're seated and looking at the menu boards.

This is Loroyse, a beer from the Lorraine region, where Metz is located.

We enjoyed the food and friendly service at Autour du Zinc. We'll likely return!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Doors of Metz

Last Saturday, we went to Metz again. We had no particular agenda (other than a visit later in the day to the huge Carrefour in nearby Thionville), so we explored some of the streets around the famous Cathedral. I couldn't help noticing some very photogenic doors; here are some of them.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Dealing with Transition in Your Life?

My expat friend Ariana has had a hefty share of disappointments and setbacks in her adult life. She and her husband dared to try a different way of life for their family of three--a new job and a move from Portland, Oregon, to Germany--only to lose that job (and new lifestyle) in a matter of months. They spent time back in the States, sleeping on people's floors and couches and drawing unemployment, before finding a new job and making another big move, this time to England. The family settled into life there nicely, while also dealing with some unexpected disappointments--and even now, there is the potential for another move.

I'm so glad Ariana decided to write a book of encouragement and ideas for those of us going through our own times of transition. Pruned: Blossoming Through Life's Difficult Seasons is about what Ariana and her family have experienced and what they have learned. It's about how they have managed to turn feelings of fear and uncertainty into an outlook of adventure and a sense of hope and positivity. One of my favorite quotations comes from the book's Introduction:
"I hope to encourage others to embrace an 'abundance mentality,' to see possibility in the midst of loss, and to live more intentionally as a result...When we are forced to stop living on autopilot, we get to make real decisions, give up things we have outgrown, and introduce positive new elements into our lives."
This book is a quick and easy read, but it packs a real punch. In ten chapters, Ariana outlines the different issues we deal with during different times and then gives the reader ways to frame these issues in positive ways. Topics include Finding Perspective, Facing Fears, Transforming Worry, and Avoiding Common Thought Traps. Each brief chapter contains a number of thoughts broken down in an easily-readable way and ends with a list of Questions for Reflection.

I like that Ariana reminds us that there is enough good in the world for all of us--we needn't feel bad when things are going well for us, and we shouldn't always expect that things will go poorly or stay bad in our lives during the more trying times. I also like that she makes concrete, workable suggestions, and her tone is soothing and comforting but also somehow invigorating enough to inspire change.

My family has gone through some rather uncomfortable changes, especially during the first couple of years after we moved from Japan to Germany. Ariana helped me realize that it was okay for us to feel what we felt, though perhaps we could have dealt with our emotions and the reality of our circumstances in some more productive ways.

This ebook is a meaningful resource for anyone dealing with transition, whether large or small. I recommend it without reservation, regardless of your religious and/or philosophical beliefs. I believe you'll turn to it repeatedly for reassurance and motivation as you navigate life's changes.
You can buy Pruned here. And if you haven't read my guest post for Ariana on And Here We Are, I hope you will!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A Refresh, a Guest Post, and Some Hedgehogs

Announcement! Ahem! A couple of news items for you today: First, if you've visited my blog in the past, you'll note that my header has been refreshed a bit, by the fun and funky gal behind the blog Happy Loves Rosie. I just wanted some subtle changes to the design she did for me four years ago (how has it been that long?). Thanks, Happy--I'm loving it!

Also, today you'll find me guest-posting for my expat friend Ariana from And Here We Are, as she is in Tenerife with her family this week on a much-needed vacation. Ariana let me spout off a bit about some challenges my family has faced during our expat journey, most specifically in our move from Japan to Germany. I hope you'll head over and read my ramblings--and start following Ariana, who writes beautifully about real food, expat life, England, and simple but purposeful family living. 

Ariana has just published a wonderful ebook about how to get through, and thrive during and after, the difficult seasons of life. I'll be reviewing Pruned: Blossoming Through Life's Difficult Seasons next week, but if you want more information or want to buy it now (yes, I get a cut if you buy via my blog), please click the link in my right sidebar. Thank you from both of us!

And I'll leave today you with some lactose-intolerant hedgehogs, just for the sake of cute:

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Four Tiny French Cookbooks

Aren't these little cookbooks from Marabout just adorable? And they are indeed little--the pages measure about 3" x 3". There are many more in the series, and I've decided to try to pick one up each time we visit the French hypermarché Carrefour.

Each book is centered around the use of one whole food, such as bell peppers, or a branded convenience item popular with French and Belgians. As you can imagine, a number of cheeses are well-represented (note the topic of three out of the four books I've bought thus far). I like that each recipe has an accompanying photo, and the styling is lovely. 

Though I don't bake a lot of sweets these days, I'd like to have the book about Nutella (which comes in a set with silicone molds), as I tend to end up with a lot of half-eaten jars of Nutella due to The Boy's insistence that it gets "old" after being open for just a few days.

In case you're wondering, I've looked through all four of these books and been inspired, but I haven't actually made any of the recipes yet. For one thing, my once-quite-good French is a bit rusty now, so I know I'll have to translate certain things. All of the recipes are uncomplicated, though.

By the way, Marabout has some fun Pinterest boards. And if you're a cheese-freak, you might like to visit my Fondue and Raclette board as well. Bon appétit!

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