Thanksgiving Thoughts

my green bean casserole

Thank You!

In this season of gratitude, I want to thank you for reading my blog. From California to Canada, France, Germany, India, the Philippines, United Kingdom, Venezuela and everywhere in between, I’m sending you warm wishes for strength, peace, and good health.

It’s Thanksgiving week here in the United States. While some people are off from school or work for the entire week, many of us have only Thursday and (maybe) Friday off. But I’m not complaining, I’m thankful… and hopeful, too.

After eight months of back and forth lockdown and re-openings, I like to think that recent news of promising vaccines for COVID-19 is slowly restoring hope.

I generally have a positive outlook, but some days are harder than others to be chipper. Who hasn’t felt this way from time to time? I strongly believe that one of the best ways to cope is to maintain holiday traditions while accepting things as they are.

While my family’s in-person Thanksgiving gathering will be smaller this year, I’m looking forward to having the traditional spread: turkey, green bean casserole, salad, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. Comfort food indeed.

As a Francophile, you know I’ll want to add a French-inspired touch, so I’m also going to make a couple loaves of pain d’epi! Of course, I use the word “make” loosely here. It’s more of a “preparation” of ready-made ingredients. 😊

If you’d like to make the French baguette that resembles a stalk of wheat, take a look at the step-by-step instructions in my post, Easy-Peasy Pain d’Epi.

Here are other dishes I’m considering for the Thanksgiving menu:

Quiche Vosgienne

My interpretation of Quiche Vosgienne: a Pancetta & Swiss/Gruyère cheese French tart in a gluten-free crust!

Apple-Cranberry Flaugnarde with Crème Fraîche

It’s like a Clafoutis, but instead of traditional cherries, I used apples and cranberries (to give it a touch of autumn, my favorite season)!

Happy Thanksgiving!

7 Words Francophiles Never Want to Hear

“Your flight to Paris has been cancelled.”

These are words that Francophiles, like moi, never want to hear!

Due to Storm Dennis, my connecting flight from London Heathrow (LHR) to Paris was cancelled.

Safety first, my head says.

Think about the people who are experiencing strong wind, heavy rain, and flooding, or worse, my head says.

Yes, but my aching heart cries, Oh, c’mon! What a letdown!

In addition, LHR was experiencing technical issues so they put out large white boards to communicate flight information! Not a good travel day.

airline’s website on 16 February 2020

Because of severe weather conditions in the area, I had assumed other carriers were also grounding and canceling flights out of LHR that day.

I was terribly disappointed.

Reluctantly, I accepted the airline’s offer of a new flight to Paris leaving the following day. While I was happy to be rebooked, this new flight gave me only about an hour to catch my flight from Paris to my third/final stop on my journey.

Per their policy, the airline gave us weary, stranded travelers the following:

  • a voucher for a one-night stay at an airport hotel, breakfast included
  • vouchers for light refreshments from airport concession stands and restaurants
  • vouchers for shuttle rides to/from the airport

It was windy and cold at the shuttle stops. Add frustration and confusion and you get a chaotic scene!

For instance, a few shuttles didn’t stop at their designated spots so people had to sprint back and forth. Some people boarded a shuttle only to be told they were on the wrong one. Still others had to wait for the “next one” as each shuttle filled to capacity quickly.

Seize the Day

Eventually, I accepted the fact that my plan to visit Paris (for a few hours, at least) failed.

Perhaps spending a night in London instead was meant to be! Going with the flow, I decided to make the most of my impromptu layover in London!

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

I want to share a few of my favorite things that I discovered this year (2019). These things are not the most expensive, most popular, most beautiful. These things are simple. But they bring joy to all my senses and that’s what matters! Check ’em out – they might just make you happy, too!

For fun, I wrote this list set to the melody of the Rodgers & Hammerstein song, “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music.

Come sing along with me:

🎶 Gratitude bracelet and pecan tea cookies

Tiramisù kit and ‘Big Island’ shortbread

Two ‘Frozen 2’ songs that I love to sing

These are a few of my favorite things…

 

Lavender chamomile probiotic tea

‘Typo’ metal pens with monogram ‘D’

Organic deodorant that will not sting

These are a few of my favorite things…

 

Croissants from ‘Tartine’ and ‘Topdrawer’ postcards

“Dreaming Time Again” and “Reasons I Drink” –

Feelings of nostalgia these new songs bring

These are a few of my favorite things… 🎶

Gratitude bracelet from Energy Muse:

from Energy Muse

Image: Energy Muse

Pecan Tea Cookies from Specialty’s:

Tiramisù kit by Forno Bonomi:

From World Market

Image: World Market

Assorted Shortbread from Big Island Candies:

From Big Island Candies

Image: Big Island Candies

Initial Ballpoint Pen by Typo/Cotton On:

From Cotton On

Image: Typo/Cotton On

Organic deodorant by EO:

From EO Products

Image: EO Products

Croissants from Tartine Bakery:

 

Postcards from Topdrawer:

Music:

What are a few of your favorite things? Tell me in the comments below!

Note: this post is not sponsored and the links provided are for informational purposes only

Meaningful Photos: a Mindfulness Practice

Photo collage made with MOLDIV

Meaningful Photos is one of many science-based practices for a meaningful life curated by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley.

For this mindfulness exercise, the how-to states:

“[Take] 15 minutes per day for one week to take the photos.”

Instead I did the following:

From my phone’s camera roll, I selected nine favorite photos that were taken over the past year or so. I figure I hadn’t deleted them for a reason – the photos are meaningful to me!

So here are my nine photos and my nine answers to the question:

“What does this photo represent, and why is it meaningful?”

Top Row:

Left: This is a picture of the sky over Paris, taken from the Meudon Observatory and Park. It is meaningful because it reminds me that my attitude can make or break my day. People will sometimes say, “It was a perfect day, not a cloud in the sky” as if clouds were bad/ugly things that mar an otherwise good day. I was feeling pretty good and positive being in Paris, so no amount of cloud cover could get me down!

Center: This is a picture of my Navigo Découverte transit pass. It is meaningful because it represents freedom. I could tap on and off on various modes of public transportation in Paris. It made me feel like a local and less of a tourist. Plus the lady who sold it to me said the pass was good for 10 years. She told me, “That’s good because you will be back within 10 years!” Did she know something I didn’t? I certainly hope to return to Paris!

Right: This is a picture of a sunset over Toulouse. It is meaningful because it reminds me that beauty and art are everywhere if you only pay attention. When I snapped this picture, my friend, Rachael, jokingly asked me, “Aren’t there sunsets in California?” Well, of course, but I hadn’t seen a pink sunset from the Pink City of Toulouse, which, for me, doesn’t happen every day!

Middle Row:

Left: This is a picture of homemade beef empanadas I made. It is meaningful because it reminds me that the younger me who dreamed of being a pastry chef is alive and well in me!

Center: This is a picture of me with lavender. It is meaningful because it reminds me to be original. They say, “stop and smell the roses.” Why not say “linger with the lavender?” (Read the health benefits of lavender here.)

Right: This is a picture of a margarita. It is meaningful because it represents life and fun with family and friends because they give me one for my birthday each year.

Bottom Row:

Left: This is a picture of the Louvre WiFi login screen. It is meaningful because it serves as a reminder of how dependent I’ve become on my phone and other electronic gadgets. I was in the world famous museum for goodness’ sake! Yet, there I was — sitting criss-cross applesauce on the floor — charging my phone because it didn’t have enough juice for me to take and share pictures of my visit to the Louvre! Had I brought a battery-operated digital camera, I would have had more time to enjoy the museum. In our so-called wireless world, why do we constantly find ourselves tethered to power outlets?

Center: This is a picture of home from a plane. It is meaningful because it reminds me not to take anything for granted (OMG, oh my gratitude, I am able to travel and on a plane!?!) Also, no matter how wonderful your travels have been, there’s nothing better than your own place with your own bed and stuff at home!

Right: This is a picture of “This too shall pass” on a crosswalk button. It is meaningful because it reminds me to live in the moment. Don’t worry about the bad moments because they won’t always be bad! Also enjoy the good moments because they won’t last forever either!

Now it’s your turn. I encourage you to do this Meaningful Photos exercise! If you do, I hope you’ll share your thoughts and reflections!

Whether or not you snap a photo today, I wish you a good, happy, and meaningful day!

Airplane Food

When I think about all the people in the world and in our own communities who are experiencing food insecurity, I remember to stay humble and grateful. So I remind myself that if I’m eating airport or airplane food, it means I’m traveling, which is a privilege, not a right, after all.

I’ve read too many reviews ranting on about how airplane food is terrible. But why complain?

Think about it: you are consuming food while riding on an airplane!

A flight attendant brings you food and drink to make sure you feel comfortable and forget for a moment that even with the seat belt securely fastened, you’re untethered, sitting in a metal tube soaring through the sky at over 500 miles per hour, and flying eight miles above the Earth’s surface.

I don’t know about you, but airplane food sounds like comfort to me!

Here are a few pictures of food I’ve had while traveling. Who says airplane food is terrible? In the grand scheme of things, it’s all good!

This lunch was my absolute favorite! Not only were the chicken panini and chocolate mousse delicious, they were served on real plates. That’s a real spoon and cloth napkin, too!

Bon appétit and happy travels!