Indian summer

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This Sunday the weather was spectacular: warm and sunny like a spring day.  I had the luxury of spending a few blissful hours sitting outside on a bench, reading a good book, while the lovely sunshine dried my freshly washed hair.  It was the perfect way to recharge my batteries for the upcoming week. Hope it lasts!

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Constructive teamwork

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #48

As the leaves are transforming into amazing colours, I’m trying to consciously enjoy these lovely weeks of autumn and the mild weather despite being very engrossed in work. It has just been a really intense and fun week, with colleagues visiting from all over the world for meetings, sharing information and learning from each other.

I already mentionned it a while back, but it bears repeating, I feel really grateful to the many colleagues from different countries and departments that I have the pleasure of working with for great team spirit and helpful feedback. I love how we are growing and improving together (not to mention the incredible enthusiasm for costume parties! 😉

Little free libraries

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I remember first reading about little free libraries online and thinking what a generous and sustainable idea it is: people making books they no longer need available for free to strangers they will never meet. Those articles usually featured photos of gorgeous tiny houses containing a few shelves of colourful book spines.

So when little free libraries started to pop-up in my neighbourhood I was stoked! Suddenly there was one on my way to work which I’d check it every few days to see what treasures I could find. Since then three more have appeared walking distance from my place:)

I would never throw a book away so it has also helped me to declutter to put books in a dedicated place where an avid reader might come across them and enjoy them as much as I did (or even more!).

In the past few years, I’ve picked up many a free book on my neighbourhood walks and during my travels. What I love most is discovering books I would never have bought in a bookstore which I really enjoy. Some of the best treasures I found lately in little free libraries were:

  • Fear and loathing in Las Vegas (Hunter S. Thompson) which includes awesome illustrations
  • Yeruldegger (Ian Manook)
  • Super Sad True Love Story (Gary Shteyngart)

I look forward to what my next finds will be!

Fresh air

 

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #47

There is nothing like a leisurely bike ride on a windy Sunday morning to feel fresh and relaxed. The sky couldn’t seem to make up its mind whether to stay cloudy or let the sun come out but at least it wasn’t raining.

It was wonderful to have time to stop and observe.  For a while I watched a bunch of white sails from small boats leaving the harbour, shooting across the water, sometimes nearly horizontal from the force of the gale.  And on the way home I was lucky to come across these lovely plants swaying in the wind and shimmering beautifully in the sun light. So gorgeous!

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Some of my favorite non-fiction books

As the days are getting shorter and the rain pours down outside, I’m enjoying reading more, it’s the perfect way of spending a quiet afternoon indoors. If you are looking for some ideas for non-fiction books to read, here are a few that I’ve read over the last years that really changed my view on the world.

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The gifts of imperfection – Brene Brown

This was the first book I read by Brene Brown, who is now one of my favorite authors and inspired my joyful gratitude posts. It’s a thin book that goes straight to the point, and really helped me to put things into perspective about how I wanted to live and what is important to me.

Non-violent communication – Dan Rosenberg

My Dad gave me this book years ago and my copy is falling to pieces from frequently going back to it. Despite its strange title, this book is a wonderful guide to communicating better with others. I’ve read it many times over the years, and even if I have to admit I am far from being capable of applying all its wisdom I am glad that it at least makes me more conscious of the traps we fall into.

Art of Non-Conformity – Chris Guillebeau

I found this small book whilst exploring the shelves of a lovely second-hand bookstore in Chicago. It’s a great reminder on how the status quo can and should be challenged, and the power of doing things your own unconventional way.

Cross-roads of should and must – Elle Luna

This is a colourful and beautifully illustrated book that I couldn’t resist buying once I flipped through its pages in the bookstore. It is very simple and gets you to be aware of all the ‘shoulds’ we have in our life and what might happen if we identified and chose our ‘must’ more often. So inspiring!

A healing massage

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #46

A few mornings ago, while waiting for the coffee to be ready, I pulled an angel card out of my tiny deck for a little guidance on how to approach the day. It read the word ‘HEALING’.

Shortly after I started deeply craving a massage. I heard my body saying it would love a session to get all the knots out of my tense upper back, neck and shoulders, and release the muscles of my legs and arms. I realised I hadn’t enjoyed a massage since April when I was in Thailand and indulged in hour long massages every second day.

So I promptly made an appointment and let the masseuse do her magic on my body. It was bliss!  Afterwards I treated myself to a pastel de nata and a cup of tea in a lovely local portuguese café. The pastry was so perfectly crisp and the filling amazingly delicious. It was perfect, just the healing I needed:)

Impressions of Prague

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We enjoyed a wonderful weekend in the magical streets of Prague.  The Laver Cup was great. The two tennis matches we saw were full of suspense, keeping us on the edge of our seats the whole time.

I love the colours of houses with their light yellow, copper green and orange, as well as the beautiful facades and pointy towers.

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Armed with the USE-IT map of Prague and many great tips from my friend Eva, we enjoyed exploring different areas of the city. I especially liked spending time in the local cafés trying their amazing selections of delicious cakes and soaking up the atmosphere. Three days was way too short, there are still so many things we didn’t have time to see (and so many cakes we have yet to try), so we’ll have to go back:)

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Off to a new destination

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #45

This weekend Paolo and I are heading to Prague ! It’s the first time I go there so I’m really excited to have 3 days to explore the city.  We will go to watching tennis (the first ever edition of the Laver Cup) and spend the rest of the time soaking in the atmosphere, discovering wonderful places and hopefully eating lovely cakes 😉

Meditation podcast

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Lately I’ve been trying to incorporate meditation into my daily routine. I know that it would be really good for me and I know I need to consciously carve out some time to quiet my mind and meditate (even just a few minutes a day), however I still resist it – a lot. Lately I’ve been listening to beautiful guided meditations from a project called Live Awake.

These short recordings are so poetic and raw that I can keep listening to them over and over again and each time I relate to things in a new way.  Having these words to focus on has helped me be a bit more regular as I look forward to letting myself be carried by them.

There are lots of different topics, a few that I particularly enjoy are ‘Following our inspiration’ and ‘Exploring the wilderness of your discomfort’. I love that these texts are born from Sarah Blondin’s journaling practice. Happy listening!

Fairy tale house

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #44

I love cycling slowly along the outskirts of Vondelpark and looking at all the beautiful houses with their high windows and amazing details.

This house in particular seems like it belongs in a book of fairy tales.  I like to imagine that behind these walls are winding staircases, secret doorways and hidden passages leading from one room to another. The perfect backdrop for fantastic stories about things like fabulous elves, helpful magicians, self-sufficient siblings who run the show, lovelorn princes and sloths who can talk…