Like having a red cup EVERY day!

Good Morning!

Fresh off our mini-holiday and back to schoolwork!  I just did the last revision of my statistics paper and could not be happier to have that done!  I’m NOT a statistics guru and it was quite challenging.  However, now I know how to do a box plot, histogram, and relate coefficients and correlations between variables.  Are you jealous?  🙂

On to more exciting things…my morning meal (it’s especially good today)!  Remember my pics from London? Well, while we were visiting, I bought 2 things you can see in the pic below.

What's that red cup?!

A close-up!

1.  Starbucks red cup!!!  Yes, my coffee tasted better this morning.  And, NOW I can have a red cup every morning without paying 3 euros (yes, that’s like $4 for a Grande regular coffee).

***I should probably throw a shout-out to Joe for letting me get this.  The line was approximately 20 minutes and he was NOT a happy camper.  Lots of “under-the-breath” words/phrases were muttered (yes, babe, I heard those).  🙂

2.  If you look closely at the oatmeal, you’ll see that I crumbled a flaxseed bar (cinnamon/cranberry flavored – delish) on top.  I bought 5 flaxseed bars at the Borough’s market in London-town.  I always hear that flaxseed is good for you.  I didn’t know why, but thought I’d try it out anyway.  I looked it up when I got home:

Straight off webmd: Flaxseed is a good source of omega-3 essential fatty acids, lignan, and fiber.  It may also reduce the risk of cancers, cardiovascular disease, and lung disease.  Score!

Anyway, I also bought some other things in London.  Check them out!  Do you sense a theme…um, Christmas anyone?  As we walked through Harrod’s, Fortnum & Mason’s tearoom, etc. I couldn’t help but snag a few items for our celebrations in Gent.

Ornaments!

At first we were not going to decorate our apartment for the holidays.  We figured we’d be back home soon enough to see the wonderful decorations at our families’ homes.  But, since we now have our official flights home and they are very close to Christmas Day, we decided to decorate!  I’m hoping to find a little tree and lights somewhere (Gentenaars – any suggestions?).

I bought a couple of ornaments…how cute are those?!  (Side note – I’ve been picking up ornaments as we travel for souvenirs – figured they are more usable than those other cheesy touristy items)!  We also have a gingerbread making kit (can’t wait) and special hot chocolate with mini-marshmallows!  The tin contains caramels, but…I think those are almost gone!

It’s getting late and I still have to read a Toyota case for class today…but, before I go, I was especially pumped for this lunch (modeled after my sandwiches from Banbury)!

Hummus & veggies!

 

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London-town recap!

Let me just say a few things before I let the pictures speak for themselves:

I LOVE London.  Remember when I said that Paris was my fave?  Well, London has inched out for the #1 spot.  It’s true.

We used points (A LOT of points) to reserve two nights at the Intercontinental London Park Lane.  WHOA.  Let me tell you that this was an extremely nice hotel in an extremely nice location!  From the minute you drive up to the minute you leave, there are about 5-10 people welcoming you and asking if you need help.  I’m not kidding – I seriously didn’t lift any of my bags! 🙂  The concierge were wonderful and had many ideas at many different price ranges.  The bar was beautiful, drinks and snacks tasty, and late night dessert = delish.  There is a really nice gym and spa as well.  The gym even had free apples (come on, it’s the little things)!  For you guys out there, the hotel is only a block away from the Playboy club!  Joe was pretty pumped as he’d never seen one before, so he went to talk to the bouncer…um, sorry Joe, members only!  HA.  And of course, last but not least, I got to see this guy at the hotel!

Ok, off my hotel high, now onto the sightseeing!  Here are a couple highlights before the pics!

  • Christmas in London = amazing!  I wonder if that is what a NYC Christmas feels like?
  • The city is jam-packed with businesses/people, but yet I’m amazed at how many beautiful parks/green space is available!
  • Very clean city (at least what we saw)
  • Friendly people & police! 🙂
  • Hearty and tasty food!
  • Sooo many Starbucks!! Of course, I was happy, but surprised since that is NOT the case elsewhere in Europe!
  • Lots of wealthy people in London-town.  Holy apartments, brownstones, and Bentley’s!
  • New words learned – ‘Scallywag’ or ‘He has his fingers in all the pies’ (guy who is a player), Knobhead (jerk, idiot), and ‘lovely.’  Everything is quite lovely in London!
Ok – and now, the highlights!

Hope you enjoyed – I sure did – one of the best weekends here in Europe.  I still can’t believe I get to see all these amazing cities.  I know that I’m a very very lucky girl and of course, I have to thank Babe for bringing me here.  🙂

It’s Officially…

It’s officially 2 things today:

1.  My parent’s 25th Wedding Anniversary!  CONGRATULATIONS!!! 🙂

Aren't they cute?!

Recognize the pic from their surprise party?

AND

2.  The start of the HOLIDAY season! (Yes – Nov 1st is the start)!

One day I will see the NY Tree!

Could someone from the USA please let me know if the red Starbucks cups are out AND if Christmas music is playing on the radio (99.1 perhaps)?!  I’m THIS close to splurging on Itunes for a couple CD’s (um…The Carpenter’s anyone)?!  I’m also dying to get the new Michael Buble and of course, the Now CD with Brit Brit.  Sorry Biebs – I know you are ranked #1, but I’m just not feeling it!

To start off this fabulous day, I had my usual breakfast (mmmmhhhh)!  As I was going through the cabinets last night I noticed I had raisins (totally forgot about these bad boys).  Added them to the meal…

The raisins kind of look like...rabbit turds 😦

If you look in the background, I’m enjoying a Real Simple magazine from the USA.  I’m still rationing the magazines I bought back in Sep/Oct.  This one is all about “a month of meals.”  Love it!

Off on a mini-holiday today!  I am VERY excited about it – more to come!

The answer is…

NO.  (Can’t remember the question…click)?  Oh well!  More for me during the Holidays in the USA! 🙂

We still (of course) got our Starbucks fill!  Here it is in all its glory!  Don’t you think it fits so perfectly? HA.  You cannot read it in the picture below, but the little white sign next to Starbucks shows that it is in the Korenmarkt (probably the biggest market in Gent)!

The line was only about 10 minutes!  I was a little worried as I heard opening day lines were hours long.  I think Joe was a little nervous too because he asked (very hesitantly) how long I was willing to wait while we walked over there.  Answer?  VERY long.

What a beauty.

Hallelujah, Hallelujah!

For those of you “Gentenaars” (locals), we did make sure to walk past Mokabon (the local coffee shop around the corner).  It was alive and kicking.  My opinion is that it really isn’t going to be hurt by Starbucks – market to very different demographics.

It was probably one of the most beautiful fall days, so we walked around the city for an hour or so.  All the historic building (basically everywhere) were decorated with nice fall foliage.

Stadhuis - city hall!

We made sure to stop at our favorite chocolate shop for a little treat!  Honestly, this chocolate shop is my favorite (and we’ve tried a LOT).  Their new flavor (tropical – weird, but amazing) is the BEST.  In fact, we lucked out as there was only 1 piece left. Our selections were:

Me – tropical milk chocolate & dark chocolate chewy caramel

Joe – dark chocolate chewy caramel, chocolate liquor, & a chocolate mousse truffle

He was NOT enthused I made him stand there!

A very nice afternoon!