10 Reasons to Welcome December

1. Starbucks Christmas Specials
Personally, I have come to like the Pumpkin Spice Latte but my heart beats for lé Peppermint Mocha, an Eggnog Latte or (on sunnier December days here in Cali) a Cremé Brulee Frap! And, as if taste wasn’t enough of a reason to wait in line, you’ll get to have a pretty Christmas-y cup on your desk for the rest of your day, reminding you of the holly jolly days that are yet to come. Yay!

2. Christmas Candy
Hershey’s Peppermint kisses. Gingerbread M&Ms. Candy Cane Ice-cream. Christmas cookies. Speculoos. Peppernuts. The list could go on and on and on. Any of these options would go great with #1, too. Just saying!

3. Winter clothes and accessories
How about a cute scarf that matches the new tights you scooped up on Black Friday? Possibly a matching glove-hat combo, too? There is so much cuteness in fall and winter clothing. Not to mention that those woolen sweaters and fury jackets are every girl’s friend after the annual Christmas feast.

4. Lights
Lights, lights everywhere! Dark and grey November…ain’t nobody got time for you anymore! Every store is decorated, the buildings are framed with holiday lights, the streets accessorized with lit-up stars and bells… Definitely helps getting over the sun setting at 5pm!

5. Fireplaces
Not everyone is lucky enough to have one of those but if you do, go get yourself some of that delicious fiery warmth! Nothing better than being all cuddled up, drinking tea, reading a book and listening to a good Pandora Station while sitting home by the fire. If you don’t have a fireplace, you better make the right type of friends next year!

6. Christmas Songs
Okay fine, I admit that I am one of those people. One of those people that sometimes, very secretly, listens to one or two Christmas songs in…say…March or July. Just for the fun and to get a smile on my face. So, come December, I am the happiest camper alive because now it is legit to whistle “All I want for Christmas” or hum “Frosty the Snowman”. It just gives me flashbacks to all the past Christmases and reminds me of how magical Santa seemed to me when I was young. Christmas songs bring some of that magical feeling back into my daily life and get me excited for the holidays.

7. The smells
Pine Needles. Chocolate. New Clothes. Shopping bags. Even wrapping paper has a smell, a very characteristic mix of excitement, stress and secretiveness. All in all, come December, it starts smelling delicious everywhere! If you reside in Germany during that month, you will probably have dozens of Christmas markets around you to choose from! Hot spiced wine, toasted almonds, crepes with Nutella, fruits dunked in chocolate, candied apples, all those are smells Americans miss out on.

8. The people
Yes, December is very stressful for many. All this Christmas shopping, all these expectations. I personally have a list of 15 people I am shopping for and it keeps me up at night. But it is also that time of year during which, thanks to commercialization I admit, we are being reminded of love and family and spending time with those that matter. You forgive faster, carry a smile around more often and are a little more considerate and willing to share.

9. Christmas Movies
I have watched “Love Actually” three times in the past two weeks and am not ashamed to admit that. Whether it’s an all-time favorite, such as “It’s A Wonderful Life” or “Miracle on 34th Street” or more modern picks like “Elf”, Christmas movies spread pure joy. They are so over the top with everything, and there is singing and piano music and families all cheesy-peasy. It sets the stage for Christmas and totally gets you into the mood to eat, sing and celebrate. And eat some more.

10. The loved ones
Many of you might go home for Christmas or have family come visit you. That electrifying feeling of flying/driving/riding/walking home for the holidays is truly one of a kind, so embrace it! Count the days, mark you calenders, and use this month to appreciate the people you love in your life. Hug your mom extra often, call your grandparents more frequently, give your significant other an extra kiss. You know, all these things you should be doing anyways but are being reminded off by the jolly Christmas atmosphere.

So yeah, let’s embrace December, it’s not like you could escape it anyways!

Cheers,
Ari

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22 Things I learned at 22

My 23rd birthday is creeping up in a little bit (and has been celebrated for a couple hours in the rest of the world) and I gotta say that my 22nd year of life was magical, challenging and beautiful. Here’s a sum-up of things that life at 22 taught me, in no particular order:

1. Sleep is vital! I mean, I knew that but actually sleeping 7-8 hours each night these days gives me such a much more productive day.

2. There is no “right path” in life. You will think you have found the right way of life or the final life goals for yourself, only to be proven otherwise a couple months down the road. You might think you know what the next years of your life are going to look like, you might feel old enough to make long-term plans but one day you might wake up and your whole world is upside down.

3. If your whole world is turned upside down, you will survive. You are young and will get over it.

4. Cooking is fun! I was a disaster in the kitchen last year around this time and considered Rice A Roni  a legit dinner
(hey, it’s warm and it requires mixing several ingrediences together!). Now, I wake up on Saturdays, feel like baking and end up with four dozen Rasberry White Chocolate Scones. True story.

5. Travel. As far and as often as you possibly can.

6. When in doubt, invest into an experience rather than into an object.

7.  It can still be official, even if Facebook doesn’t say so.

8. It’s ok to say No.

9. It’s ok to be antisocial and stay inside for four weekends in the row, binge on Netflix and Thai food and just enjoy your couch, your favorite sweatpants and GilmoreGirls.

10. Fake it till you make it. As a 22-year-old, people will start treating you like the grown eeryone seems to see in you even if you still feel like your 16-year-old self sometimes. It’s both kinda cool and pretty scary and will sometimes require you to own up to your actual age.

11. That being said though, don’t loose your inner child!

12. It feels good to start paying back student loans. Just eight more years to go, wohooo!

13. Build and/or maintain a strong support system. Family and friends are insanely important.

14. Be with yourself every once in a while. Checking in on yourself regularly is extremely helpful, in my humble opinion.

15. Invest into good shoes. I love me ma heels and boots but I feel most comfortable in my new Nike running shoes (my feet have written an Odé to them, I swear!)

16. Forever 21 is cute and super awesome for a  student’s budget. But really, after wearing the same dress three times, it will have completely lost its shape and just look kinda.. meh. It’s worth paying a little more for a bit more quality.

17. Don’t shy away from love. Ever.

18. You kinda stop caring about other people’s opinion. I mean, I’m still very sensitive to what others think of me but not being friends with the mean girls is not killing me anymore. If they don’t wanna be friends, their loss!

19. There will be many doors opening for you. Do keep as many of them as widely open as possible.

20. Applying to jobs sucks, has always sucked and will always suck but if you do it halfheartedly, it won’t get you anywhere.

21. Being ambitious does not equal being greedy. You can long for more in your life, while still being appreciative of what you have.

22. If you have a dream, freaking make it happen! There is no one to tell you what you can or can’t do or should and shouldn’t do. This is YOUR life, YOUR rules, YOUR action plan and the sooner you realize that, the quicker you can get on that bucket list of yours!

Happy Friday!

Cheers,

Ari