The coveted Liebster Award

What a Sunday morning that starts with the information that my "use your words" buddy Carol at Battered Hope nominated me for the coveted Liebster Award. Thank you so much! My favorite post that I've read from you is called Push yourself out of the comfort zone - I should do this at least once in a while. Oh, and the chocolate mousse cake? I still want a piece, please!

So where there's an award, there's rules. Here goes:
  • List 11 facts about yourself
  • Answer 11 questions by whoever nominated you
  • Ask 11 new questions to 9 (don't ask me why not 11) bloggers with less than 200 followers; do not renominate the blog who nominated you
  • Go to their blogs and tell them they have been nominated
  • Have fun!
This award should actually be called "challenge". How am I supposed to come up with 11 new facts when I've already shared 7 in the Sunshine Award and 9 in 9 Facts about me? I feel like I've said it all...

So when you have nothing to say… let the music speak for you! A friend and I recently shared our life's soundtracks. Songs that have a special meaning to certain stages in our lives. Most songs are connected to happy and sad moments in relationships, so I have customized the original list and came up with 11 songs / facts about me. Enjoy!

Flashdance, what a feeling, Irene Cara

My girlfriends and I watched that movie when we were bunch of 13 year old girls attending jazz dance classes. We all had a girl crush on Jennifer Beale, (I still think she has a kick-ass smile and gorgeous curly hair! Also I wouldn't mind having some of her other body parts) and even though none of us seriously believed in becoming a professional dancer, we preventatively wore leg warmers and practiced removing our non-existing bra with the sweater still on. We performed our version of Flashdance at the re-opening party of the newly renovated nursing home in our town. I still know some of the moves!

Walking on sunshine, Katrina and the Waves

I listened to it over and over in order to avoid all the Air Supply and Bryan Adams because that only dragged me down, and I needed to get over a relationship. I got two chances with him: when I was 15, and again almost 10 years later. Now was it a blessing or a curse that I didn't know about that in the first place? It was still not meant to be, but we are close friends today. And the song? Has become my all-time favorite feel-good song.

Private Dancer, Tina Turner

I chose Tina's to represent all the great, great 1984 hits. Just think… Self control, Laura Branigan, Jump, Van Halen, Purple rain, Prince, Wouldn't it be good, Nik Kershaw, Careless Whisper, George Michael, just to name a few. To me, 1984 was the best musical year ever. It was a good year in general. Tina was also on the car radio when Dad took me to Munich, Germany, during fall break. We went to the movies and had a pretzel and a wheat beer at the Oktoberfest. It tasted yucky, but it made me feel real grown-up ;-)

En rouge et noir, Jeanne Mas

Gee, it's hard to write in English while listening to French music! I learned those lyrics by heart around that time when we got to spend a week in Paris - yes, France - in college. We had several assignments during that week. Doing research on different French newspapers, visit museums to see Monet, Cézanne and Gaugin, taste a bunch of croissants in bakeries... We had a lot of fun! My most memorable moment though was to lose my group on purpose (we were supposed to be at least three people when we went places) - that Eiffel Tower elevator door was closing too quickly for me to jump in, I swear!  I guess this was my "hour of ultimate freedom" I'm still trying to re-create in my life!

Groovy kind of love, Phil Collins

The guy I watched this and many other movies with, made me feel even more grown-up than going out and having a beer with my father. Over night, so to speak. He was my college and beyond boyfriend. Many other songs would deserve to take this slot in my life's soundtrack, but at some point last year when I went through my CDs, I started calling him Buster guy. We even met after all those years, and he gave me his old shoe cabinet.

The living years, Mike + The Mechanics

Mid 90s my brother left home. Ever since my mother - who was born in Israel - took him there for the first time, he announced that he wanted to go and live there. He applied for citizenship and in return gave two years of his young life to serve in the army. He met his wife and they have three kids. Although the lyrics are about unresolved issues between a father and a son, this is a song that reminds me of my brother. Fortunately he is healthy and alive - and only a 4 hours' flight away!

Candle in the wind, Elton John

Princess Diana was part of my life since I was a little girl. I watched her getting married in St. Paul's Cathedral and thought she was a real princess. Well, she was! I didn't care for Charles, and I wasn't impressed about that Dodi guy either. I think she was a sad woman who did a lot of great things for many people. When I heard about her car crash and that she actually died in it I couldn't stop crying. I still miss her and have great hopes in William to pursue his mom's legacy.

Touched by an angel, Gloria Estefan

Late 90s I was on a vacation in Florida with Markus with whom I almost missed our flight home because we couldn't find that rental car return location. We were enjoying the good life cruising from Miami to Key West and back in our convertible. This song was being played a lot on the radio, and the sun was shining. Until that really scary thunderstorm was approaching. That top was suddenly closing soooo slowly ;-)

Perfect day, Hoku

Another feel-good song. I watched the movie and listened to the song while living all alone with three interesting roommates (describing living with them would alone make for a fun post) in San Diego, CA. Just like Woods Comma Elle, I had recently been dumped, so I could relate to her. Packing up and leaving my home country - even though it was for a shorter amount of time than I had planned, no thanks to 9/11 - was the most courageous and fabulous thing I have done in my life. I still want to go back!

Clocks, Coldplay

If you are a regular to my blog, you have read about my Starbucks immersion program in Seattle. What I didn't mention is my favorite song that was being played in the store a lot. It was also on a Hear Music CD I purchased and listened to all the time in my car during my first few months in my new job. I was completely overwhelmed and practically lived at the office and the stores. This song helped me to calm down and sort out my thoughts and worries. 

Chiquitita, ABBA

Are you confused why this song, clearly from the 70s, is the last one on my list although I have been neatly following the timeline? You are right, actually I could have started out with it. ABBA was the first band I was a fan of when I was 9-11 year old. I was hoping to snatch Björn from Agnetha. 
It was also what I was listening to when I was a brand-new mom who had this beautiful baby and crying for no reason. Go away, postpartum depression! It did. So glad!!!

11 Questions that Carol asked me:

1. What is your favorite type of food and why?

Italian! Pasta, pizza, risotto, saltimbocca,... It's also the only cuisine I claim to master. 

2. What is your dream job and do you think you will get it or do you already have it?

Fortunately as a part-time working mom who carves out time for blogging, I am pretty close to it. Once I manage to carve out more time, I would like to write and publish a book.
Otherwise it'd be nice to be a party planner with an unlimited budget and staff.

3. What is your best childhood memory?

Advent calendars, birthday parties, these kind of things. Surprises, friends, gifts, cake - what's not to love? Oh and roller skating, I had those cool red, white and blue disco rollers. 

4. What was your most embarrassing moment - if you dare…

Haha, I just shared it as a comment on That Time I Showed A Chiropractor My Hoo-Ha:
My embarrassing moment happened at that new gyno's BEFORE I had to get naked. Here goes: The new doc came to greet me at the waiting room. What a gentleman! "Go right ahead" he told me as he opened the door to his office, "take a seat at my desk first." Sure, first we talk, then I undress. So far so good. I walk AROUND his desk and take a seat on HIS leather swivel chair. The moment I look up it hits me: wrong side of the desk! Wrong chair! All wrong! He was very cool about it. "That's OK, just stay there. We'll do it a bit differently today. You get to ask the questions!"

5. How often do you blog and how long have you been doing it?

Whenever it hits me and I can make time to write. On average I publish once a week. I've been blogging for almost two years, and I think I have become more courageous in my writing.

6. What is the best advice you ever gave anyone?

Don't focus on improving your weaknesses. Love what you do - do what you love!

7. What is the best advice you ever received?

Rome wasn't built in a day. Take one day at a time. In the Starbucks world it was "one cup at a time".

8. Do you enjoy blogging challenges? If so, anyones in particular?

I do! I like the ones that leave room for interpretation, so my vivid imagination can run riot! "Use your words" is fabulous!

9. How many children do you have? Can you tell me about them?

Our son Colin turned five and a half today on St. Patrick's Day. He is the cutest and smartest kid. I'm sure all the other moms agree ;-)

10. What are you the most passionate about?

Does sleeping count? OK then, traveling, writing, eating, taking pictures, watching movies, baking

11. What would you want to the world to know if you could stand on a soap box and be heard?

As I am the exact opposite of you, Carol, I don't like to speak in public. So I would make it quick and say "do the right thing!" It may mean something different to every one, but if they all did something good, the world may become a better place.

Gee, that was a lenghty post! Thank you for seeing me through! Now on to the nominations; you will find my 11 questions to you at the bottom of this post:

Whoa! Susannah, because she totally nailed some topics like As a wife I'm guilty of these five mistakes and you probably are too and I’m guilty of these five parenting mistakes (and you probably are, too)

Carrie aka Chockababy for her positive attitude and her pieces How to be an awesome mom to a food allergy momHaving 3 kids is awesome and Say no to husband bashing

Eli aka Coach Daddy for sharing his ET sighting and educating us about how many brothers Johnson has, if soda stains and what curmudgeons or glassholes are .

Alyssa who shouts hand over the cookies! Since moving from Chicago to the South she's been busy being a mommy not only to a pre schooler and a toddler but also a bunch of chickens.

Stephanie at When crazy meets exhaustion for letting me say "wanna be a f*** rib-eye" and other not so nice things - for a legitimate reason ;-) Plus I can always, always relate to her posts!

Emily knows that all you need is love! After giving birth to baby Andrew, she is determined to get back in shape. The first step? Shopping for work out gear!

Beth aka Writer B is me has a tendency to maneuver herself into dicey situations like when At least-I was wearing-a bra. Sometimes she is wearing more and isn't afraid to show it: fuzzy socks and beat-up sweater

Zee Monodee - I am not a frequent visitor on her blog, but I do love to comment on her FB posts! Alone the fact that she lives in Mauritius makes her very interesting. Her guest blog about tips to make time is my favorite.

Chef John at I will keep nominating him until he notices me! I think he's a genius. He likes his tuna melt and a bowl of tomato cream soup. So he goes and creates this recipe for creamy tomato tuna penne pasta and tells us "you are the boss of your sauce!"

Here are your questions:

  1. What are the most important things you hope your kids learn from you?
  2. What's on your bucket list in terms of things you want to achieve, places you want to go? 
  3. You get the chance to invite a couple of people (they may be dead, celebs, fictional, your choice) over for dinner.  I'll cook. What would you like to eat, and more importantly, who would you love to share that meal with?
  4. What is the most courageous thing you have done in your life?
  5. Have you ever had a déjà vu situation? Tell me about it!
  6. What bad habits do you have?
  7. What was your most conflicted emotional moment?
  8. What do you and your significant other tend to fight about?
  9. Do you have that one person you can talk to about everything? Who is it?
  10. "I'll be forever grateful for what you did for me!" Who says that to you and why?
  11. You are on that remote island.  A drift bottle is being washed ashore. What does the note say?

Thank you for reading and playing along!