Author Archives: Germaine Thomas
U.S. Embassy PRIDE
Every year, here in Sweden we celebrate Stockholm PRIDE. This year on July 30th, about 40,000 people participated in the Stockholm Gay Pride parade itself, but over
STARS WARS & Apothic RED, Wine Party
The Premier of Star Wars has creped onto the BIG SCREENS! No Spoilers here!
I just happen to be invited to a gathering at “The American Store According to Charles” for a Star Wars/ Wine Party on December 15th 2015.
Now, if you have NEVER been to this store, take some time and GO!
If you are missing some of your favourite Stateside items and nibbles, they have it here! I was even more surprised at the variety of food, candy and sundry in the wonderful store.
Charles is the owner and a New Yorker (YAAY!) and understands how it is to miss your favourite things and not be able to find them. Well, I think you will definitely find it here!!
The BONUS this night along with the Star Wars theme, was the presentation of a Wine called APOTHIC RED. “Discover The Dark Side”.
This wine is from California and was introduced by Anna Spendrup. Name sound familiar? It should. The family owned Sprendrup Brewery are taking it forward with their sister company called Spring Wine & Spirits.
In my humble opinion, this wine has a smooth, dark red, fruity flavour that isn’t overpowering. It would pair wonderfully with a nice steak or even a beefy sirloin burger because there is no fight for who’s flavour will take over. It also tastes lovely all by itself.
I am sure that many of you have seen “Star Wars” at least twice by now, and are already planning a New Years Eve film time. Well, treat yourselves and guests to some great snacks from The American Store, or even a cozy dinner with a glass of Apothic RED.
Then, ring in the New Year with Star Wars:The Force Awakens!
“May the Force Be With You”.
…..It had to be said.
Catchin’ the Wave with HELA SVERIGE BAKAR!
I am sure most of you didn’t know that I LOVE to bake. I usually bake something at least once a week.
Well, with the recommendation of a good friend and reaching the Final Audition, I will be one of 12 Contestants on a Swedish TV show called “Hela Sverige Bakar”.
It’s in the same vein as “All Britain Bakes” and “The Great American Bake Off”,
It’s Premier is Thursday September 10th at 9pm on TV 7.
The Contestants bake within certain categories. There are two Judges who are masters at the craft of baking, Johan Sörberg and Birgitta Rasmusson. The show is hosted by the lovely Tilde de Paula(center).
The experience was unimaginable. The warmest side of it all was meeting the other contestants. None of us are Professional Bakers, nor have we gone to school. We do this for our own personal love and goals. We all became friends rather quickly and have stayed connected even after the cameras were turned off!
It was a great adventure for all of us. We laughed and joked as if we’d known eachother much longer than the time we were together.
Most photos of us are all from blogs, articles and the show.
This is to show you a side that is not always seen on camera or articles.
All of us have lives OUTSIDE our kitchens. We are Teachers, Cooks, Artists, Entreprenörs, Homemakers, Fashionistas, Nurses, Students, Firemen, Career minded people who just love to bake and have fun doing it!
The talent in these bakers ooze out like buttercream frosting. Sometimes making the most difficult desserts seem as easy as making a Meringue pie!
You want proof? Please go to MY+SWEET for links to our blogs, Instagrams, Youtubes and Facebook pages! You will be pleasantly surprised by the awe inspring and jaw dropping cakes and sweets prepared by us!
Tune In to the premier episode of “Hela Sverige Bakar” , this Thursday September 10th at 9pm on TV7 or catch it on TV4Play!
Featured Photo by: Andreas Lundberg
Time to Celebrate our PRIDE!
August 1rst was Parade Day for PRIDE Week! Stockholm’s Pride Festival is Scandinavia’s largest festival. From July 27th -August 1rst, It celebrates diversity and promotes tolerance of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender communities.
I marched with the U.S. Embassy of Sweden. This is their third time since they first marched in 2012 to show support for human rights.
This year also marks Same-Sex Marriage rights!
In the United States and 20 countries in Europe, it is now legal for same sex couples to marry internationally.
Same-sex marriage in Sweden has been legal since 1rst May 2009, following the adoption of a new, gender-neutral law on marriage by the Swedish Parliament.
I am usually a Spectator on the sidelines taking photos, but this time I was a participant seeing the Parade and spectators at a whole new angle.While I walked the trail, it was encouraging to see and feel the positive energy. It was also wonderful to recognize friends supporting the cause and calling my attention to them to connect. We were 86 out of 200+ groups that walked the Parade that day!
Now at the end of August, we can still, and hopefully will celebrate and support Stockholm Pride. For more information, Just follow the link and remember to continue to show PRIDE!
Independence Day Party at the Embassy. The State Fair! 2015
“There are moments you remember all your Life. This is one of those moments.”
I am dedicating this Title to a series of life experiences that for me, were just too unbelievable to be true. Things I just couldn’t imagine happening, that I will remember and cherish always.
I remember in Jan 2013. I was away in Botswana…(we’ll get to that later) and was contacted by Darcie from the U.S. Embassy. Long story short, I was asked to sing the U.S. National Anthem at their Independence Day celebration. After I said yes, my head hit the floor. What an honour. Never could I have imagined such a request asked of me. I practiced but never could have imagined the magnitude of the moment.
Even more tense that I had to sing it A capella! I was so nervous, sharing the stage with our Ambassador Mark and Natalia Brzezinski but mostly to sing the Anthem in front of Ambassadors, Dignitaries, Officials, Honoured guests, peers and friends. It was overwhelming.
I thought to myself, if I was ever asked again, I will not be this nervous.
May 2014… I get a mail from Darcie asking if I would sing the Anthem for the Embassy’s 4th of July Party. I was again elated and honoured but nothing prepared me for the rest of the information. The party was to be held in Visby Gotland during Almedalen! If you had been a fly on the wall, you would have fell off for laughing at me so hard as I screeched and jumped around! I had never been to Gotland in all my years in Stockholm and to experience Almedalen was going to be a weekend to remember!
The party took place at the Governor’s garden. The food and festivities were unforgettable. The energy was electric. This time, a different nervouseness as I was outside and my voice not only reached the people in the garden but outside the walls to the boat docks. With The Ambassador and Natalia by my side, I remember how quiet it became as I sang. I saw phones rise up and realized that these were not only photos being taken but recordings and film of me singing… Yeah… no pressure.
Fortunate for me it went really well and everyone was happy. As for me, I was again, honoured for being asked and proud to honour my country and the song.
Third time is a charm…yet bitter sweet.
My third time to be asked to sing the National Anthem. This time at the Embassy with a State Fair theme. Red, White and Blue jeans. I missed that part.
This party also had a great blues Band headed by Brian Kramer. Great food, great games, Fresh Cotton Candy and Fried Oreos! Don’t knock ’em until you tried them. This time when I sang, it felt very soothing. My thoughts drifted a bit. I thought about the fact that this is the final term for Ambassador Mark Brzezinski. He would be leaving in a month and we would be receiving a new Ambassador. Mark and Natalia will be missed.
I am greatly honoured to have been able to sing and spend time with them and all the folks at the Embassy. I know I will see you all again soon! Besides, I owe Kyle cupcakes!
U.S. Embassy Independence Day Party! “The State Fair” June 2015
The Maven Diner Café: An American Diner in Gotland and Lickershamn
OOOOH, the weather outside is…not so frightful anymore.
A tad chilly but the minus temperatures are hopefully in the past. We are finally in the double digit temps. Aaah… the sun is shining bright. We are finally starting to peel away the layers of clothing.
FLASHBACK to warmer times and cool places…. July 2014… Gotland! 🙂
My first time in Gotland. I was totally left to my own devices. I had connections. My cool friend Cecilia has a Summer house there. So, when I told her I was coming to Gotland, she and I knew we HAD to meet up!
Right after the Embassy’s July 4th Celebration, it was time to break out. Cicci called me at the hotel and I met her at the docks. Hmm, that sounded quite seedy.. 😉
It was just after 6pm and the sun was still fairly high… Gotta love Swedish Summers.
So, we took a drive away from the hustle and bustle of Visby. We headed North and the further we drove, the more scenic the ride became.
When we finally stopped, parked and walked up to this small café. Folks were sitting outside. The waitress asked us where we wanted to sit, I replied that we could sit outside but Cicci insisted that we go inside. So, we walk in. I went in first. My jaw dropped! HOLY CRAP! Yes, I said this out loud with a look of surprise on my face! It was a diner!! Not just ANY diner but an AMERICAN Diner! Like “Happy Days, The Fonz and Laverne and Shirley” Diner!
The Maven Diner Café! Located in Lärbro Kappelshamn.
It was the cutest place with the red vinyl barstools at the counter, the jukebox, the red booths and the nostalgic comic book paintings on the wall. It felt as if someone just plopped this place down like a mini space capsule.
I had to laugh. It had all the fixins of a real 50’s Diner. Minus the extras like wine and kanelbullar, this was a spot known to the locals and those who sought out a quaint, funky hideaway to chill out after you have been in town. The menu had the typical Milkshakes and hamburgers with french fries along with BBQ Spareribs, beer and some not so typical items like muffins, coffee and bookmakertoast with Gotlänsk Oxfilé.
What is a Bookmakertoast and how is it made you wonder?An open-face sandwich to have originated in Ireland. It’s a slice of bread which is fried and then smeared with a good mustard, lettuce and then a slice of beef tenderloin or sirloin steak. Freshly grated horseradish and a raw egg yolk(yolk optional) on top gives an extra kick!
Afterwards we hopped in the car. Cicci schooled me on Gotland and the Gotlänsk dialect which I refused to emulate AND embarrass not only myself but shame the wonderful folk of Gotland!
Our car journey took us to Lickershamn.
Lickershamn is a small settlement and fishing village situated in Gotland Municipality. The place is most noted for the rauks in the area. A Rauk(in English) is a stack or seastack. A geological landform consisting of steep and often vertical column or columns of rock in the sea near a coast, formed by erosion. They are formed when part of a headland is eroded by the force of the sea or water crashing against the rock. The force of the water weakens cracks, causing them to later collapse, forming free-standing stacks and even a small island.
Here in Lickershamn is Gotland’s biggest rauk the Jungfrun (“The Maiden”)
Roy Fares “DELICIOUS” Book Release Party!
When I first met Roy Fares, it was under very sensitive circumstances. A friend’s memorial service.. From that time on, we have been friends.
Roy Fares (Sweden’s Best Pastry Chef of 2010) is a Sweet Dynamo of energy and talent! He would have to be since he has just released his THIRD cook book, called “DELICIOUS”
The first, ‘Sweet by Roy Fares‘ in 2012, was our welcoming introduction to Roy’s simple yet tasty treats. After several visits to the U.S.A., he was inspired to complete a second book in 2013 called ‘The United States of Cakes‘. Traditional American desserts that Roy chose to put his own delectable spin on, to take your taste buds to a whole new level.
Now, Roy brings us yet another savoury book.
In ‘DELICIOUS‘, he focuses on seasonal Fall and Winter fruits like apples, pears and nuts. He also takes some baking inspiration from America and gives it the Roy Fares ‘lift’ with his own signature touches. He embraces the holidays too, and creates many delectable cookies, cakes and pies for the holiday season and to have with a nice cup of hot chocolate, curled up in your favourite chair.
Roy’s DELICIOUS Release Party was held at the very elegant and laid back Miss Clara Hotel. I got there and was greeted by Roy who was outside at the time. He looked handsome as usual. I didn’t go right in. He asked why and I told him I was waiting for my plus one. Only minutes later my friend Kendra arrived.
Our names were checked off the list and we walked in to the high energy and pleasant atmosphere. Champagne, cocktail hors d’oeuvres, wine, pastries, cider and of course “DELICIOUS” were up for grabs. Everyone taking a DELICIOUS copy to browse and have signed. The place was filled with well wishers, family, acquaintances and friends. Roy was his usual cool self, greeting everyone, working the room and having a laugh or a selfie.
Roy was born in Lebanon in 1984 – the youngest of three children. In 1990, during the Syrian war, his parents moved the family to Örebro, Sweden – for a safer and more prosperous life.
In his Bio on his website he writes, “I have always admired my Mom and Dad for their brave decision. I sometimes wonder what I would have done if we stayed, and how my life would have been like today.”
Roy has worked hard and has come very far in his career. His determination and continued rising success is an indicator that he is certainly on the move and has so much more to look forward to in his life and his career! CHEERS ROY!
To learn more about Roy Fares, check out his site By Roy Fares , Facebook: Sweets by Roy Fares
Photos in Slideshow taken by Photographer: Kate Gabor
The 4th of July Celebration with the U.S. Embassy of Sweden, in Gotland!.. Or, ” What I did this Summer.”
Remember when you were returning to school after Summer, and the first assignment you would get from your Teacher would be to write an essay about what you did over the Summer. Well, back then my reports were mainly about visiting my Grandparents in Miami, hanging with friends, having sleepovers with my cousins, getting Math and Reading assignments from my Parents, and taking extra Summer class courses. Yeah, I was a bit of a Nerd.
Well, NOTHING could have prepared me for this past Summer!
I was asked to sing the American National Anthem ( I write “American” because I know some of you thought I meant the Swedish anthem) for the July 4th Celebration at the U.S. Embassy of Sweden.
My first thought was, “Wow! Yay!” Those of you who know me, you know this is true 🙂
The first timeI had this honour was in June 2013 when the U.S. Embassy had their July 4th BBQ Bash at the Sheraton Hotel. That place was filled with Ambassadors, Officials, special guests as well as fellow Americans. I was really nervous but it went well. I felt so humbled to sing the National Anthem for my Country and for the Embassy. It was just an overwhelming feeling of pride.
So, here I am again, being asked a second year in a row (Yes! They didn’t think I sucked the first time 🙂 ) to sing for their 4th of July Party. I humbly accepted, knowing that it couldn’t be as nerve wrecking as the first time. The BIG surprise. This party was going to be held in Visby Gotland during Almedalen, Sweden’s biggest political meeting place. Almedalen brings political parties, non-governmental organisations, businesses, trade unions and a host of other organisations together to discuss politics and policy through seminars and gatherings throughout the week. This is the first time the U.S.Embassy has taken the 4th of July celebration outside of Stockholm.
I had never been to Visby and was quite excited about the trip considering it was during high season for vacation seekers as well. I was finally going to Gotland.
My fun began on the boat ride with Destination Gotland ferry from Nynäshamn to Gotland. Quite a fine journey. It reminded of me of being on a floating plane but MUCH quieter!
Once there I stayed in the Clarion Visby hotel
From the outside, it reminded me of a rook chess piece. The inside, much more becoming and warm with great staff and a friendly, buzzing atmosphere. This hotel is deceiving with it’s long corridors that twist and turn. I got the hang of it and only knew I was near my room from the change of décor in the hallway and the large chandelier hanging near my room door.
The next day, it was all about preparation. The festivities were held in the Governor’s garden. The Landshövding (Governor) of Visby is Governor Cecilia Schelin Seidegård.
The Embassy staff were worker bees fixing, organizing, preparing, and ensuring all would flow smoothly for this event. Then finally it was time.. Introductions were made.
The Ambassador and Mrs. Natalia Brzezinski took their place on the podium and then I was presented to sing.
A nervous moment but I got through it with grace. You’ve never seen someone so happy and eager to step off a stage 🙂
The Ambassador then gave a speech that was full of meaning and inspiration.
The party itself was a huge success and everyone seemed to enjoy all the great music, conversations, food and even slushies!
Thank you so much Darcie, Laura, Ann-Charlotte, Steve, Jeff, Julie, Kellie, Natalia, Michael, Mark, Ken, Bob, Annika and everyone for a wonderful time. You all really made me feel so warm and welcome!
There are moments you remember all your life. This is one of those moments.
Welcome to Stockholm PRIDE!
On August 2nd I got up early and prepared myself for a lovely day and a great Parade!
The STOCKHOLM PRIDE PARADE!
I have been attending for almost all the years I have lived in Stockholm and it seems the Parade, participants and On lookers increase in number every year. There are celebrations the whole week and ends with a festive Parade.
STOCKHOLM PRIDE’S goal is to strengthen and make aware the rights of LBGT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender). It is a festival blending, politics, culture and awareness in a party atmosphere and this year was no different.
This year, not only did I watch, I got to participate in the march when yanked into the U.S Embassy group as they went by! What a great feeling!!!
I have stood in many different places to view the Parade. Kungsträdgården, Near the Castle, Slussen etc and none topped the spot I was in for this Parade!
No, I’m not sharing… 🙂