2016, August 29

A mix of places to visit in Hungary

Lately I’ve been thinking about travel a lot and, given our recent trip to Budapest, of past travels. So I’ve written about another older trip, this time about a trip I took alone. It was just what I needed back then!

Head over to Milliver’s Travels to read my article, “Places worth visiting in Northern Hungary”I’ll see you there!

2016, August 26

Six reasons to smile in August

This month was interesting. I finally broke down and bought a year-round vignette (road tax) instead of the usual week-long one I got every time we decided to take a road trip. It’s good to do the math sometimes ;)

I quite like how these “six reasons” posts have turned into my little “highlights of the month” posts. Because I mostly write about certain topics, DIY, or recipes, etc. which cross my mind at any given time, I feel that I have lost touch a little with this more personal side of blogging these past couple of years. Hence, my previous blog post.

August was long-awaited! I was most excited because after a looong time (six years, to be exact) I finally went on a trip longer than four days. My boyfriend liked Hungary so much, that we decided to go back in the summer as well, and spent 6 nights there. I made the reservations back in January!!! Expect my Budapest-themed travel articles over at Milliver’s Travels in the near future.

It was such a great vacation! We visited Budapest, walked all day long every single day we were there, and since we traveled by car we even visited a few cities near Budapest, and took a day trip to Bratislava as well.

Trust me when I say, it was extremely hard to choose only six pictures to share what made me smile this month!

Here are the reasons I smiled in August:

page 2016 summer vacation

The cities shown above are, from left to right then downwards:
Budapest, Győr and Esztergom,
Szentendre, Debrecen and Bratislava.

Did you smile a lot this month? What were your reasons? In case you’ve also captured them on camera, I’d love to see!

2016, August 19

My first time

Usually on weekends while cooking and cleaning, or in the evenings while tidying up I watch (ok, more like listen to, and glance up at) TED Talks, music and YouTube videos. DIY ideas, home organization, cooking, and sometimes even makeup channels on the latter.
There is a tag floating around on there among beauty channels, called “My first time” and people get all chatty answering the questions.
I’m not sure who started the tag, and I’m not going to go search for them either, but the questions did sound interesting when I happened upon a vlog this past weekend. In 2010 I wrote a blog post regarding multiple firsts during my trip to Sicily, and in 2011 a shorter list of firsts after a weekend trip to Paris, so figured it’d be fun to give this tag a go.

Here are the “My first time” tag questions and my answers:

  1. What was your FIRST job?
    –  Introducing data sets into a database using a custom made interface application.
    Sounds fancy, right? In translation, it means I received in between 500-2000 handwritten ads and worked day and night over the weekends to introduce them into a local newspaper’s database.
    I started working there in July after finishing high school. I liked the writing. I hated losing my weekends, the Monday morning deadline, and deciphering everyone’s weird handwriting made worse by grammar errors. I lasted about four months.
  2. What was your FIRST car?
    – I don’t own a car. However, the very first car I drove was a friend’s BMW, and I drove it on a village dirt road, in the dark, during my trip to Sicily.
  3. Who was the FIRST person to text you today?
    – One of my friends.
  4. Who was your FIRST grade teacher?
    – I can not for the life of me recall her name, but my first grade teacher was in her first year ever of teaching and wasn’t any good at it unfortunately. She left the school at the end of the school year and starting second grade we got a man teacher who was awesome, Mr. Terebesi!
  5. Where did you go on your FIRST ride on an airplane?
    – My parents took me to the Romanian seaside, to Constanta. I was around three years old though, so don’t remember the flight at all.
  6. Who was your FIRST best friend & do you still talk?
    – A girl who lived next door to us while I was growing up. We kind of lost touch when I moved at the end of fourth grade. There was no internet or cell phones at our every step back then!
  7. Where was your FIRST sleep over?
    – In the summer of either fifth or sixth grade, when I went to Aghiresu village with two friends to their grandparent’s place for a weekend.
  8. Who was the FIRST person you talked to today?
    The cat. My boyfriend.
  9. Whose wedding were you in the FIRST time?
    – I was flower girl in the wedding of close family friends, in the summer of 1998.
  10. What was the FIRST thing you did this morning?
    – Coaxed Pixel kitten off of me so I could get out of bed.
  11. What was the FIRST concert you ever went to?
    – My mom joined the church choir in 1996, so probably some kind of choir concert – when ever they went on concerts I was taken along. I later joined myself, so I was “in” the concerts. Same with the high school choir I was in.
    The first non-church-related concert I went to was in the summer of 2005, when I visited a friend of mine in Hungary. We just happened to be in Tiszaujvaros right when the concert started. We saw REPUBLIC, and I even got an autograph from the lead singer on the only piece of paper I had on me: a slip from school which my pastor needed to sign, proving I went to church all summer. I still feel pretty badass about that!
  12. FIRST broken bone?
    – Haven’t had any broken bones, just turned my ankle one evening four years ago. I don’t even want to know what a broken bone feels like, since the turned ankle hurt quite a lot!
  13. FIRST piercing?
    – My mom got my ears pierced right after I was born.
    I wanted a third earring, which I pierced my ear for in the summer of 2002 before starting high school.
  14. FIRST movie you remember seeing?
    – I’ll assume this means at the cinema, and not at home.
    The Bodyguard. My mom took me because she wanted to see the movie, but has never been to the cinema it was playing at. When we got there, it turned out to be a restaurant with a cinema (like Foreign Cinema, in San Francisco.) I was the happiest and enjoyed being waited on. Too bad that cinema closed and nothing like it opened here ever since… it’s a fun idea, I think.
  15. When was your FIRST detention?
    – We didn’t really have detention at my school, but if I recall correctly, we all got a time-out in first grade and had to stay after school for like ten extra minutes.
  16. Who was your FIRST roommate?
    – My second boyfriend. We lived together for a few years, until 2010.
  17. What were the FIRST lessons you ever took?
    – I did Aerobics in fifth grade if that counts; and had English lessons at church with Bruce, a pastor from the Netherlands who was in Cluj-Napoca for about a year.
  18. Who was the FIRST person “beauty-related” on Youtube you ever watched?
    – I used to watch Ingrid Nilsen when I first started watching YouTube videos/channels around 2008.

That completes the tag. If you feel like sharing, go ahead and answer the questions in the comments below. Or if so inclined, write a blog post of your own and let me know where I can find it – I’d love to read about your first time(s)!

2016, August 12

Recipe of the Month: Three-Ingredient Banana Pancakes

I’ve made banana pancakes before, and I still love that recipe a lot!
But I’ve tried being more cautious of what I eat lately, which led me to search for a healthier variation on banana pancakes. I found several that I wanted to try, and ended up with combining ideas and recipes.

The result is below. ;)

page healthy three ingrediant banana pancake

Three-Ingredient Banana Pancakes 

2 bananas
2 eggs
1/2 cup Brinta, or whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon or pumpkin spice
pinch of salt

Mash the bananas in a bowl using a fork.
Beat the eggs in another bowl with the Brinta, baking powder and cinnamon. Add to the mashed bananas and mix the batter well.
Of course, you can use a blender to combine all the ingredients at once if you want.

Heat butter in a skillet over medium heat. Spoon the batter into the hot butter and cook the pancakes until bubbles form and the edges are dry. Flip them over and cook until browned on the other side as well.

Serve as is, or with fresh fruit on the side and a cup of Vanilla-Caramel Tea.

Bon appétit! ;)

2016, August 5

What is The Recipe for Writing a Book on Schedule?

If you’re a writer, I’m sure you’ve asked yourself the above question several times by now. That is why today I have a guest post for you by Karen Rivers, who is here to give us some advice.

Her article, “The Recipe for Writing a Book on Schedule”, also appeared on FFDO when the #fridayflash community website was still up and running, but since it closed last year, I really wanted to share this article again, with as many people as possible.
Hope you enjoy this as much as I have!

~~~

Here is what my writing schedule looks like:

Write something.

~~~

Here’s a recipe for writing a book on a schedule, if you go in for that sort of thing:

Write something.
Delete it.
Write something else.
Save it, just in case, but delete it later.
Write a character. Think about a character. Wait for the character to become herself.
(Worry that you’re possibly losing it.)
(Just a bit.)
Keep waiting.

When you have your character, think about something that could happen to your new person. That’s the “What if?”
That’s your novel.
Go for a walk. Think some more, while you are doing other things. Turn the story over and over again in your mind.
Write the first chapter.
Abandon it.
Go back to doing what you need to do which is rewriting an older project, replete with characters and what-ifs. Rewrite the old thing by re-reading it. Wonder if it’s any good, after all. Decide it isn’t. Wallow around in self-doubt for a good long while. Peruse job listings. Polish resume.
Go back to writing your new thing. Get all fired up about the new thing! Get halfway through the new thing and remember that you have the other thing you are required to finish.

Finish it by avoiding opening the document until finally, nauseated, and late, you face it. Sentence by sentence. At first, it’s tooth-grittingly hard. It will be.
You will take a while to remember how to breathe under the water of your old, lumpy draft. It’s not nearly as shiny and exciting as the new one. Resent it.
But keep at it.
Eventually, something will give.
Let the pace pick up. Remember when this WAS the exciting, shiny, best thing ever?
Get caught up in the excitement of it again. Think about nothing else. Think obsessively about their characters and what they would do in any and every situation.
Forget what you are saying half-way through a sentence because you’ve just finally realized the one thing that’s going to bring the plot together.
Walk through the woods, watching your feet in the leaves, while you mentally shift the entire book back six months on its own timeline, changing the seasons the characters inhabit. Realize this is going to be really hard.
Do it anyway.

Rewrite the entire book in one rush of 27 solid hours so that the timeline is suddenly right. (At certain points, this will feel like wrestling angry vipers. Don’t give up.)
Feel high from doing that. Feel like you should do something exhilarating. Like cage-diving with sharks.
Clean your house.
Re-read your most recent draft.
Realize that although the timeline is right, a bunch of the other stuff is not.
Wallow a bit more in self-doubt that’s balanced by slight awe that you managed to actually do what you thought you couldn’t do with the timeline. If you did that, you can do anything.
Remind yourself.
Blog some stuff.
Walk more in the leaves and pouring rain, the wind whipping into your eyes. Listen to loud music. It’s probably safe to sing now because not very many people are in the woods.
Go home.

Realize that a pivotal part of your character is just plain wrong. Go through the book very slowly, chipping off this wrong part and adding in the right part and fixing the long ripple that this repair has made.
Feel like your fingers are bleeding from this effort.
Take a week or two to do that, working hard, head bent over your desk, sweating.
Re-read your WIP again. Realize it now almost sort of works.

Then, from the beginning, go through very slowly, as though with an extremely hot iron. Take your time. Iron each word as smooth as you can, and from there, push your iron further, over each sentence. Iron the paragraphs.
Take another large chunk of time to view the whole thing as a … well, a whole.
Breathe.
Realize that you’ve actually done it.

Go for another walk, only this time, think about nothing. By now the leaves will be gone. It may be snowing. While you are thinking about nothing, a new idea, a new character, a new setting will creep into your mind.
When you get home, write the first few pages because you need that rush of excitement to keep you going. Pace yourself. It’s not quite this book’s time yet, because you have that other one on the go that needs to go through the hard part. The work-part. The edit and the rewrite and the labor of getting your story to its natural end. Word counts? I guess I don’t see how word counts fit in. The books are as long as they are when they are done. Word counts are just not in my process.

That’s why it’s a “job”. Starting books is a hobby. And a really fun hobby.
Finishing them is the work.

~~~ 

karen rivers*This article came to a life of its own from the original blog post on Karen’s blog,“no na no wri mo for me, thank you. but you go ahead…

More about the author:

Karen Rivers is the author of a bunch of books. She likes to talk about herself in the third person. Karen’s ego is entirely connected to how many people fan her on her site, so she thanks you for your support. And so does her ego.

2016, July 29

Six reasons to smile in July

This month we took a road trip, to a quaint little mountain village, Mogos. When we left home at 7am, we figured we’d be back by afternoon. Nope. We arrived home at 9pm, and were absolutely beat.
I took so many beautiful pictures, that my Instagram wall was mostly filled with those throughout the whole month.

On another note, I decided to buy a bike. I saw a cute, black with white polka dots design, so I already have the bell and handle grips laughing Granted, I decided this last Spring as well, so I am really hopeful that this year I’ll actually buy a bike and not be left only with these two parts for it. I’ll post a picture when I have it.

Until I do buy a bike, I signed up for the free city cycle scheme here in Cluj-Napoca. I think that it’s a nice idea to have such a thing! I’m still afraid to bike next to cars, so I only rode to my mom’s on a Saturday morning when there was little to no traffic on my way there, and other than that, I mostly stopped by the park after work and cycled for 30-45 minutes on sunny afternoons. The only issue I have with the cycle scheme is that the bikes are a bit high, for my 160 cm figure, even with their seats all the way down… I’m doing my best to get used to them.

I also crafted an order of wedding favors for a friend of mine. Below are the green magnetic hearts all done and painted. It was a big order, but I had fun creating it. I really do miss this creative side of life, ever since it’s not my livelihood anymore.

Here are the reasons I smiled in July:

pagereasonstosmilejuly

Did you smile a lot this month? What were your reasons? In case you’ve also captured them on camera, I’d love to see!

2016, July 28

A 3.2 km walk through a Romanian village

Last week, I have contributed a lovely story from Romania about an old spring walk through Feleacu Village. My memories of the walk from five years ago were prompted by a day of walking and biking a lot as I try to balance my now sedentary lifestyle (job-induced) with more regular exercise.

This is a walk down memory lane, if you will. Visit “A 3.2 km Spring walk through Feleacu Village, Romania” on Milliver’s Travels to read the article and leave a comment.

 

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