Archive for October, 2011

2011, October 31

Tough love, a letter

On Friday and Saturday, I was watching the conversations from the grand opening of Andrea Lewicki’s wonderful curiosity project on and off. I tuned in and figured out how to sign in via Twitter by the final conversation where Andrea was talking with Judy Clement Wall. The whole conversation left me inspired.

One snippet that stayed with me the most clearly was about the possibility of acknowledging our inner critic, accepting it as a part of ourselves, and possibly writing it a love letter. A letter that would say something along the lines of, “I love you. Thank you. But shut up now.”

It got me thinking. It kept me up late that night. And yesterday I decided to write my inner critic a love letter. A more or less tough love letter. Hope you won’t mind me sharing it with you (like I did last Monday) as an ending to my Month of Love Letters.


Dear I.C. (Inner Critic),

I’m writing to let you know how much I love and appreciate you.
As weird as it may sound, it’s actually comforting to know you’ll second guess every single decision I make, no matter how big or small. I think that’s because I always strive to do my best with everything and paired up with I.P. (Inner Perfectionist) you’re doing such a great job of keeping me in check.

However, I’m also writing to let you know that I won’t always listen to you from now on.
Sometimes a little quiet time is nice. And much needed.

Starting today, I’ll let myself off the hook and accept that I am only human. I’ll accept that I truly am doing my absolute best, that I am doing exactly what I need to be doing.
I’ll trust my instincts. I’ll focus on myself even when the world is screaming for my attention. And I’ll try to remind myself that I don’t need to change anything about myself.

Even when you disagree – I’ll trust that I’m perfect just the way I am.   

~ Estrella


How about you? What would you say to your inner critic? Feel free to share your letter in the comments below, I’d love to see your responses :)

PS: Would you like it if I occasionally shared more love letters?

2011, October 30

Recipe of the month: Baby Spinach salad with Mandarin Oranges and Red Onions

When my mom walked up to me with a huge bag of spinach, excitedly telling me how cheap it was and that she planned to make Spinach Cream Sauce, asking me if I’d eat it… I answered just as excitedly that there was absolutely no chance I would. I don’t like spinach (or other vegetables for that matter) once boiled.
But then, you could’ve almost seen a light bulb over my head lit up!

Last Thanksgiving in Sicily, I had the opportunity to sample a lot of yummy American and Italian food. One of my very favorites was the Baby Spinach salad with Mandarin Oranges and Red Onions.
Just like
Pineapple Chicken, I wouldn’t have thought to mix these three together and have them result in such a flavorful dish.

I immediately searched for the recipe for this salad, and as great as it seemed, I made some substitutions here and there for the dressing.
So here’s my adapted version of
Rachael Ray’s Baby Spinach salad with Mandarin Oranges and Red Onions.

page spinach mandarin onions salad

Baby Spinach salad with Mandarin Oranges and Red Onions

7 cups baby spinach 
2 cups mandarin oranges, drained
1 cup chopped red onions 
5 tablespoons
Orange Syrup
1 teaspoon orange peels (leftover from when making the syrup)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
Salt and pepper

Arrange spinach leaves on a large platter or individual salad plates. Top with mandarin orange sections and chopped red onion.

Whisk together the orange syrup, orange peels and balsamic vinegar. Stream EVOO into dressing while continuing to whisk.

When you are ready to serve, pour the dressing over the salad and season with salt and pepper.

Bon appétit! :)

PS: Not to brag or anything (okay, maybe just a little), but I impressed a chef with this salad! *feels all proud of her cooking expertise*

2011, October 26

Upcycling to Fridge magnet

We had this older wooden spoon we hardly ever used any more. It looked dreadful and my mom was about to throw it away before I stopped her.

I knew exactly how I could turn it into something pretty and decorative!


Wooden spoon up cycled to fridge magnet

wooden spoon
glue napkins or transfer paper

First paint your wooden spoon with a base color of your choice

Then use the decoupage technique to add some kitchen (or which ever desired) motifs

Finish it off by gluing a magnet to its back and optionally add a ribbon

Place on refrigerator, microwave oven, etc.

2011, October 24

Some Love letters won’t be sent

This month was dedicated to love letters. Last Monday, in part one of this post, I talked about the snail mail I sent. I wrote some love letters to my friends all over the world, to friends who live in the same city as I do, to a (slowly becoming more and more) special person in my life. I’ve sent all of these.

However, not all of my love letters were/nor will be sent.

In May, I wrote a love letter to myself, and it just kept on going from there. More recently, I thanked bloggy awards. I posted a poem in memory of my uncle; it truly was the longest of farewells. I wrote love letters to my laptop and notebook, to a rose, to my bookshelf, to a particular leaf I felt the urge to pick up (and make something pretty and commemorative with once it dries), to someone who used to be a part of my life, to someone who died, and to someone who came into my life for a reason yet unfortunately only a season.

And now, since this won’t get sent either, I’ll share a love letter I wrote to Autumn (and some of the pretty pics I took in the past few weeks).

autumn light flower love collage

Dear Autumn,

I love your light. And I love your colors. I love the warm, golden leaves’ long shadows on the sidewalks. Walking on the streets, in parks, with leafs crunching under our feet and the smell of Chrysanthemums and chestnuts is lovely.

My red hair sometimes resembles the color of chestnuts. When I was little I liked that comparison the most, because I could envision dozens of chestnuts rolling in each strand. I now always anxiously await your arrival and chestnuts season for this reason.

Meeting friends for dinner at one of the terraces we love, with wooden tables, wrought iron railings and flowers flowing from window frames, I can’t help but look around and think of how clear, how peaceful and tranquil everything is. Your wealth is not measured in money, but in smiles and happiness.

So hold on to us, Autumn, we still have to gather so many of your fruits!

~ Estrella

2011, October 19

Five things you won’t find me blogging about

I haven’t officially signed up for WordPress’ PostAWeek or PostADay, but have The DailyPost in my Google Reader for inspiration. I jotted down quite a few ideas over the past months for future blog posts.

Today, I’ll use the following: Make a list of 5 things you’re afraid to write about.
Now, it’s not really that I’m afraid per se to write about these topics. I don’t really have an issue with discussing them in person with someone. 
Quite frankly, it’s just easier for me not to write about:

  1. Religion – We used to go to church every single Sunday for years, until I turned 17-18 and found how even a man of God can be characterized by malice. “broken from the weight of too many endings”, I’ve been struggling with redefining religion. Judy Clement Wall’s poem was the exact thing I needed to read.
  2. Politics, economy, world “news” – This world is quite big. I figure I have enough on my own plate to start blogging about these things. 
  3. Sex – Even if at times some of my poetry could be considered sexy.
  4. Poop, periods and other similar topics
  5. Conspiracy theories – ‘nuff said already.

How about you? Any topics you feel better avoiding? 

2011, October 17

This month, Love comes in the form of letters

I already took a step toward the month of love letters by finishing up handmade/handwritten cards in September and sending out not fewer than fourteen letters to some of the people I love all around the world (Hungary, Australia, Brazil and the US) on October 1st.

I’m not sure how snail mail got on the back burner. But this month I’ve sent more letters than I have in the last four years. I’ve never turned up at the post office with a stack of envelopes as massive as the one below in photo I took of them.


I felt terribly guilty about not being able to reciprocate sooner some of the love I’ve received at the end of last year and during 2011. Things somehow didn’t fall in place until now. But finishing up all those letters and sending them felt nothing short of amazing!

And you know what? The best part of sending these love letters and small tokens of my affection are actually the responses I got/will probably get. 

By today, I already got six e-mails/FB messages/Twitter DMs and mentions, thanking me for the little surprise to people’s days. (twelve, by October 31st) 

I’ll definitely be sending more snail mail from now on :)


PS: For part two, join me here next Monday

2011, October 12

A newer (forgotten) list of firsts

I visited Paris in March. I walked a lot. Quite a few attractions attracted me. I made lists. And then I completely forgot about posting this one. Good thing I flipped through and found it in my notebook before throwing it away.

More firsts, over a weekend:

1. visiting Paris, France
2. traveling all on my own, by plane
3. staying in a hotel (plus some other things I won’t disclose about my stay in said hotel room ;) )
4. finding my way to/in Paris (metro ride/walking the streets/bus ride) alone
5. being mistaken for a French chick
6. French food
7. going internet-less for a full four days (okay, except for those fifteen minutes of cheating when I checked my e-mails and quickly typed a blog post)
8. blogging from Paris
9. jotting down ideas for poems about the city I came to love

Not a bad list I guess. Not at all ;)





PS: I’ve been listening to this song all day long for the past week. Guess it shows how much I love this cover of “Someone like you” by Luke Conard, Alex Goot and Chad Sugg.

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