Archive for December, 2013

2013, December 31

A fresh page…

fresh page fresh start

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year full of love, laughter and health!

Thank you for being a friend, and thank you for reading my blog!

2013, December 30

Full disclosure on sweets ;-)

For full disclosure’s sake, I still have Bunny Chocolate leftover since Easter. This evening I’ll have a few bites of this Reindeer instead ;-)

reindeer choco

2013, December 29

My 2013 in books

My 2013 Reading Challenge goal (which I’m keeping an eye on, on Goodreads) was set on January 1st, at 01:43AM this year, and I aimed to read 25 books, as I had the year before.
Since that night, I’ve updated my goal twice – once I upped it to 30 as I was off to a great start, then I upped it to 35 a couple of weeks ago when I noticed my reading challenge widget showed 35 books read and I was already halfway through no.36.
Today, my final count stands at 37 books.
I’ll leave it as is now and won’t update it again, as it does give me great satisfaction to see more than 100% under the little widget ;)

I really like how Goodreads keeps track of quite a few things. I mean, I wouldn’t by my own accord start adding up numbers to see how many pages I’ve read, but Goodreads does – 5670, of which the longest was The Confessions of Catherine de Medici by C.W. Gortner.
My absolute favorites are still John Green’s books (read two of his books for the first time, and The Fault in Our Stars a third time).
Only thing that would make me even happier with their service? If Goodreads managed to incorporate an option to read a book several times!

What I notice now, is that I haven’t read as many long works as I have in the previous years.
This is probably due to the fact that I managed to read a lot at work at the beginning of 2013, choosing anthologies of flash fiction and novellas however, so it’d be easier to pick the pace back up after dealing with customers. Also, as I mentioned in one of my blog posts recently, these past few weeks I’ve been reading a lot of seasonal stories, which mostly came in flash fiction, short story and novella form.
My busiest reading periods were in between: January-April, June, and then November-December. Looking back, this fully agrees with my schedule, and it is when I myself have felt that there was more time on my hands. It makes me happy to see, in writing, that I did occupy it with reading.

My top favorite reads:

  • Save as Draft, by Cavanaugh Lee — It was well written, and I especially liked the idea behind it. All the while I was reading, I kept thinking "there’s so much left unsent, so much left unsaid" in our day to day lives. I’m sometimes guilty of doing this myself, of saving drafts instead of hitting send… The other thing I enjoyed, was the format. Written exclusively in form or e-mails and text, I could not only relate to the characters, but actually care about them more. I mean, e-mails/etc. are private. So, for me, this novel brought the characters that much closer to my heart as I peeked into their personal lives – even more so than a novel written in first person.
  • Bossypants, by Tina Fey — I really liked her style, even read a few passages to my mom. And on top of that, it was laugh-out-loud hilarious.
  • The Introvert’s Way, by Sophia Dembling — Like one of the reviews on Goodreads says, once in a rare while, you come across a book that you can give to family, friends, spouses, or lovers and say, "If you really want to understand me, read this." This is such book.
  • (The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green – As already stated above.)

Below is a print screen of all the titles I’ve read this year. Take a look, and check out the list itself on Goodreads. Who knows, you might see something you’d also like to read.

My 2013 in books

Now, please let me know in the comments below how many books you’ve read this year? And what are your favorite reads for 2013 (or previous years)?

Since I was very close to this figure in 2013, I decided to challenge myself to read 40 books in 2014. So, don’t hold back, I always love a good book recommendation!

Here’s to a great 2014, filled with lots of reading!

2013, December 28

Curious Lists for Holidays

Seems like my blogging-every-day-until-Christmas plan worked. I’m full of ideas, and eager to write new blog posts and have even wrote a few poems, and a flash fiction during relaxing after Christmas lunch the other day.

While building my book Christmas tree, I first topped it off with my Curious Lists book. Then thought better and replaced it with something else, so I could look through it and write something up soon. That “soon” is today.

As you’re accustomed, I’ll share one of the list titles in this book and the content I came up with. Then, You let me know in the comment section what Your lists would look like.

Curious Lists - xmas edition

I opened the book at random, to page 111 and then chose the bottom title, from the chapter “Lists for Holidays”. For it is the holiday season, I decided to give this list a festive/humorous spin and thought of items accordingly. Here’s what I came up with.

Knightly Duties:

  1. Attend to fair maidens – decorate the castle
  2. Make a popcorn & berry garland for the royal Christmas Tree
  3. Have faith and believe in the power of Mistletoe
  4. Knit a red and green open stitch eternity scarf for the princess
  5. On Christmas Eve be the first to arrive caroling to the royal court
  6. Wear Santa hat on top of his helmet
  7. Hang a wreath around his horse’s neck
  8. Build a knightly snowman complete with knight helmet and shield
  9. When called upon, help Santa’s Elves build toys
  10. Bake and build a gingerbread house
  11. Defeat the Grinch
  12. Ensure the survival of Holiday traditions

Your turn, leave me your list items in the comments below. Have I left anything out?

2013, December 27

Right there, waiting – by Estrella Azul

It was an unexpected question.
Her cheeks turned red. But not just from the cold as she tore open his letter standing next to her mailbox on the chilly December evening.

Once inside, she snuggled up with her self-assigned cup of cozy in hand – s’mores hot chocolate – and pulled a pillow onto her lap to steady the notebook on.
Her gaze seemed absent as her handmade notebook cover adorned with hundreds of multicolored beads reflected the bright white twinkling lights of the Christmas tree next to the couch.

She stared into distant memories of a moment long lost ten years ago.
Even when both hearts are ready, if one fails to recognize the magic of that moment, it will pass. She had learned that by now.

Squeezing her pen, she began to write the words in her best cursive.
It wasn’t easy. She kept seeing his face. It showed up when she wrote the date in the left hand corner. It appeared when she wrote the title of her new flash fiction piece on the right side.

Everything would be alright soon, she told herself. Four more weeks until she would see him again – not an imagined face that time.

She would be right there, waiting.

2013, December 26

One Common Plate, week 2 – Creamy Dill Sauce for Any Fish Dish

1 Common Plate

Is all it takes to bridge the gap

In the words of their Editor, Slurrpy is a place where people cook, tell stories, share culinary experiences, grievances and create a community that thrives on the love for good food.

12 per 5 common plate

The common man who work 10 hours a day and come home to wonder what to eat. The everyday cooks who feed hungry people, everyday, 3 times a day, 21 times a week keeping in mind each of our family member’s preferences. The people who do dishes, chop vegetables,  have zero sous chefs.

When people start using their “super powers” for good, it bridges differences, I think. Taking part in One Common Plate, I think we’re doing a world of good, with something as simple as experimenting in our kitchen across the globe.

Following the link below, is my second recipe to have been uploaded to Slurrpy’s website, during week two of four.

1CommonPlate: Creamy Dill Sauce for Any Fish Dish by Estrella Azul


I already submitted my third recipe, so hope you enjoy this one and drop back here next week, for the upcoming one(s).

2013, December 25

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

It’s not always the gifts that are wrapped
which are the best,
but simply those that are shared.
Gifts of time, love, and laughter…
Happy memories that warm the heart
at Christmas time and always.”

page greeting photo

Let the beauty of the season fill your holidays with happiness.

Merry Christmas!


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