Archive for ‘Questions and Answers’

2017, April 21

Seasonal must-haves: Spring

Thought I’d try something different this year, and talk about a few things that made my seasonal must-haves list this Spring:

  1. Hoodies – The weather is getting warmer, but it is still quite chilly in the mornings, so I’ve been reaching for my hoodies more often these past few weeks.
  2. Hiking shoes – The boyfriend and I decided to aim for as many weekend road trips as possible when the weather is nice and warm, since we might not be able to go on a longer vacation this year. But even if we will, it’s still a great idea to spend half the weekend outside being active, instead of indoors.
  3. Sunglasses – One of the best decisions I’ve made was getting prescription sunglasses last summer. Even with the photochromic lenses of my everyday glasses, the light still bothers me sometimes, so the wide and darker lenses of the sunglasses are great to have with me.
  4. Tote bags or light backpacks – Especially for road trips, I love throwing my sunglasses case, wallet, water, napkins, sandwiches and some snacks into a tote bag or light backpack. Makes reaching for things easier, and also isn’t too heavy to carry while hiking.
  5. My Nivea Aqua Sensation cream – I bought it during Winter when I forgot to take face cream with me on a trip, and love it even more now in Spring because it’s moisturizing yet doesn’t leave my skin feeling sticky or oily. I think it might just be the perfect year-round cream.

Have you ever thought about your seasonal must-haves? What is your list for Spring?

2017, April 14

Today, I…

Life can be overwhelming sometimes and we all have days when we feel like we’re about to lose it, and while it’s necessary to work through all the hurdles in our lives, it’s also important to recognize that we need a mental breather, and step away from situations to find some clarity.

  • Today I dared to confront a friend.
  • Today I took a risk in writing a letter to an old friend.
  • Today I said goodbye to my vacation plans.
  • Today I challenged myself to run 6km! I made it to 7,4 km!
  • Today I did the hardest thing for me when I didn’t bring up what I truly wanted to talk about with my mom.
  • Today I did something worth doing: ran in a charity cross event!
  • Today I traveled to a friend’s funeral.
  • Today I was bold when I asked for what I needed.
  • Today I loved you in the only way I can right now.
  • Today I resisted fear by following the lead of my boyfriend.
  • Today I took a leap when I offered a different solution to an older, recurring issue.
  • Today I had the courage to sign up for a photography class.
  • Today I said yes to dates instead of chocolate.
  • I asked for help from colleagues when I got stuck.
  • Today I stopped doing the dishes to cuddle with the cat for a while.
  • Today I let go of the idea that I can’t have fun alone.
  • Today I got rid of half my wardrobe.
  • Today I acknowledged that I am enough, just as I am today.
  • Today I showed courage when I went ice skating alone.
  • Today I surrendered to depression.
  • Today I took a chance on myself.

They’re not all positive, just like Life doesn’t stop if we’re feeling low. But I enjoyed coming back to this blog posts’s draft for over two years, until I ended the sentences above.

Below, or if you click ‘continue reading’, you’ll find the list if you want to copy it for yourself and fill it out.

read more »

2017, April 7

Finding your awesome

Today I want to take a second to talk about a very cool, illustrated creative journal, FIND YOUR AWESOME, by my friend Judy Clement Wall.

It seems to me that everyone lately is only thinking about themselves, and it makes me sad.
I think when people are dealing with some things in their lives, they tend to forget that everyone else also has stuff to deal with – more or less difficult then they themselves are. This is where it’d be great to also focus on others, because it really doesn’t take much time or effort to be attentive, and if one can, why not make someone’s day better? Even by simply smiling at them, by saying hello and asking how they are, it’s already a step in the right direction.
We need to be better, to be humans and care. Thinking about others will always make you a better person.

That said, it also seems to me that among family and friends, many people rarely put themselves first, or do, or buy things for themselves.
Yes, doing things with others will help make them be/feel special in your life.
But on the other hand, I believe that we need to take care of ourselves in order to fully be able to be the better people I described above. For people to truly be able to love other people and be kind, it all starts with self-love.

This is the message my friend j transmits through her creative journal. Go read her blog post about it, and watch her very cool animated book trailer!

In her own words, she wrote and illustrated FIND YOUR AWESOME not to help people become someone new, but to help them uncover the imaginative, openhearted, amazing selves they already are. She truly believes that if one completes this book, committing oneself to just 30 days of self-discovery and celebration, it will change how they move in the world and infuse their life with love, fun, connection, and creativity.

I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of the journal! I believe that it’ll be, like everything j creates, a beautiful piece of art as well as a very useful tool for people to well… find their awesome.

J also has a challenge in store for her readers and friends – 30 days of self-love! Here’s the excerpt from her website:

“On May 15th, I’ll be embarking on my own 30-day self-love challenge using FIND YOUR AWESOME, and I’d love for you to join me. There will be a Facebook group, short daily emails of encouragement, and more animated videos to inspire you. It’ll be free, fun, and good for your soul, plus if you sign up, you’ll be automatically entered to win a signed copy of FIND YOUR AWESOME. (Even if you’ve already purchased my book , sign up. These little journals make wonderful gifts.)
I’ll be posting more about the book and the challenge over the next several weeks.”

Haven’t done a self-love challenge in a while, so I’ve already signed up, and I think I’ll post a little summary blog post every week on Fridays while the challenge lasts. They were fun to do during my year of following the 52/52 e-guide‘s assignments every week, so I’m looking forward to it!

2017, February 10

A couple of thoughts

Years ago, I mentioned five things that I will not write about on my blog, and I don’t intend to change that any time soon.
Today however, I will ever-so-lightly touch on the subject of politics by expressing a few opinions prompted by the protests taking over the main squares of major Romanian cities, which are categorized as the largest demonstrations nationwide since the fall of communism in 1989.

Smartphones light up the night sky. Image copyright

Smartphones light up the night sky.
Image copyright Dan Mihai Balanescu

This is my favorite moment from the protest. In case you don’t read/haven’t seen it when reading world news stories, this is when on Sunday, people used their smartphone torches to illuminate the night sky. So beautiful!
Now on to my opinions.
The protests are legitimate, I believe, but so many of the people out there have not actually read the law in question or know much about why they’re out there protesting.
We live in the Facebook era when anyone can make a public event and invite people, who invite more people, who invite more people. We live in a time in history when it’s trendy to show up, and even trendier to check in at protest locations on one’s social media profiles. I really believe that is one of the main reasons for the amount of protesters.
In a slightly different form, this law was under consideration in 2013/2014. There were very few people out in the streets protesting back then. Where were all these 250000 protesters from Bucharest then? Let alone the half a million from all over the country?
There was someone on TV the other weekend talking about the children’s demonstration. He said, and I agree, that if the parents explained to the kids why they were there, it was a very good, live lesson in civic engagement, about democracy and wanting to make a difference. If said parents were cautious, I believe that it was a good idea.
However, for the past ten days, so many parents went, and took their kids under 15 with them to the evening protests. Sure, it is their personal choice to stay out there with them until midnight, yet I can not see it as being a wise and safe one.
And kinda lastly, I like the fact that the protesters are not causing any incidents and leave the squares clean.
But I have to wonder why is it that our news channels here make such a big deal out of it? What is fundamentally wrong if this is news worthy? How are Romanians overall perceived in the world, if this is portrayed as such a big surprise?
And why are people not behaving the same way when they gather for a concert, for a football game (several games have been played without supporters in the pews as the threat of incidents was too high, or several games have been stopped because supporters were throwing stuff onto the field), or any other public event, or even when simply living and walking the streets?
The clean and incident-free protests, to me, prove that it could be the same way 90% of the time instead of only now during the protests.
PS: this little blog of mine turned 8 yesterday. What better way to celebrate, than do exactly what I set out to when I first started it, and express my opinion? ;)
2017, January 6

My 2016 in books

In 2016, I challenged myself to read 20 books and made it to 23 instead. I have to admit, that includes both reading for fun and for work, but hey, at least sometimes I’m getting paid to read so I won’t complain!

At the end of 2015, I won an Amazon gift card at work, and promptly ordered a few books for myself, which my dear friend from London was so kind to bring with her when she visited her grandmother so I could make use of Amazon stores “free shipping in the UK” policies. I have to say, I haven’t finished reading half of those titles, but I am very happy to have them close by.

my-year-2016-in-books

I read in several genres, from murder mystery, romance, young adult, to poetry, recipes, instructional books, and even fairy tales and a comic book.

One book that I regret not finishing this year is the DOODLE ART HANDBOOK: The Non-Artist’s Guide in Creative Drawing by Lana Karr, Olga Dee,  especially because I would’ve liked to doodle more, and this book is wonderful for someone just starting out in that department.

The total page count only comes to 3521, with the longest book being The Chicago Manual of Style by University of Chicago Press at 1026 pages.

My favorite reads of 2016 are actually series rather than single books this time around:

  • Banana Muffins & Mayhem, by Janel Gradowski – In June, I took part in Janel Gradowski’s book launch tour, and for this occasion I re-read the novels I finished before, and read the ones I haven’t from her culinary competition mystery book series.
    When I finished reading Banana Muffins & Mayhem, the fifth novel, I came to the conclusion that it was my favorite of the series. As much as I love the main character, Amy, I really loved getting a different POV from her best friend Carla in this novel. Reading the book coincided with a pretty complicated year in my life, and especially some of the advice given to Amy regarding life and family I have taken as my own silver lighting and put my worries aside for now.
  • These Are the Moments, by Jenny Bravo – I have to say, I fell in love with Jenny Bravo’s writing style! She writes with such ease, yet conveys such raw, complicated and powerful emotions through her characters, that I was drawn in from the very first sentence of each book.
    Although I loved every single one of the books, These Are the Moments was my favorite of the series so far. As the book’s description befittingly states, this young adult and new adult fiction novel dares to ask the questions: Do people ever really change? Do two people, who can never make it work, actually make it right? And most importantly, do they even want to?
    I actually read the Those Were the Days: A TATM Short Story (in a heartbeat!) first, which was free on Kindle (Amazon), and immediately bought the novel and also the novella Moments Like These: A TATM novella. I look forward to reading the newest novel in the series which I bought right after it was published in December, That Was the Year, and already can’t wait for the third novel!

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

2016-in-books

Now, please let me know in the comments below how many books you’ve read this past year? And what are your favorite reads for 2016 (or previous years)? Don’t hold back, I always love a good book recommendation!

Since I would’ve liked to read even more last year but did end up surpassing my goal, I decided to challenge myself to read 25 books in 2017. That was my goal in 2013, too, and just like that year, I totally plan to update this with higher numbers over the course of the year!
I am already ahead of schedule with a book I finished reading on January 2nd ;)

Here’s to a great 2017, filled with lots of reading!

2016, December 30

Six reasons to smile in December

This month, I couldn’t help but notice a trend: Winter weather has definitely settled in to stay in this little corner of the world, ever since mid-October actually when the weather changed drastically, and many of the things which made me smile every day are off of my Cozy List for Sweater Weather. And then there was Christmas, too, and being off from work, getting the chance to finally rest for a bit sure made it easier to smile.

I wonder if I should continue posting these six reasons to smile blog posts next year as well? They were fun to write up and share the pics, yet I’m not sure if I want to continue…

Here are the reasons I smiled in December:

six-reasons-december

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, December 2

Things I hate and love in mom’s remodeled house

Right off the bat, I need to state that the remodel took place two years ago. I was so disappointed by the outcome, that I never even thought about writing a blog post on the topic.
About a month or so ago though, I read a blog post over at Bloggoneit, and then another one, which got me thinking about the old remodel, and decided to write down all my own thoughts.

We didn’t have too much money to spend on it, which might also have contributed to some things not being done properly. The house itself is very old, it was built about 100 years ago. The layout is not ideal, some rooms are warmer and others keep a steady freezing temperature even during summer. We have a closed patio-type thing and its roof leeks every time it rains, or when snow starts melting. I still have a loan to pay off, because it was the only way we could afford the remodel in the first place. It is basically a money-pit I can’t wait to get rid of!

And I could go on and on, with the old issues, but I am also stealing the idea of making a top likes and dislikes list, because you might just need to set aside a whole day to listen to my complaints otherwise.

Top five things I hate in mom’s remodeled house:

  1. The total cost for quality and time spent. We went over budget, even though we rounded every price up. It’s not the quality I would’ve expected. And it got done in a full four weeks over schedule.
  2. The shower. My mother insisted on getting rid of our (albeit bulky and old) bathtub, and replacing it with a shower pan the workers would build, then install a shower curtain around that.
    Well, what we ended up with is not a shower pan, but a tiny wall built which has a square cut out so the water can flow out of it to reach the drain. Yes. The drain is outside of the ‘pan.’
  3. That we didn’t get more wall sockets. We could’ve, but we didn’t. Now the house is, again, filled with a bunch of extension cords to plug in appliances and electronics.
  4. Unfinished things. We still need doors for a cabinet, covers for seat cushions and an armchair needs reupholstering. Up until last week, we still needed to replace our 30+ year-old fridge. A friend was kind enough to bring over her 3 year-old fridge since she bought a bigger one and would’ve thrown it away otherwise.
  5. Piled-up crap. Everything we owned was boxed up, stored on the patio during the remodel, and for the most part I managed to convince mom to only take back in the stuff we actually need inside.
    Unfortunately though, there’s still a lot of crap (I won’t even try and name it differently, because that’s what it is) that is on the patio, waiting to be thrown out or donated, because my grandparents refuse to let me near the stuff. Come to think of it, we also have a garage full of crap my grandparents don’t let me near because I’d happily throw it all out/donate it…

wall-of-art

Top three things I love in mom’s remodeled house:

  1. The wall of art in the kitchen. I wanted to display my plaster wall hangings for so long, but all the walls were covered by too many pictures/paintings, in odd places because the paint was peeling off or we had holes from previously hung stuff.
  2. The color of my room’s walls. Light blue. Exactly what I wanted when we moved into that house in 1998, and what I didn’t get because someone thought an eleven-year-old won’t know the difference if they paint it pink instead.
  3. The fact that I moved in with my boyfriend while the remodel was ongoing, and he wanted me to stay instead of moving back home once the remodel was done ;)

Have you guys remodeled your houses? Did you regret not selling the place instead? Or did the remodel turn out lovely? I’d love to hear how you survived a remodel, and possibly even kept your sanity! What are your likes and dislikes about it all?

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