Posts tagged ‘Life’s a stage’

2018, May 4

Recipe of the Month: Five favorite smoothie recipes

We bought a smoothie maker last month, and I’ve been making my own smoothies again.

Our old machine kicked the curb last Summer, and because I had my eye on a NutriBullet, we haven’t gotten around to deciding to get a new one. NutriBullets are expensive, or at least, they’re expensive over here. I could never justify that amount of money for it.
But then we went shopping one day, had enough time to browse and we looked around in the appliances section of the store. I found a “Concept Active Smoothie” blender, which comes with a bottle as well. I added it to my cart, and an extra bottle for it, which totaled to the third of the price of a NutriBullet. (It is really great, I recommend it to anyone.)
I had to admit that I truly only wanted the commodity of having a bottle or cup I could blend smoothies into and be able to put the lid on it and go go go. It wasn’t about the brand itself.

So ever since the beginning of April, I’ve made at least three smoothies per week. I forgot how much better they taste when they’re homemade! And they’re the perfect thing to have pre-run or post-run.

Below are five of my favorite smoothie recipes so far. I usually watch recipe videos on Youtube, but for these, I haven’t really followed any set recipe. I went with blending what ever I had at home at the moment and experimenting with different kinds of milks, since I don’t like dairy milk.

Spinach Smoothie

Blend together some banana, spinach, a teaspoon of turmeric, lemon balm, mint, a tablespoon of Chia seeds, top with rice milk and blend together.

Avocado Smoothie

Add some banana, avocado, a teaspoon of turmeric, dried cranberries, dried Agen prunes, a tablespoon of seeds mix, lemon balm and top with coconut milk and blend together.

Mango & Pineapple Smoothie

Add some banana, mango, pineapple, mint, a tablespoon of Chia seeds, top with coconut milk and blend together.

Blackberry & Apple Smoothie

Add some banana, apples, blackberries, lemon balm, a tablespoon of Chia seeds, top with hazelnut milk and blend together.

Orange & Carrot Smoothie

Add some orange, carrot, mango, a teaspoon of turmeric, a small piece of ginger, a tablespoon of Chia seeds, top with oat milk and blend together.

PS: I didn’t include measurements, because cup sizes differ, and also, I believe everyone’s personal taste should be the base for adding more or less of any of the above mentioned ingredients.

Bon appétit! ;)

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2018, March 16

Six Reasons to Smile – Winter 2017/2018

This is my fourth blog post in the “Six Reasons to Smile” series.

Winter was more 2018 than 2017, but hey, it’s a pretty season anyways, right? I was incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity of taking a longer period off from work during the holidays. I got to finally adjust better to my surroundings and all the new situations in my life, to mindfully rest and decompress even though I was still very much active physically.
I wasn’t as much into the whole holiday festive season as I usually am, but I made it work. The highlight of my Winter was definitely the trip to Skopje, Macedonia we took with my boyfriend. We just had the best time!

On the other hand, I am posting this in March because Winter decided to give it another go in my country. While schools were closed for a few days last week, and national roads were closed off to traffic, here in my city we enjoyed a beautiful chill Winter scene with snow-globe-like snowfall, chilly-yet-lovely and crisp weather. I went to the ice skating rink two more times before the season ended. Actually, I went nearly every week this Winter and I called that me-time my ice skate dates with myself.

I walked my usual running routes in a pretty Winter setting and loved every second of it! While on such a walk near my home the other day, I even discovered, after three and a half years living in this town, that one of the churches bells sing Ave Maria.

Here are the reasons I smiled this Winter:

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

2018, March 2

Jumping through hoops

I apologize in advance for the rant!

Lately, I’ve become somewhat sick and tired of my job. Or, at the very least, pretty frustrated by certain things. One of them being, using up my training budget.

We have a generous amount, I have to admit, and if you use up less than half of it, you don’t have to sign any additional paperwork. Fair.

Now, for technical authors there are only a handful of courses one can take online, since I don’t live near any live-held courses. I already covered (with flying colors!) my basics in online courses. And I’d LOVE to attend courses or conferences held in London, Paris, Sofia or elsewhere around the World, but those would be way too expensive if I factor in travel expenses – so I don’t choose those.

I e-mailed my direct supervisor earlier this month with a list of books I’d like to order to replace training events (conference, course, etc.), and after sending him a chase, he replied he was happy with my choices given I was well within the training budget.

Then, however, the manager stepped in.
She said she’s happy to approve books “as I read them, one book at a time”.
I get what she means, but, that means I’ll receive all the books I need today, in six months time or by the end of this year if we go by her approval-plan.

It also feels a little insulting, as for a training course/event/conference where I might learn a lot less than say, from five-to-thirteen books, the company would pay in full. And so they do for any other employee opting for a training course or the alike.
From what I recall the manager saying in a company meeting at the end of last December, not even a third of the training budget was used by employees last year.
So, naturally, I feel somehow penalized for wanting to use mine up in one go, one month rather than in a year – just because I can learn a lot more from books than I have the opportunity to learn in too-few events organized in my chosen field.

Because I need to produce a variety of documents and content type, I originally built my list with that exact thing in mind. At the manager’s initial request to not order all of them at once, I narrowed it down to four books, which would be most helpful to me for the moment:

A style-book for the different styles I need to use, and because it also has a part about media law – and I use media components in blog posts, etc. on our company website.
Two technical communication books which would help enhance my knowledge about both traditional technical authoring and the content writing I am currently doing which is more reader-centered than technical. Truth is they can be a dry read and 600-700 pages long, so I would switch between reading them and shorter works. They would, however, be nice to have near me to be able to look up information in as I need it rather than turning to the web for a hundred different thoughts on the same dilemma. For example, when I struggle with figuring out what guidelines to follow for different pieces or how to adapt some forms of work to fit other categories.
And an editorial calendar workbook which would help with the tasks I am currently dealing with on a daily basis, especially as I currently need to produce a huge load of documents in a very short period of time. It would provide a way to break down all my ideas into workable chunks and even get a better sense of how the content I produce can be used cross-promoted in our marketing plan – something I am not familiar with as I have never dealt with marketing before in my life.

The manager’s reply? Here’s the direct quote:
“Ordering 13, 5 or even 3 books at a time, considering their length (624 – 704 pages each), is not aligned with my request. I don’t understand why you are in a hurry to order all those books. The primary objective of the training budget is not to have it spent in a financial year, it is to make sure it supports employees’ professional development in the right way. This is NOT about the amounts, it’s about the PRINCIPLE.”

In the past when I ordered the same amount of books (five plus) for roughly the same amount of money, I found no difficulties in them being approved together, which is why I didn’t see an issue with asking for more than one at a time this year.

I didn’t build my list just for the sake of asking for books. I buy leisure books on my own – and these are definitely not my choice of “for fun” reading.
Also I didn’t think “which ones are the longest?” and list those. Of my full list, only three of the books are past 500 pages, and they happen to be among the four which I would most benefit from in the beginning.

All the books from my original list (and so, implicitly, the broken down few-item list) were chosen because I honestly feel they would help me in my professional development.

Yet, I need to jump through hoops before receiving them. One. At. A. Time.

2018, February 2

The Bohemian Quater Guest House in Skopje, Macedonia

I was so thrilled with Bohemian Quater Guest House in Skopje, Macedonia, I have to write my review of it here as well not only leave it on Booking.com. Hope some of you will find it useful.

Pros:

The place was clean, comfy, cozy and quiet even though there is a large boulevard around the corner. I have trouble sleeping if there’s noise, but had no issues here.

The property is in a perfect location! We could walk basically everywhere – we didn’t use the car once after arriving. One can reach the city center in about 15 minutes, the old bazaar in 20, the mall in 20 minutes, and there are several 24/7 bakeries, pastries shops and groceries around reachable in up to 10 minutes.

The bus stop is reachable in 5 minutes and I was most surprised that any trip (within the city, and even where the bus goes outside of the city, for example to visit Matka Canyon) is 35 Denars ($0,7 at the time of writing this).

The hosts are lovely, they speak English very well, and are knowledgeable, gave us ideas on what to visit, advice on which bus to take, and checked back to see if we needed anything.

A huge plus, I’d say, is arranging our registration and check out at the police station – I wasn’t aware before, but foreigners spending even one night at an address in Macedonia are required to register their place of residence within 24 hours of arrival. The host took care of this and we got to enjoy ourselves.
As far as I heard afterwards, the fine is pretty steep for not being able to present this paper at the state border if asked for it and also results in being banned from the country for a year. I’m happy the host was on top of his legal knowledge.

Cons:

In one place among the property descriptions it says that “Free private parking available on-site”, in other places it only says “Free parking”. I assumed it to be private parking in a garage or yard, but it is street parking.
That said, it is a safe neighborhood and we had no issues leaving our car in front of the property.

Overall we had a lovely time, the property was great and the city is very interesting to explore!

 

PS: If you book a holiday on Booking.com using this link, you’ll get 10% back after your trip. I am not an affiliate, but I can get $15 for referring you, after your stay.
2018, January 26

Over-used YouTube expressions lately

Sometimes while being a very busy bee with house chores, I turn on my laptop, and either have some music playing in the background, or listen to different youtuber channels. I like the occasional make up tips, maybe a vlog or two and I especially enjoy DIY videos and recipes.

However, lately I start getting antsy when I hear youtubers say certain things/expressions. Here are a couple of examples of these pet peeves, in no particular order:

  • “I’m obsessed with x,y,z” – It seems like *everyone* is obsessed with *everything* from floral buttons, colors, lipstick, tank tops and decorative pineapples to working with a certain type of food processor, and everything else in between.
  • “Super natural” – Nope, not for make up tips. It always comes out pronounced as if it were “supernatural.”
  • “If that makes sense/If you get that” – If it didn’t, you wouldn’t include it in a video. That simple.

What expressions turn your radar on, either on Youtube, TV or real life?

2018, January 19

Every Day Matters

After a very nice holiday trip to Skopje, Macedonia, I came home to my diary and started planning my 2018. A dear friend of mine sent me the “Every Day Matters”  illustrated holistic diary created by Dani DiPirro of Positively Present for Christmas.

I suspect my friend thought of this, because on the one hand I’ve been quite depressed for the better half of 2017 after our dear sweet kitten died and pretty much felt like none of my days mattered. (I feel so blessed to have someone like her in my life. Thank you, Trisha!)
On the other hand, she also knows I’ve followed Dani’s 30 day photo challenges yearly since 2011. (Those photo challenges even prompted me to start a photo challenge of my own.)

As it says in the description if it, “the planner not only has plenty of space for daily planning, but also offers inspiring advice on how to make each and every day really matter.” I am looking forward to it being a resource for enriching my daily life, guiding me through a journey of awareness and fulfillment as I’ll go about my everyday activities. Who knows? This might just be the diary/planner I fully fill out.
I’ve only been that disciplined with one other planner thus far in the 30 years of my existence.

For today, I thought to share a list with you. The theme for January is Openness, and the prompt for the first week of the month is a suggestion to write a list of five feel-good surprises from last year. I feel that so much of last year has been spent in grief I definitely didn’t pay much attention to letting happiness find me. It was actually hard to think of five things. I like that this comes first in the planner.

Five feel-good surprises from 2017:

  1. A phone call my boyfriend received to pick up his diploma, which led to us taking a trip to pick it up around my birthday.
  2. Google Maps taking us the wrong way during a road trip, but leading to the most scenic ride through the forest.
  3. Receiving a bike for my birthday – I’ve wanted to buy myself one for the past five years at least, but never got around to it.
  4. Out of a five-people team, being the only one asked to hand over her project work in person at the client’s site in the UK.
  5. Receiving the out-of-the-blue gift that included my Christmas present, this diary.

Now I’m wondering, what was your 2017 like overall? And what are your five feel-good surprises from last year? Do share in the comment section below!

2017, December 29

Happy New Year, the travel writer’s way

It’s been three years since my boyfriend and I started travelling over our New Year’s holiday time. We are currently enjoying Skopje, Macedonia.

I still want to wish you all a very Happy New Year and wonderful 2018 ahead – the travel writer’s way.

Go on over to Milliver’s  Travels to read about our New Year’s Eve, 2015 trip in my travel article, “Spending New Year’s Eve in Budapest, Hungary”. You won’t regret it.
Happy 2018, everyone!


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