Friday, November 27, 2015

Clickable Links

We will be attending a school concert on Saturday. My eldest boy plays the flugelhorn baritone so we are all very excited to listen to the band play for the first time in public!!

What are your plans for the weekend?

If you want to have a laugh take a look at this pic of me trying to replicate a warrior pose. :)

This nail polish is definitely on my wishlist, thank you, againVivianna does makeup.

I liked this Instagram post. And this next one too, a very comforting one.

Celebs without makeup. Surprise! regular people.

Yummy breakfast.

It's great that magazines like this one exist. I like what they are all about. 

20 of the most beautiful trees in the world. 

My Jacaranda tree, picture above, is in full bloom and looks pretty too, don't you think?

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Favorite Nail Polish Picks

First things first. Happy Thanksgiving to all my sweet American readers! I hope your turkey was deliciously done and your dinner was all kinds of yummy, relaxed and happy. 

I truly wish, from the bottom of my heart, that I could have joined you, in some digital way... I love everything about Thanksgiving. The food, the long extended meals with table talks included, the snow and cold weather with a cozy fire going on inside the house. Oh well.. I hope you've enjoyed it or may be you are still enjoying it. If that's the case, Happy Thanksgiving!

Today, I wanted to compile all my nail polish favorites, so far, in one post. Just for the fun of it, I guess, and for easy access purposes, as well!

Now that I think of it, this was a pretty good idea...a little self pat on the back...thank you very much, it doesn't hurt anyone and it surely benefits the messenger. So, here we go.

Which one was your favorite?

This blue nail color is beautiful and fun. Although to wear it, I have to be in the mood for deep blues, just because it's so bright. How did you like it?

I think it's safe to say that this grey one was my most worn polish during the colder months. It's a gorgeous, drugstore grey, that is very easy to wear, and also, not everybody knows about its existence, so whenever you wear it you feel like you are being original! I haven't seen too many people wearing it. Have you?

Aahh! the malbec/wine/dark red/dark purple/blood colored nail polishes... This one deserves the first place on my list. What can I say? It's my favorite and a classic, do you like it?

In keeping with the red polish, this was a great find. It's your typical cherry red that lasts 5 days! Opi nail envy is the best nail treatment. 

Wooden Shoe Like To Know by OPI has golden/copper specks and reminds me of hot cocoa. It's also very easy to pair with a colder weather wardrobe. 

I had a lot to say about this shade of pink apparently, I find it very flattering and elegant, but at the same time, a bit too boring nude. It's great for those days when you want your nails to go under the radar, though.

Last, but not least, this dazzling 1950's, pin-up red. I think it looks lovely on any skin tone. Do you like it?

Well, I'm off to paint my nails now! I haven't decided which color to pick yet, but since it's spring here, I may choose a pastel, who knows? May be the grey one? If you want to know which one I chose, Instagram is a great way to connect with me. Thank you for reading!

P.S. Perfect nails for five days or Ten steps to a complete at home manicure.  and why I like manicured hands.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Women of a Certain Age: Let's Age Gracefully.

Have you noticed how gracefully-aging women, the type of women that are interesting and inspiring, are hard to find on TV, social media and, surprisingly enough, in life as well?

I, personally, feel very disappointed when women my age want to look like teenagers. 

Lynsay Sands said on aging,

"Your face is marked with lines of life, put there by love and laughter, suffering and tears. It's beautiful."

Audrey Hepburn said, 

"The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It's the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows and the beauty of a woman only grows with passing years."

I think that trying to look good, wearing make up and stylish clothes are things that, us women, like and enjoy, no matter our age. In fact, I love it, just take a look at the beauty & fashion section of this blog!

My "red flag alert" starts to beep when I hear words such as Botox, face lift surgery, and fillings in women my age. Is this desire of eternal youth taking us anywhere favorable? Are we contributing, in any way, to the younger generations? Are we empowering women? I don't think so. We are so much more than "ironed" faces or tucked abdomens.

Don't get me wrong. I completely respect your right to choose what to do with your own face and body. What I wouldn't want to happen is for women to do it as a response to other people's expectations, to feel like they should go through these procedures in order to be accepted by who knows who. 

I feel like my fine lines (turning into wrinkles as we speak) remind me of what I've gone through in my life. They show that I have lived and (hopefully) learned. I would never want to get rid of them, this would be like erasing part of my memory. I am proud of being 43. This means that I have gained wisdom and life experiences that make me who I am today. 

There's too much value assigned to the "shell", the looks. In many cases, what we look like has become more important than how we feel. A woman's look, through history, has become so overvalued that women, younger than me, are willing to go through physical pain, modify their faces, and risk damaging their bodies, permanently, in order to be perceived as younger, which in their minds is a synonym for looking good.

Looking like a young girl should not be our goal. We should be teaching by example and serve as a role model. 

This is why I feel sad and disappointed when women my age, and older, want to mimic younger girls.  We should appreciate our inner wisdom and focus on guiding them by being a good role model for them, not imitate them!

We should be empowering our young girls and each other and teaching by example. Let's not look like clones. Don't erase what makes you the person that you are today. Embrace your fine lines and wrinkles.

Younger girls are watching us. They desperately need good role models, a guide to let them know that it's OK to be 43 and look like 43. It's nice to be 60 and look like a 60 year old woman. It really is, because we have clarity in our hearts and know that our self worth doesn't reside in having the skin unwrinkled.

What we should strive for is to nurture a healthy mind and body, a balanced and kind soul, and learn from our life experiences so that when we are even older, we can wear our aged looks like badges of honor, letting our grand kids know what really matters in life.

The whole point of aging is to gain wisdom from every stage of life. Let's enjoy this gift, this luxury of having the chance to live a longer life. Let's not erase this by trying to look like our daughters. They look up to us. They need to be contained by us, trusting that many good things come with aging. We should be preoccupied with showing them what really matters, the life experiences and wisdom that can only be gained with age.

Enough ranting for now! What do you think? How do you feel about aging?

P.S. How to build resilience and Don't Sweat the small stuff 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Clickable Links

We are getting ready to vote for President this Sunday. Do you have any plans? Have a lovely weekend!

Here are a few links that I thought you may like. That's all! 

A super cute yellow jumpsuit and little girl.

Life Lessons from the world's happiest man.

I want to try on this Mac lipstick.  

Unique landscapes. Pictures of Iceland .

I magically relaxed after following this breathing technique. (Her voice helped a lot too!)

On my to-do list: this pumpkin brownies recipe.

And these two very interesting videos by Ted-ed.

How playing an instrument benefits your brain.

How mucus keeps us healthy

**Picture of Prague taken by my dad :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Do You Dread Your Current Workout Routine? Yoga May Be The Answer For You.

After my recent encounter with nasty, old bronchitis, I decided to make a few changes. One of them, was to quit the gym, for now...indefinitely. I know, it doesn't sound right, but read on my friend, I promise it gets better.

If you read my ridiculously simple trick to get motivated to go to the gym, you know I wasn't particularly excited about the prospect of working out. Basically, I was dragging myself there every other day.

This dragging, coupled with the realization that we should take advantage of good health (bronchitis free in my case) and really enjoy it, and appreciate it, made me see that whenever we are lucky enough to have good health, we have to honor it. Our time and health are precious.

In other words. Do stuff that you enjoy! Hate working out? Find the kind of workout that suits your preference, something that will work for you as a whole. Yes, I'm talking about body, mind, and spirit; not against the latter. Forcing myself to stick through loud music playing classes was completely against it. So, long story short...I started doing Yoga.

Thanks to the lovely Vivianna does makeup  who recomended it, I found this equally lovely, warm, and real ( as in human real) Yoga Teacher who has a YouTube channel called Yoga With Adriene. Her videos inspire me to follow the classes almost every day. 

The best part? That is, besides Adriene's beautifully soothing voice. I don't need that ridiculously simple trick to follow her, plus it feels waaay better before yoga, during and afterwards!

If you are one of those people that suffer through the whole gym experience, like me, give Adriene's videos a try. They work.

P.S. Cultivating Well-Being: An Antidote to Anxiety and Your Thinking, Your View of The World.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Throws, Pashminas, Ponchos & Everything In Between, Part II

Last week, I took advantage of the last bits of a chilly Spring and took a few pictures in order to show you the other throws and capes I wore during the colder months! 

If you missed part one, where I showed you a few more, you can have a look here.

These pieces are so easy to wear. I can literally "throw" them over almost any garment in my wardrobe and still look like I put some effort into getting dressed. 

For us moms, with limited sleep time on our hands, this can be a very important variable to consider when buying new clothes. Whatever I buy, it should be comfortable or else, I'm not wearing it. Fact of life!

What about you? 

Last one.

We are heading into Summer now so this will be my last update on winter fashion. You will be getting lots of spring and summer related posts from me, in the near future. 

If you are experiencing all the goodness that comes from Fall, then I am a bit jealous. I love autumn and winter!

What season are you in now? What's your favorite one?

P.S. Why you may not need to buy boyfriend jeans... and My beauty dilemma 

Monday, November 9, 2015

How To Make Strawberry Jam

Last Saturday I made this very simple and delicious strawberry jam. Only two ingredients! It's refreshingly natural and so good, everyone in the family loved it. 

Don't ask me how this happened, but we've already finished our first jar which had been opened on Sunday. Ready to open the second one!

You will need. 

  • Strawberries
  • Sugar

I used 5 kilos (11 pounds) of strawberries and 1.5 kilos (3.3 pounds) of sugar. 

I prefer not so sweet jams. Other recipes add too much sugar for my taste. It depends on your preference and willingness to keep it healthy! Start with less sugar and try it. If you feel like it needs more sugar, you can always add more while it's cooking.

This is what 5 kilos of strawberries looked like!!

How to make it. 

Wash your strawberries and remove the calyx. Cut them into fours. If you are not feeling like cutting five kilos of strawberries, leave them as they are. You can always smash them while they are cooking. Cooking should be fun, not torture, right?

Put them into a big pan and turn on the stove. Add sugar. Mix and stir. 

Once it starts to boil, lower heat to a minimum. 

From now on keep an eye on the jam and stir with a wooden spoon, from time to time. It will take around 2 to 3 hours of slow cooking. Great for winter weekends! Your house will smell so good in the process!

One tip

The more sugar you add, the thicker the jam can get. Since I made it with low quantities of sugar, mine was leaning towards the liquidy side. Although I liked how mine turned out you may want to achieve the perfect consistency. In that case, I heard that, adding lemon juice helps form a denser jam. 

To test the consistency, grab a spoonful of jam, while it's cooking, let it cool on a plate. You can see the stage it's at when it reaches room temperature. If it's too liquid it may need more cooking time as well.

Sterilize your jars!

Here's a link to a quick video that will teach you how to sterilize jars.

Have you ever made jam from scratch? 

Enjoy the process! 

P.S. The Healthy Blueberry Muffins and The best lemon brownies I've ever had.

Friday, November 6, 2015

OPI Hawaii Mini Collection (Not a fan)

I recently received various gifts (this and this among others!) from a lovely lady, aka my mom! Knowing that her daughter is a nail polish connoisseur and aficionada, she did the obliged thing and bought the Hawaii Mini Collection by O.P.I.

Long story short. I did some swatches, analyzed and concluded, even though I'm not a pro at it. This is simply a consumer point of view, you know! 

I have to say, I wasn't impressed with this particular collection. Have you seen it? What do you think about it?

Out of 6 colors, this one below was the one I liked the most, although I'm not sure I will wear it very often. May be once in a while, just for fun.

This Color's Making Waves is a green/blue shimmer that took too many coats to look good. If a color requires more than two coats I'm generally not wearing it. That's just how it is. 

This beautiful pink, Suzy Shops & Island Hops, is a gorgeous's SO STREAKY!! You've been warned. It took 3 coats and it still needed touch ups. 

Aloha From OPI was easy to apply. Opaque in two coats. The color didn't impress me. The thing is, I have a few colors like that, and for the price I always expect special and different colors from O.P.I. May be my expectations are too high with this brand.

Go With The Lava Flow is the star of the show, I think. It's different from the typical red in that it has golden and silver flecks. If you are into that then this may be a good color for you. Not for me though. I like it but not that much. I'm being picky today! What do you think? 

If you want to wear a cream violet shade on your nails, then Lost My Bikini In Molokini is a great color to have. Perfect opacity and application. 

That's Hula-Rious! is a nice color.'s a bit chalky and streaky to apply. 

So, apparently this collection was not my cup of tea. Have you tried any of these colors? Do you agree with me or disagree with me? 

You may like these posts: A great cherry red nail polish, A beautiful brown nail polish, A stunning blue nail polish

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Cheese Plate Praise + Video!

This past weekend we had family over and I had my heart set on preparing a delicious cheese plate. I had been thinking about how to execute it for about a week and, after reading a few cooking books I came up with my own version of it. Hope you enjoy!

It was the easiest thing to prepare. All you have to do is get the ingredients in advance and simply lay them nicely on the dish you will be using. It's quick and delicious. Scroll down for a video to illustrate the simplicity!

My family was very impressed with it and had fun trying the different textures and flavor combinations. I recommend you make your own version at home next time you have people over. It's a great way of offering a variety of ingredients and still keeping it simple for the hostess!

Have you ever made a cheese plate before? Any new tricks? 

P.S. Video and post on how to make homemade palmiers

Monday, November 2, 2015

Anxiety Trick: An Ode to My Piano

Do you play any instruments? If you do, and if you struggle with anxious times, it may be a good decision to never stop playing them. This is what I "discovered". It's not rocket science, in fact, it's a very well known, and simple fact that is oh so true!

I've always known that I liked playing instruments. In fact, I consistently played the piano, the flute and the clarinet throughout my childhood and teenage years. 

There's something about music that makes you feel better. Berthold Auerbach explains this brilliantly:

"Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life."

It really does. I love playing the piano and listening to practically every instrument under the sun. I basically like all of the instruments! I enjoy good music a lot. However, for maybe less than a decade, I stopped playing the piano regularly. Life got in the way, I guess, until... 

Last month, it was a very anxious one for me. I wasn't feeling well, and suddenly, I had a huge light bulb moment. 

I remembered a paper I read in which aboriginal women were found to channel and alleviate their anxiety through manual labors. Sewing, cooking, painting, playing instruments, any type of emotionally rewarding manual task, that required the use of their hands, was found to improve their overall well being. My conclusion? I needed to play the piano again, like I used to, regularly. 

Music has been part of my childhood for a reason, I think. Apparently, without me even knowing, all this time, it had been working its magic and getting rid of the dust of my everyday life. So when I stopped the dusting...things got messy... and anxious.

I'm happy to report that it's been a blessing to have found my way back into this sweet and relaxing instrument. It surely does good things for my sensitive soul.

Do you follow me on Instagram? If you do, then I'm sorry, it means that you already are a victim witness of my piano playing :) 

Do you play any instruments? Have you always wanted to start playing an instrument but for some reason never did? Which one? Maybe it's time to listen to your inner voice? 

P.S. Don't sweat the small stuff and Cultivating well being, an antidote to anxiety