7 Things I am loving right now: June edition

These past two weeks have been hectic. I am studying, working and trying to have a social life.

Lately, I have had more bad days than good but I am happy brighter days are peaking ahead. I want to share with you guys seven things I am loving right now so I can also remind myself that there is always something that makes us smile.

1) I just mastered the Paleo crostata. Well, not actually “mastered” per se, but it came out pretty good. Finally after many baking mistakes I got it right!

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2) I am enjoying coffee, the balcony and the weekends. Loving the Summer breeze.

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3) Sunday sunshine. I am loving some alone time too.

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4) Nina enjoying a little photoshoot. 

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5) Since warmer nights are starting to peak in our bedroom, I changed my bed sheets to “Summer” mode.

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6) I was having the worst day ever. Rainy day, bad traffic, constant arguments with everyone. When I arrived home, I went to my little balcony to get some air and this happened: the brightest rainbow I have ever seen.

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7) Gluten-free red velvet cupcake!

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So this will become my little personal tradition: every time I am feeling down I will write down 7-10 things that make me happy. Bum! Instant happy mood. 🙂

 

 

 

But first, let me take or talk about “selfies”

I overheard a conversation the other day of two girls talking about one of their friends saying “did you see her Instagram profile? All the selfies? She is so self-absorbed. I don’t understand why she would post so many pictures of herself.”

Well I’ll tell you why ladies: it’s her Instagram profile and she can do whatever she wants to do with it.

So I ask myself… what is Instagram for? Isn’t it supposed to be a personal picture sharing app? Why all the hate towards “selfies”? I see all kind of people taking them and posting them. Some people don’t, some people do. If you are feeling like taking a picture of yourself because no one is around or just because you want to share it with your friends on social media, why shouldn’t you do it?

So let me get this straight: if you take a picture of yourself is not ok, but if someone else takes it then it’s ok? Or the web-etiquette is just take pictures of landscapes and mugs? Or simply don’t have any kind of social media? Well, there is always space for haters on the web.

I also read many articles pointing out that people who take pictures of themselves are narcissist and stupid. There was one article that truly emphasized how the author hated “selfies”. The comments made in this particular article were basically: “go read a book”, “you fell into society’s trap”, “dumb narcissist”. I guess this guy hates 95% of the social media population because he says that having a social media profile of any kind is narcissist by its own. Oh ok. That makes a lot sense since he has a blog…

Well…let’s skip the haters part and let me share some pretty fun “selfies” or however you may call them:






Inspiration: backless dress

I have been in love with backless dresses since I can remember. In fact, I love any piece that is backless. I remember always searching for anything that had no back. I still have a golden metallic top from when I was a teenager. I can’t seem to detach from it. It’s sexy and chic. But remember, there is always a limit between being classy and showing your butt line. Yes, there is.

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1) Black sequins dress

2) Maxi open back dress

3) Lovely peach backless dress

4) I love this one

 

Watermelon: fresh and easy recipes

Dear watermelon: you are my favorite fruit.

It’s fresh, watery and sweet. Be careful here though, because watermelon is naturally sugary. I once ate so much of it I literally couldn’t move. My Greek family always eats it with feta cheese in Summer and since hotter days are coming ahead, I want to share with you three easy and refreshing recipes based on our beloved fruit.

I also found this pin on how to choose the perfect watermelon.

1) Watermelon feta skewers from Yum Sugar’s website.

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2) Oh I can’t wait to try this spicy salad from Love and Lemons.

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3) Hot afternoons? Here is your solution from Yummy Supper.

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5 funny movie characters that I love

Last month, when I was in Vegas, I saw a lot of people in every kind of costumes. There were the Minions, Lady Gagas, Show girls, Michael Jacksons and every other Spidermen and Batmans. But my top favorite was Jim Dangle from Reno 911. This guy was hilarious and for a second, I thought it was really Thomas Lennon (whom I love). I don’t know if you saw the movie but it makes me laugh every time.

Here with the funny guy (you can see how excited I was) :

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I thought it would be nice to share with you my top favorite funny movie characters. There are so many but I narrowed my selection down to five.

1) Obviously Thomas Lennon as Lieutenant Jim Dangle in “Reno 911”

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2) Kevin James as Paul Blart in “Paul Blart: Mall Cop”

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3) Jamie Foxx as Dean “Mother#$%!” Jones in “Horrible Bosses”

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4) Kristen Wiig as Annie Walker in “Bridesmaids”

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5) Ken Jeong as Leslie Chow in the “Hangover” movies.

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What’s your favorite funny character?

The love of my life

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This post is inspired by Eva’s post about her lovely dog Sunny in her blog “Story to tell ya”.(I bombarded her comments section with Nina’s whole story. Sorry dear.) No one will ever understand the unconditional love a dog can give you until they have one.

I have been a dog-lover since a small girl. I just can’t see one because I feel the terrible urge to go, hug them and pet them. All of them. But I used to make fun of people with small “purse” dogs. I loved Siberian Huskies, German Shepherds and Dobermans. Ignorant as I was, I didn’t know my life was about to change forever. 

There I was going to get a small puppy who would become an elegant and big dog. I chose a beautiful Siberian Husky puppy with deep blue eyes. I wanted to call her Nina.

Walking towards the back of the store I saw a small box with a sign that said “please do not touch”. I asked the lady why that sign was there and she told me that inside was a minuscule dog who was depressed since she got separated from her mother two weeks ago. This little creature did not move or eat since then. She sadly told me that the puppy will be euthanized the next day since she did not respond to any human contact.

The lady opened the box for me to see. Two sad eyes blinked and signed loudly. The lady tried to hold her but she did not move, even my boyfriend insisted in holding her. I put the Husky back and took Nina in my arms. I could not believe how small and fragile she was. At that point of my life I was feeling just like her: fragile with no reason to move. I was so depressed back then that I felt like curling up in a ball and lay right next to her in that box.

I felt her soft skin in my face. I kissed her and whispered how precious she was. She looked a me straight in the eyes and started to lick my face and wagging her tail like crazy.

I did not choose her, she chose me.

I don’t know how this is possible but Nina changed my life forever. She has taught me to love expecting nothing in return. She is my companion when I am sad, lonely or happy. When she sleeps she needs to feel my leg next to her in the bed. (Yes, she does sleep with me.) She is the reason I go home excited that someone is waiting for me since I left in the morning. She is a very peculiar and delicate dog. She is constantly sick and can’t walk with four legs (she has a bad leg), but I love her just the way she is.

People often tell me that I saved her, but when I think about it, she was the one who saved me.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

White floor inspiration

Am I the only person in the world who hates dark parquet flooring? Probably, because when I say so I get strange looks from people. I like light-colored wood and white floors. I know, I know, they get dirty really quickly and they also are high maintenance. But I am a neat-freak so I guess that it makes no difference for me.

When we bought our current apartment what I liked was the cream marble in the living room area and the hallway. What I hated was the ugly wood they used for the bedroom’s floor. So I always wanted to paint it white but couldn’t find the courage to do so because I am afraid that it won’t turn out the way I want it.

Here some inspiration for my future project (or my imaginary one).

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Do you guys have white floors? Are they as beautiful as they look on photos?

A punch of neon

Nothing reminds me of summer like neon colors do.I love them.

I started using neon nail polish and I really like how colorful my hands look. I also like how a bright pink or a fluorescent yellow can brighten any black outfit!

Bright accesories, colorful shoes and statement dresses can all stand out with a punch of neon.

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My lentil soup recipe

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This recipe came out the day that I didn’t have the complete list of ingredients to my mom’s lentil recipe. So I improvised with the ingredients I did have at home and it came out pretty good. This dish is healthy and low-fat.

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Ingredients:

– 1 cup lentils (I wash them two times)

– 6 cups water

– 1/2 tomato

– 1 medium carrot

– 1 medium purple onion

– 3 garlic cloves

– 5-6 bay leaves

– 1/2 teaspoon cumin

– 2 tablespoons olive oil

– Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

– Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot on low heat. Chop the tomato, carrot, onion and garlic. Saute your chopped vegetables for 5 to 6 minutes.

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– Add the salt, pepper, cumin and bay leaves. Then pour the water and the lentils. It takes approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes for the lentils to be tender but it always depends on the kind of lentils you are using.

– The trick is to stir occasionally and taste them. Some people like to add more water to make the soup watery and some like their lentils dense so they can pure them. It all depends on you.

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5 irrational pet-peeves of mine

Here is the deal: I am a obsessive-compulsive person. I do not say “OCD” as an exaggeration every time I refer to it. My family knows it, my boyfriend knows it and my doctor diagnosed it. He also tells me I suffer from Misophonia (Greek word ya’ll) because I get irritated by a lot of sounds. It really drives me crazy. But I have learned to live with it.

I have to be honest here, some of the things that irritate me are pretty funny. So I will share my top five:

1) People who drag chairs. 

I mean really? Is it that hard to just pick up the chair and put it where you want it? I understand when a chair is heavy and it needs some dragging but is all the cringing noise really worth it?

2) Interrogation while watching a movie.

There I am relaxing, watching a movie for the very first time. Then the person next to me starts: “Is she his mother?”, “why did she murder him?”, “is he going to come back from the dead?”, “why did he burn the house down?”. How am I supposed to know?! I didn’t direct the movie!

3) People who talk with their mouth full and also smack their lips while eating. 

There is nothing more annoying than the sound of someone who chews loudly.  Some people manage to talk with their mouth full of food. Is whatever you are saying so urgent that you can’t wait to swallow before you speak?

4) Bad breath. 

Listerine, brushing your teeth, chewing gum. No excuses for this one.

5) People who grab my cell phone and take a “look”.

Really? Why on earth would you do that? There is something called “personal space”. Do not touch my cell phone. Ever. You do that again and you are going to have a black eye.

So… do you have any special pet-peeve?

Let’s embrace being a little different

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Let’s talk about criticism.

When I was a little girl I remember being bullied. Yes, I do remember it. I arrived in Venezuela when I was eight years old. I was the “new girl” who could not speak spanish and when I did, I had a “mamma mia” accent. I was from a different country and culture. My friends didn’t understand my liberal parents and they surely never processed the idea of going topless to the Greek beaches. When I spoke to my mom in Greek they made fun of the “funny” words we used.

My dad got very sick when I was thirteen. My classmates made fun of him. They said terrible things at school. That hurt so much more than hearing negative comments about myself. Why on earth should you make fun of someone who is sick? They also picked on my sister and my mom.

They called me fat because I had a big booty (oh dear, you have no idea how much I appreciate that asset now). Some teachers and fellow students thought that I was stupid because I was terrible at math but then again I was the first one to raise my hand when the teacher asked “do you know what a pentagon is?”. I had no idea what it was but I told them that it came from the Greek word meaning “pente” that means “five” and “gonia” that means “angle”, so my logic told me that it must be something with five angles (yeah, so stupid).

I made terrible and embarrassing spelling mistakes. But hey…I guess that is the only negative thing about speaking 4 different languages at the age of ten.

Why am I telling you this? Because I hate the fact that so many people enjoy bringing others down. The reasons for that are endless, but I would like you to know that they can only hurt you if you let them.

Yes, I was constantly bullied and it did get to me but that all stopped when I turned thirteen. It didn’t hurt me no more because I knew whoever was behind that bully was so empty, that he or she had to empty someone else with their negative criticism. I embrace positive criticism. That is my way of getting better at whatever it is that I am doing.

When I started promoting my music I received all types of comments. Some of them did hurt and some of them made me feel so loved that I couldn’t believe it.  I understood that not everybody could like me and that was ok. I like me. I believe in me and I think that is a good start point. 

I have learned to love myself. It has been a terrible battle with so many voices in autopilot inside my head but I did manage to make peace with myself. You don’t realize it, but sometimes WE are our biggest bully.

People are going to have their opinion and that is ok too. They are going to judge whatever it is that you are doing. Good or bad, right or wrong. So go ahead and ignore those comments. They are not worth it. You know exactly who you are. Negative comments are just a way of improving yourself. You are simply spectacular just the way you are. Yes, you heard me. SPECTACULAR. 

Someone once told me “whatever rocks you find in your path put them inside a bag because at the end of the road, you could build a house with them”. Well I have built a big solid building with a big parking lot, thank you very much.

 

 

My workout routine

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People, exercise is good for your health. Period.

I like to workout. Often working out is a hated business, but I do enjoy it. Call me a masochist, but am I the only one who loves how my muscles hurt the morning after?

I am not telling you that you have to workout until you drop, but 20 minutes a day is a fantastic way to start. Any exercise is good exercise. When you are active you feel good about yourself and you keep your body healthy. Back in February I shared a post with tips on how to stick to your workout, today I am sharing my exercise routine.

One of the things I hate the most is doing the same workout routine over and over. I get bored quickly, so I often make a variation or two, every other week. I also like to divide my workouts. For example, I always include cardio, plank and abs in every workout, then I add 4 different exercises of legs, arms or back in the routine depending on the day. When I have less time I just stick to cardio.

My cardio varies a lot. I love to run, I fast-walk, I walk with incline, elliptical machine, bicycle, etc. I normally have a goal regarding time. Some days I feel really good and extend my cardio and other days I just finish my goal and continue the workout. The same happens with my ab routine.

Please remember to ALWAYS stretch. I cannot emphasize this enough. We don’t want injuries.

Monday

– Cardio 30 min.

– 1 min. plank

– 1 min. wall-sit

– Leg exercise day

– 250 abs.

 

Tuesday

– 40 min. Kickboxing

– 300 abs.

– 1 min. plank

– Back exercise day

 

Wednesday

– Free 🙂

 

Thursday

– 30 min. cardio

– 1 min. plank

– 1 min. wall-sit

– Arm day

– 400 abs.

 

Friday

– 40 min. Kickboxing

– 400 abs.

– 1 min. plank

 

Saturday

– Free 🙂

 

Sunday

– 30 min. cardio

– 500 abs.

– 1 min. plank

– 1 min. wall-sit

– Arm, back and legs mix.