Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thankful Thursday: Being a nurse.

Thursday it's here and with it, another entry to say "thank you".

What am I thankful this Thursday for today? I'm thankful for my job, for being a nurse, for still having a decent paying job in these uncertain times, and for having one with great co-workers, that allows me to exchange shifts and get a few extra days off when going on holidays, and where a Monday or a Sunday don't really mean the same than to other people.

As a nurse I deal with people and illness and as an Oncology nurse I deal with death way more often that I'd like to, but I've also got some of the most amazing lessons in life and how to live it from many of my patients. And as the photo right before this lines shows, there are so many that beat it and make it, that it's worth the fight. Cancer sucks, but if there's something I've learnt from my job is that life is worth living to the fullest and with the biggest smile in your face!

So, once again, Thank You!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wearing Handmade Wednesday: Cielo Design by Miriam Shimon!

Hello everyone!

I think  it's been quite a while since I'm done one of these, but despite the photographs not being up to par to what any amateur photographer worth their while should be using, I wanted to share something for Wearing Handmade Wednesday!

Okay, so today I was playing around with one of my sarees (I've decided that practice makes perfect, so I need to keep on practicing till I can wear a saree properly with my eyes closed!) and decided to get a pic taken wearing one of the most amazing finds and purchases as of late from Etsy. I bought two amazing southache pendants from Cielo Design by Miriam Shimon, and since you can't really see it too well in the above photo here's another one so you can go all "aaaah, oooohhh" on it!

Ain't it gorgeous? It's got the desi vibe, but not being your typical Indian thing, so wearing it with a saree gives the whole attire a very "me" feel!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Mix It Up Monday: Cafe Bombom Cupcakes & The Infernal Devices Trilogy by Cassandra Clare!

Hello everyone!

Happy Monday! I'm sure some of you might not agree with me, but when you've worked the weekend, and you have Monday off, it is quite an awesome day! If you still don't think Monday is a day worth acknowledging, let me recommend you my friend Bianca's blog and her Motivation Mondays posts!

My own contribution to make Monday a better day will be a new cupcake recipe I finally tried last week and a new book series, so it's gonna be another Mix It Up Monday!

For the Monday Munchies part today, I present to you: Cafe Bombom Cupcakes!

I got the idea for this recipe one day at my bro's, I was grabbing something from the fridge for my sis and I saw this tube of skimmed condensed milk, and I was surprised that condensed milk was now available in skimmed version and in a "pour-easy" ketchup-like container, and my sis told me they bought it to make cafe bombon for when their friends come over. Now, I'm not sure how many of you may know what we Spaniards call "cafe bombon", the translation would be bombom coffee literally, but in essence it's an espresso with a shot of condensed milk (more or less depending on personal taste). That got me thinking into making Cafe Bombon cupcakes!

I used the coffee cupcake base recipe from the Cappuccino cupcakes from "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World" (really, it's like my Holy Grail of baking!), used an apple corer, filled the whole with condensed milk (skimmed!) and then I had planned to use chocolate mousse to top them, but I didn't have all the ingredients, so I decided to use Cream Cheese frosting with a pair of added tablespoons of nutella for good measure!

They were quite a success with my co-workers on Wednesday night shift, I must say!

And as for the Mark This Book Monday bit, today I'm gonna be highly recommending you all a trilogy which final book came out last week: The Infernal Artifices by Cassandra Clare.


You might have heard about The Mortal Instruments series, also by Cassandra Clare, after all they have a movie based on the first book, City of Bones, coming out this summer. Well, this series is a prequel to that one, and on my very humble opinion as a reader, a superior one! I've loved The Mortal Instruments, and I started reading The Infernal Devices to go into the Shadowhunters world waiting for the last book on the TMI series that comes out next year, but once I started reading Clockwork Angel I was hooked for good!

Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince and Clockwork Princess. Each book keeps getting better than the previous one, and that is quite saying something. The plot keeps unravelling and deepening with each turn of the page, and we keep on discovering new information and getting new questions. The main characters, Will, Jem and Tessa are the first love triangle in a book that hasn't rubbed me off wrong at any moment, and their journey of love, friendship, loss and loyalty is amazing, the kind that makes you feel happy about humankind. But not just the main characters have that kind of emotional depth, it's something I have to say about Ms Clare, she knows how to bring their characters to life!

The trilogy is set up in Victorian times Great Britain, in the London's Shadowhunters Institute, and it begins with Tessa's journey from New York to London, to meet up with his brother. Tessa's journey to discover who and what she is will continue throughout the books and it is the key to the fight the Shadowhunters have against the villain in these books, a man raised by demons that want to take revenge on all Shadowhunters, since they destroyed his adoptive demonic parents.

All characters have their own demons to fight, emotionals or otherwise, and it's a story of companionship, loyalty and coming of age, and it's also a story of love, love inconditional and selfish and selfless love.

I can't really say anything else about the series without spoiling some of the plots, so I all I can add is: grab a copy and start reading!

I'm so in love with this series that I'm gonna be buying the hardcovers aside from already having the eBooks, I'm already waiting for an autographed copy of Clockwork Princess in the mail!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thankful Thursday: My family

Hello everyone!

I have decided to start a new entry for Thursdays, instead of my Travelling ones, I'm gonna do a little exercise of thankfulness. From now on, whenever I show photos of where I've been, it'll be on Tuesdays!

I got the idea while having a bit of a tough time on Tuesday, and doing my typical therapy: reading. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare, I never thought that a book could be just this kind of amazing emotional therapy. but this one was. Books have always been scapes for me, but this one was beyond that.
And there I got the idea for Thankful Thursdays.

And what I'm thankful for today? My family.

I've always considered myself lucky, cause I have a wonderful set of parents, with my crazy dad and my more serious mum, my older brother and my sister in law that is as much a sister as any sister I could have had.

And of course, my crazy adorable nephews! Both kiddos are grown up and taller than me, and they love teasing their grandpa!

So that's what I'm thankful for, for having an amazing family that I love, that loves me and supports me and has made me the person I am today.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Mix It Monday: Books & cupcakes, oh my!

Hello there!

Well, it seems that I can't really promise a lot of regularity for the blog, cause my motivation, my mood and my time off is really fluctuating as of late, so I'm gonna try to at least have a blog entry once a week, at least!

Today I'm gonna do a mix of my two regular Monday entries, so today there's gonna be a little bit of Monday Munchies and Mark This Book Monday!

For the Monday Munchies bit, I wanna show you the two latest recipes that I've tried. I hadn't baked anything since before going to India in Jan, and finally last week since I had quite a few days off, I managed to finally try one new recipe I had in my notebook for a long time, and since yesterday was St Patrick's Day, I decided to make the most Irish recipe I have and love!

First off, my Lady Grey cupcakes!

Based on the recipe for Chai cupcakes from "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World", but using Lady Grey tea bags instead of chai ones, substituting the spices for orange and lemon zest, and adding 1/4 teaspoon of bergamont extract to the cupcake batter. Once they cooled off, I filled them up with orange marmalade!

For the buttercream, I used the regular buttercream recipe from Alma's book: Objetivo: Cupcake Perfecto and added lemon and orange zest to it, along with 1/2 teaspoon of the bergamont extract. To make them look worthy of any proper tea party, I added some sugarpaste blooms.

I have to say I've been wanted to make this recipe for a long time, but I couldn't get the bergamot extract anywhere, and the only place I found it didn't ship out of the US, so I asked one of the superbly talented ladies from Attack of the Craft, Jamie from Warning Label Creations, and she ordered it for me, and shipped it to me. Thanks a lot, Jamiebuns!

Next we have my fave recipe for St Patrick's cupcakes: Chocolate Guinness cupcakes with Baileys buttercream! The only green thing about these are the lines and the shamrock sprinkles that the very awesome Gloria from En Ocasiones Veo Cupcakes gifted me!

The base cupcakes is also from "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World" I only used Guinness instead of the vegan stout they recommend. And the Baileys buttercream is also from Alma's book, Objetivo: Cupcake Perfecto!.

The idea to turn them into little black faced sheep was two-fold, first due to the many adorable black faced sheep me and my nephew Joel saw during our trip in Ireland and also due to the cupcake decorating workshop with kiddies designs, where we made little sheep, among others.

Now, for the Mark This Book Monday part of the entry... I'm gonna be sharing a few books of the ones I've read as of late, not full reviews, just a small recommendation for each one!

Sever by Lauren DeStefano

Sever is the final book of the Chemical Garden Trilogy, and for me, the best book of the whole trilogy. We finally seem to be getting a few more answers, and quite a few are really unexpected! The setting for the whole trilogy is a dystopian future where the human life expectance for males in the former US is 25 and 20 for the females (always getting the shorter end of the stick, aren't we?). Trying to survive in this world and trying to find a cure is the main theme, and of course, love. I feel this trilogy showcases human nature wonderfully, with characters that have a depth that sometimes surprises you (and other characters). The ending is hopeful, but harsh and there's love and loss and a future to work on.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone is the first book of a trilogy, with book 2 coming sometime in June this year. It takes place in a place that will remind you of a classic Russia, with Tzars, harsh cold places and even a Rasputin-esque figure. The whole feel of the book is very Slavik/Russian, and the world building is phenomenal. The main character is a girl that has given up on her magic gift without even knowing about it, and once it's discovered by the most powerful magic user in the kingdom, she is taken to train with the elite, and is separated from her best friend and first love. This book is the set up of the whole story and despite putting us in context of many things, it never seems slow or dragging, and there's also some serious action in the last part of the book too!

For Darkness Shows The Stars by Diana Peterfreund

This is a book I read just last week, and it's inspired by Persuasion by Jane Austen, and even if I'm not the biggest Austen fan out there, I do love me some Austen/Brönte literature! This story is set up in a dystopian future caused by the abuse of genetic manipulation. I feel like I can't give a short explanation of the world set up that the author does, and does so magnificently. I will though point out that the book does excellently justice to the Austen original in a very different way, but in the end, a very similar one, because no matter where or when we are, human nature will be quite the same. Moved by love, hurt, frienship, loyalty, duty power and loss. I loved this book, and it made me cry quite a few times while reading it. One of the things I loved the most about it was how the narrative of the story was punctuated by the letters the main characters wrote to each other in the past, and how they give us so many clues about themselves and the world they live in. If you like Jane Austen, you're very likely to love this book, and if you don't, don't let it put you off, it's a great book on its own.