I just thought that you should know…

Hey pixels!! I’m going on holidays!! My Summer trip will have already started when you’re reading this post!! I’m leaving my daily life for a few days to embrace the adventure. I’ll became wild and free!

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Actually this post is just to wish you a nice end of August, and to leave you this small note:

  • I have scheduled posts for the whole week, so there will be some recipes and more to read while I’m outside. I usually don’t schedule my posts, but I’m not taking my laptop or tablet with me. And I’m looking at my smartphone just to take some pictures with it!!
  • I’ll try to answer your comments, but the answer will arrive a bit later… I apologise now for the possible inconvenients.

That’s all, my happy pixels!! Have a great week!!!

Thanks for reading. Lots of love,

Sílvia

Photo source: Unsplash

How to pack like a pro in just 10′

Hey pixels!! Welcome to the ultimate guide about how to pack a carry on suitcase for a whole week in just 10′!! Is this possible?, I’m almost hearing you asking this. Yes, it is!! Great news for people who, like me, love travelling but hate packing.

I have my own procedure to do this. Easy and fool proof, it has shown its effectivity every time I’ve packed until now. I don’t  travel that much, but I studied away from home, so I had to pack a carry on suitcase every time I visited home. Trust me, my happy pixels, this method works.

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Not just works, I almost always manage to not use all the available space in my suitcase. Remember that you will probably buy some souvenirs or new clothes during your trip. Your new possessions will need some space on the way back.

How to pack like a pro in 10′

Have a list with the basics you’ll need to pack. I use always the same list, because the basics are the same. I just need to change a couple of items depending on the season, like adding a scarf if travelling during Winter. My lists include: clothes, make up, a second pair of shoes, pajamas, the chargers of all the electronic stuff I take with me…. This is a previous step before start packing. The good part is that you just need to write your list once, because you can use always the same.

Pack just the essentials. Have a look at your list and get ready the items on it. The important part here is not packing useless stuff. For example, if you’re going to use this fancy red dress once, don’t pack it. I pack basic and comfy clothes that I can use more than one day. I don’t pack my laptop or tablet because I know I’m not going to use them (I want my trips to be as electronic free as I can). The questions for me before choosing something are:

  1. I am going to use it really? I mean using it a lot, not just wearing it during a morning or never. This just in case sandals need too much space.
  2. Can this be changed for a better option? Can I pack a shoes that need less space? Can I pack a more versatile sweater?

Don’t get obsessed with packing: there are shops where you’re going. In case you forget something, I’m sure this particular item will be available there.

how to pack

Display all the selected items on your bed before packing. Have a look and check that you’ll need all of them. When sure about it, it’s time to start the last step. Open that pretty suitcase and start filling it.

Use some tricks to maximise the use of the space. They don’t make miracles, but help. Rolling the clothes, using the interior of your shoes to store small stuff, placing things ordered instead of making a mess… 

Close your suitcase. That’s all. Now everything is on its proper place. It’s done!! That easy. Maybe the first times it will take a bit longer than 10′, but you’ll get better with some practice.

That’s all, my happy pixels!! What do you think about my method? Do you have any tips to share with us? Please, let us know in the comments below.

Photos source: Unsplash

Ice-Cream Flavoured Book Tag

Hey pixels!! How are you?? How is your summer going? I’ve been nominated to do this tag by my lovely friend Ilsa, from A Whisper of Ink. Please, visit her blog, is amazing!!

I am so happy about the tag because I love books and ice cream, so this is, basically, a comination of two of my favourite things ever. A wonderful idea for a tag, in my opinion!! I hope you’ll enjoy my answers, my happy friends!!

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The Tag

chocolate ice cream (a dark book)

I guess almost any thriller or horror story could fit in this first category. I don’t read so many horror stories, but I’m keen on thrillers and similar. I’m thinking in the Millenium books, by Stieg Larsson. The first 3 ones, the fourth is written by another author; I liked it, but I prefer Larsson’s style.

vanilla ice cream (a light, fluffy read)

Lab Girl, by Hope Jahren. I found it so interesting, the story is so sweet. And while reading it, I was so interested in knowing more about the plants and trees mentioned in the book. Not to talk about my new ambition of planting a tree if someday I have my own garden.

cookies & cream ice cream (a gorgeous book)

Someday this pain will be useful to you, by Peter Cameron. I think it’s an interesting story. When I read it I din’t feel so good, and reading this book helped me.

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strawberry ice cream (a book that left you with mixed feelings)

Alley, by Veronica Roth. The last book of the Divergent trilogy. I liked it, but I really prefer how the film ends. This is weird because I almost always prefer the book, but in this case is just about how the book ends.

peanutella ice cream (an underrated book)

La peur, by Gabriel Chevalier. I don’t know if it’s underrated, but when I bought it the book store woman told me that I was the first person buying this book there, and I’m talking about the most popular book store all over my town… I know it’s a small town, but they didn’t had it there; they had to order it just for me… I would like to know if now more people had bought it… It’s about WWI, if you’re interested.

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mango sorbet ice cream (an interesting book)

Atlas de islas remotas, by Judith Schalansky. It’s a weird book where the author talks about 50 lonely islands and tells a short fiction tale for every island. There are islands where no one lives (or very few people live), not the usual places full of tourists. I did not know about the existence of more than half of them. I’m interested in this kind of weird books that allow you to learn that kind of stuff.

mint ice cream (a book that was not for you)

The Twilight saga, by Stephanie Meyer. It’s not my style. I think the story is full of topics and romance, but it has not a real plot behind all that obsessive love. No, thank you.

white chocolate ice cream (an all time favourite)

Harry Potter (all the book series), by Rowling. I love the story, if I start reading one of them, I just can’t stop until the book is over. And then, I have to start the following one… I was not exactly a child when I read the first book for the first time (high school), but I fell in love with it. I remember how horrible it was every time I was waiting for the next book to be published, I wanted so badly to know how everything would end….

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coffee ice cream (a book you DFN’ed)

I haven’t finished reading lots of books. I used to feel horrible while doing it, but now I think if I don’t like a book I can just stop reading. I had to read some horrible books for school, so now I just want to read the books that I really enjoy. An example of this category would be 50 shades of Grey.

ice cream sundae (a book you devoured)

Here I could talk about lots of books, too. All the good books I’ve mentioned before in this post, Lord of the rings, The name of the rose, all the books from Jane Austen, Mari Jungsted or Camilla Läckberg…. Just to name a few…

I tag…

I tag anyone who wants to do the tag!! Just start answering questions, my happy pixels!! Please, let me know if you’re doing the tag, I would love to read your answers!!

What do you think about mine? Have you read any of the books I’m mentioning? Please, let me know in the comments below.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Mug Cake

Hey pixels!! That’s me with a mug cake again! It’s been a lot since the last one!! But today I wanted something sweet to eat, and I had not time to make a big cake; also it’s still too  warm to even think about using the oven…

Almost all the mug recipes we’ve made until now were chocolate recipes. Today’s one it has chocolate involved, of course, but only a few chips. I wanted to try something new, so I’ve made my first chocolate chip mug cake: vanilla flavoured cake with some dark chocolate chips. I love it!!

Vegan chocolate chips mug cake

To improve things, the recipe is completely vegan and it requires very few ingredients, so you can make yours in no time. 5′ are enough to get it ready.

The flavour is amazing. If you don’t have chocolate chips, you can take a small amount of chocolate broken into small pieces. The result will be almost the same.

Vegan chocolate chips mug cake 2

I can’t say this is a healthy recipe, but it could be worse… I mean, at least it’s home made and everything is vegan. You can reduce the amount of sugar if you want. This can be a nice dessert, part of a brunch or even part of your breakfast if you’re going to have a hard day and you feel that you need something amazing to eat before leaving home.

Do you need some extra energy to start a new week?? Today it’s Monday… Why not giving this cake a try?

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons soy milk
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons vegan dark chocolate chips

Directions:

Combine all ingredients except chocolate chips into a microwave safe mug. This is a small cake, so don’t worry about your mug size. Combine until there are no lumps.

Add the chocolate chips and stirr a bit. Microwave for about 1′. Allow to cool a bit before eating.

It couldn’t be easier to make this cake!! What do you think about mug cakes, my happy pixels? Do you make them at home? Are you going to try this one? Please, let me know in the comments below.

A new cultural center is opening…

Hey pixels!! Last weekend we had some kind of cultural week here, with a couple of new art exhibitions, and activities at a new center that is not ready to open always, but it did for two days. We had music, dance and cinema, between other stuff during all Friday and Saturday.

starry night

I visit some of the exhibitions; some of them were located outside this center, which used to be a private house. Last Saturday night I went to the center with my mom and my cousin and we saw one of the art exhibitions located there, the end of a concert and a film.

The exhibition was composed by old photos of our town and some vintage objects. It has a small part about archeology because they found some antique tombs while restoring the place. It used to be a kind of small palace and it’s so old. Actually my town has been inhabited for a couple of thousand years, so it’s difficult to restore something or even to make public works without some archeological finds involved.

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The film was On the milky  road, by Emir Kusturica (2016). It’s a weird film, if you ask me. It is a three-part narrative following selected critical periods in the life of a man and his country, from a time war, to when he falls in love. I really enjoy it. I think it’s so good. We saw it on the house patio.

It was a pleasant night. The weather was fantastic, it was a warm starry night, perfect to watch a good film outside. We had fun.

patio archway

I know it’s been almost a whole week since this happened, but I’ve been very busy. I wanted to talk about this anyway.

What do you think? Have you seen this film, my happy pixels? Do you have similar art centers in your city/town? Please, let me know in the comments below.

S’mores cake

Hey pixels!!  I just realized that today’s it’s S’mores National Day, and I wanted to share with you this s’mores recipes I did some days ago!! Enjoy it, my happy pixels!! And have a nice day!! (Are you eating s’mores today??)

I’m going to a picnic today! This evening we’re going to have a picnic near the beach. A picnic at night is always fun. There is an area with tables and benches that you can use, so you just have to prepare some good food and go there.

S'mores cake

 

In my town it’s forbidden to make campfires, so a more traditional way to eat s’mores is complicated… But, when I found that s’mores cakes do exist, I couldn’t be happier. I love making cakes, so I ran to the supermarket to buy some ingredients (I didn’t had heavy cream, guilty) and I went back home to make the cake.

I’m bringing my cake to the picnic tonight. I hope that everyone will enjoy it!! It’s been my first time making this cake. But not going to this kind of picnic. Temperatures are so high lately that being near the sea, feeling a nice breeze and the smell of the sea salt is incredibly awesome. I usually go with my family. We eat and chat about our lifes and plans. I love it!!

S'mores cake piece

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 5-6 tablespoons butter

Chocolate dough:

  • 1 1/8 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted

for topping:

  • 3 egg whites
  • 90g sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 180ºC.

Melt butter and mix in graham crumbs. Mix until moistened. Spray a round mold with non-stick spray and press graham crust into it.

In a bowl, whisk egg and sugar until smooth and no lumps remain. Add milk, cream, butter and vanilla, and mix until combined. Sift dry ingredients together and add to wet mixture. Mix until batter is smooth. Add to the mold. Place mold in a baking dish and add about 1 1/2 cups of water to the bottom. Bake for 30′, or until cake is set.

While baking the cake, make the meringue. Pour it all over your baked cake. Heat the broiler on your oven and watching carefully, brown meringue for about 2-3′. Do not take your eyes off the cake! Serve immediately.

Do you like s’mores, my happy pixels? How do you eat them?  Do you go camping? Picnics? Anyone? I hope you’re having a wonderful Summer!! Please, feel free to leave a comment.

How to take better travel photos

Hey pixels!! We’re talking about travelling again!! Yes!!! My Summer trip is getting closer, and I can’t help but thinking about travel related stuff. One of my favourite activities when I’m travelling is taking pictures. I love it! I take pictures of everything I find interesting or beautiful. More than one photo of the same thing, you know, from different perspectives and angles, and I tend to repeat the photo, just in case… Thanks for the digital cameras, if I had an analogic one, I would spent all my money just revealing my 400 photos after each trip…

travelling pictures

I’m not a professional photographer, I just do my best. I love taking photos and trying to get better at it. That’s why I’ve been looking for some interesting tips. I would like to come back from my trip with a couple of decent photos (please, instead of a couple, read 700).

I’ll be practicing a bit the next couple of weeks, before departing to my adventure. A good tip is nothing if it’s just theory. I will take some photos, just to improve my skills before the big week outside home. This is so exciting, my happy pixels!!

tram picture

And, of course, I want to share my new theorical photography knowledge with you. This way, you can practice, too!! Even if you’re not travelling anywhere this Summer, you can practice and improve your skills. I’m sure you have fabulous spots to take pictures near your homes.

So, let’s start!!

How to take better travel photos

Use a real camera instead of your phone’s one. You don’t need a professional or a really expensive one: more than the camera are the photographer’s skills that count. You can have the best camera and still have no idea about how to use it. If you are interested on invest tons of money in a good one, I suggest taking a photography classes, they will be really useful.

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Care about composition, framing and that kind of stuff. The central object in the photo should attract the atention at the first sight, and the composition should be balanced. I could write a couple of posts just about this two subjects, but I’m not a professional, so I’m not going to do. Everything you should know is that practice makes perfect, so keep shooting your camera, and things will improve. But don’t get obsessed with that stuff.

Never take just a single photo. I mean, take more than one. If you fall in love with something, for example, the view from a bridge, take more than one photo. Take twenty if you think you need to. Try different angles, even you could shoot one in black and white, just to see the difference.

snowy road

The rule of thirds. This rule requires you to break an image into three equal parts either vertically, horizontally or both. The goal is to place key compositional elements into those thirds. You want to avoid splitting the image half and half, as it won’t look as good.

Be creative. Look for inspiration, but have your own ideas. Don’t worry about the quality of the idea or if it’s good enough for Instagram. The most important point is to have fun. You can’t plan ahead all the photos you’re going to take, just live the moment and the inspiration will come to you!!

sunset

Edit your photos. The result will be always a bit better. Again, you don’t have to invest lots of money, since they are free programs or apps that allow you to edit your photos in a nice way. For phone photos, I use vsco; a free pc program is, for example, gimp. Or even pixlr, where you can edit your pictures online without downloading a specific program. (This post is not sponsored, really).

Share the results. Write a nice blog post (as I will do, my happy pixels), share some pics on your social media. Let your friends see your work. Explain the story behind each pic, and this will be even more interesting.

And that’s all! Just enjoy taking pictures, my happy pixels!!

Did you find my tips interesting? Are you going to practice them a bit? Are you travelling this Summer? Please, let me know in the comments below. And enjoy your pictures!!

Photos source: Unsplash