Thursday, November 27

Handmade Scrapbook Albums

I know a lot of crafty people and they keep me motivated with their awesome projects and ideas. I am very excited about this project - my sisters´ handmade scrapbook albums. They are really well made and very pretty! Don´t you just love them? A nice way to keep your special memories for years to come.

If you buy pretty paper cartons like she did, I guess it could be a bit of a costly project, but no more expensive then any other technique. Also, it is still cheaper and prettier if you do it yourself then buy one. I love that you can personalise the theme of the album for each person or occasion separately. You can make a baby photo album, Christmas photo album, wedding, birthday, etc.




























With love,


Maja

Monday, November 24

Celebration Finger Food

The happiest time of the year is fast approaching! A lot of us are already all in Christmas time preparations, decorating our homes and planning ahead for gifts, upcoming parties and food for family gatherings. Things are a lot easier if you plan ahead, you can buy cheaper and more personal, thoughtful Christmas gifts when you have time to thing about what will make someone in your life happy. Here is my selection of finger food for a perfect event.  


Number 1 - Egg Salad
This recipe is very easy to prepare. All you have to do is boil as much eggs as you like, cut them in small pieces, add mayonnaise, salt and pepper and mix it up together. 

Number 2 - BIG MAC "Secret" Sauce
I love this sauce! McDonald's secret sauce recipe has been exposed :) You need: 1 small onion, 2 cucumbers, 1 cup of mayonnaise, 2 spoons of ketchup, 1 spoon of mustard, a spoon of vinegar and salt. Put all of the ingredients in a blender and there you have it - the "most famous secret sauce"!

Number 3 - Avocado Dip
Blend 1 avocado with 1 cup of sour cream, salt and pepper. 

Number 4 - Mixed Salad
In this picture we used paprika, tomatoes and onions with apple vinegar and pumpkin seed oil.

Number 5 - Pizza Muffins
I make the the regular pizza dough, divide it among 24 muffin cups and put pieces of sliced ham and cheese on top. 

Number 6 - "Kifli"
This one is my speciality - my family always begs me to bake them :) I use 1kg of smooth flour, yeast powder, 2 spoons of sugar and 1 spoon of salt. Mix them all together, add about 3 or 4 cups of warm water and knead for 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Set aside in a warm place to prove for 45 minutes until the dough has almost doubled in size. Divide into 8 pieces, form dough into a round shape and cut into 8 slices. Roll up each slice, put them into a pan, brush them with melted butter or eggs and bake on 200 degrees C for 15 minutes. When you take them out, splash then with warm water and cover them with a clean kitchen cloth for a few minutes. They taste the best when still warm.

Number 7 - Cheese and Fruit Sticks
Put pieces of fruit and cheese on a stick - no surprise there :)

Number 8 - Honey Pie (Not really a pie, more of a pastry)
This recipe is Hungarian and I have never made this dessert before, but we always eat it on family events and special occasions. You can find a recipe for it here. Maybe one of these days I will ask my grandmother or mother for their recipe, then try it out and translate it for you. 

What are the the appetisers?
Homemade Chocolate liker, homemade schnapps and regular whiskey.

Drinks?
Fruit flavoured water, juice and coffee.

Enjoy spending time with people you love!

With love,


Maja

Saturday, November 22

My Favourite Makeup Products - MAC Cosmetics

I am not a fan of waking up an hour before having to leave for work to have a long morning routine. I am too lazy for that, I rather hit snooze and sleep until the last minute. But I do like my makeup products and I have days when I am so excited that my smokey eye turns out perfectly! So I have perfected a quick morning routine for those days, when I feel like wearing makeup. I am a loyal customer of MAC Cosmetics and I adore their makeup! 


My sister is the culprit who made me obsessed with MAC Cosmetics! I searched the perfect eye shadow and blush for me for weeks, since it is a bit expensive and I don´t usually spent that much on makeup. Their store is also not located in our country, so I have to either order them on line or buy their products when I go to Vienna or Budapest. 
MAC Cosmetics - brush is not from their brand.
After revising about 40 forums and blogs, I decided on two eye shadows which are perfect shades for women with dark brown hair and brown/green eyes - Sumptuous olive and Woodwinked. I have no other eye shadow in my makeup purse! I love the green one a bit more, though. This highly-pigmented powder applies evenly and blends well, just as they state on their website.
Sumptuous olive and Woodwinked
I really wanted to have a good blush for years but I haven´t found the right one for a long time. I love natural look, and I always thought that blushes make you look fansy or something. I wasn´t exactly a girly girl growing up, I was more into sports and art. But I do like to look pretty - so that changed a bit since then. When I went to Budapest with my family, we went to MAC Cosmetics store, I knew I was going to find the perfect one. One of their makeup artists helped me and I chose the mineralized blush called Warm Soul (which is mid tone beige with gold pearl) and it is perfect for me.  It is very long lasting, it warms up the skin tone and makes my cheeks look radiant :) 
Mineralized blush Warm Soul
What else I love about MAC Cosmetics?
I heard they offer a recycling program that scores you free makeup with every six empty MAC product containers that you bring in. Then you can redeem them for one free lipstick! I haven´t had six empty containers yet, but I will one day. 
I also love that you can choose your own custom palette.

I have only one comment about the packaging, but I am sure that it was my fault somehow. It is very sleek and compact and I like it very much, but the top plastic came off and now I have to adjust it every time I open the blush. I did not drop it on the floor or anything like that but I travel a lot (visit my family) and I think it may have got damaged inside my suitcase. This is the only way it could of gotten damaged. 

There are more reviews of MAC Cosmetics and other great makeup products on Fashionomicall

With love,


Maja

Thursday, November 20

Special Christmas Gifts for Everyone in Your Life!

December is right around the corner and I am already making plans for my favourite holidays of the year.  I am already brainstorming for the perfect gifts for my loved ones. My friends have been asking me to draw them a something  for years now and I always said I will, when I won´t be so busy. This year I decided to make each of them their own special drawing and framing it for their Christmas present. For months I have been looking for signs what kind of wall art would they like to have in their homes and I have picked out the perfect motive for all of them.  Well, one of them e-mailed me an exact drawing she would love to have and I am making a replica of that drawing. She also added  few extra motives, which they all like so I decided to go with that. I think this will be an original way to make them happy and it will not cost me anything except for my time. Since I love making art, this will not be a problem for me. I am having fun while doing it.

So here is the exact plan for my personalised gifts.

1. Draw, draw and draw and make it look awesome!
2. Use watercolours to finish the painting.
3. Write something special about each of them above the painting and sign your name underneath.
4. Frame them.
5. Wrap your gifts and wait for the Holidays to come!

You can make these kind of gifts for everyone – include something special, add a note and frame it! I made a special gift list with ideas on what to frame for every special person in you life.  I hope you will find something you will like!




Two drawings in the process of making. I hope they will be great gifts for my friends, when finished.

With love,



Maja

Monday, November 17

OneRepublic Performance in Ljubljana with KONGOS

Official Album Cover
The concert started at 8 PM on a Sunday night, with a South African alternative rock band KONGOS as the opening act. They were AWESOME! Here I am, the morning after the concert already googling them - I did know one of their songs by heart, which which they ended their performance (Come With Me Now) but I never knew the name of their band or any other information about them before. The awesome thing about them is that they are four brothers: Johnny (accordion, keyboard, vocals), Jesse (drums, percussion, vocals), Daniel (guitar, vocals), and Dylan Kongos (bass guitar, lap slide guitar, vocals). Now they live, record and perform in Phoenix. 
I have to say I liked them featuring Moe'z Art - Come Together performance the best. Here is a video of that song.


KONGOS
OneRepublic started their show with a bit of a delay. I was already yawning after 40 minutes from when KONGOS have left the stage. The stage setup was taking a bit long, but their performance was so awesome, I totally forgot about that! They sound even better in person!

OneRepublic Performance
They opened the show with "Light it up" with a nice light show behind the white curtains. They were playing behind the curtains for a bit too long, but when it came down, it was awesome! I especially loved the lights they had on their guitars and the fans went crazy! The concert hall Centre StoĹžice was packed full with supposedly 10.000 screaming fans. 

OneRepublic Performance
They played all of their biggest hits and they did not disappoint! Plus they incorporated a bit our country in their performance with a great video playing in the background and they brought Slovenia´s flag on the stage with them for which they get extra points! For Slovenia they said that it has been the best first day in a new country, which was awesome in a way also. Well, they have to say something nice in every city, don´t they? :)

I remember the singer Ryan saying that his favourite music video they have ever filmed was the new video for the song "I Lived". I love that song very much, thank you for sharing :) I hoped they would play "Preacher" but my wish didn´t come true. Still, it was one of the best concerts in my life so far! Thank you KONGOS and OneRepublic for a great night!

With love,


Maja

Sunday, November 16

Eat healthier with less effort

I love to eat good food and I since I had weight issues in the past I refuse to eat something that does not make my taste buds go crazy! My philosophy is: “Do not gain weight from food with bad taste”. I love eating healthy which does not mean not delicious in my book. Healthy eating means having a balanced diet and there is no room for extremes. There are ways to make a dish that you dislike more to your taste.


If you love fast food.

There are ways to make fast food at home in a variety of healthier recipes. Change the way you shop: instead of white bread choose whole wheat bread and swap white pasta with wheat pasta. There a lot of healthier options for you to supplement your favourite meal ingredients and your dish will still taste amazingly good. Try grilling instead of deep frying and use olive oil instead of butter. One of my favourite dishes to make at home is a great whole wheat bun hamburger with fresh onion, salad and tomatoes. Try to incorporate healthy lifestyle in your everyday life and have fun in the process of discovering new, healthy recipes.

If you love sugar.

Supplement sugar with honey or maple syrup, in small servings. There is a lot talk about using stevia or agave these days, which are all-natural sweeteners. They are a lot sweeter than sugar, so you have to use it in moderation. The easiest way is to simply eat more fresh fruits which contain enough fructose for you to not crave sugar as much anymore.  This way you will also consume lot of fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.


If you love drinking soda.

I was never much of a soda drinker, so I am fine with drinking water all the time. Some of you may enjoy drinking soda very much and there are ways to still enjoy a great drink without all of the sugar intake. Make a lot of tea, add honey and lemon or prepare it however you like it best and let it cool off. Pour it in bottles and put it in your fridge and there you have it – a nice refreshing homemade ice tea at all times. The great side of this is that there are so much different tea flavors, you can drink new ice tea every day.

If you dislike vegetables.

We all know vegetables are good for our bodies and minds, because of all the vitamins they contain. If you cannot stand the idea of eating raw or cooked vegetables, mix it in with your other food, so you will not see or taste them. Mash the cauliflower, broccoli or carrots in with you mash potatoes. Put the cooked veggies in your whole wheat tortillas and add some low fat cheese. Put some veggies in your fruit smoothie and you won´t even taste it. Bring in your vitamins in a way your taste buds will not suffer.

You may need some time to adjust to new flavors but it will be worth it. You may discover new dishes which you will enjoy even more than the foods you are used to eating now. Explore the rich world of delicious food and stay healthy.

With love,


Maja

Saturday, November 15

Dumplings with Prosciutto Cream Sauce

 My sister came to visit us for a few days, since we are going to OneRepublic concert tomorrow (just  the two of us) and I made her dinner. I have a hard time every day on deciding what to cook - why is that so hard? I feel like we eat the same things over and over again. I would love to experiment with my cooking more, but it is hard to find something everybody likes to eat, except pizza or pasta, off course. I wanted to make something that she doesn´t eat much at home, so I made dumplings with Prosciutto Cream Sauce that we enjoyed very much. Instead of dumplings, you can use any kind of pasta.

Recipe for Prosciutto Cream Sauce:

2 tablespoons of olive oil
6 slices of prosciutto, cut into 1/4-inch strips
500 ml heavy cream
a bit of chopped fresh parsley leaves
salt and pepper

Cook the pasta or dumplings.

Place the prosciutto in the pan and saute in olive oil for 3 minutes. Add the cream,, salt and pepper to the pan and let the cream reduce by half, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn the fire off and sprinkle with parsley.
Pour the sauce over strained pasta and enjoy!
Served dumplings with Prosciutto Cream Sauce
Prosciutto Cream Sauce
With love,


Maja

Thursday, November 13

My Playlist This Week

Winter is fast approaching and I am already thinking about Christmas and everything that comes with it - gifts for my friends and family, spending time together with my loved ones, drinking hot beverages and just being happy and having fun. It is my favourite time of year! As I am feeling a bit nostalgic and living in anticipation of holidays, my Playlist consists of romantic and inspirational songs this week. 

1. Ed Sheeran - Lego house

I LOVE Ed Sheeran's songs PERIOD. No surprise there :)

2. OneRepublic - Good Life

On Sunday I am going to OneRepublic concert in Ljubljana and I have been listening to all of their songs for last few weeks!! I cannot wait!

3. Gavin DeGraw - Soldier

My favourite song ever.

4. Charli XCX - Boom Clap

I blame The Fault in Our Stars for this one. It is an awesome song, but I think I connect it with the story and that makes it even better.

5. Milky Chance - Stolen Dance

Simply beautiful. 

Listen and be inspired.

With love,


Maja

Wednesday, November 12

Lemon Meringue Pie - Me Baking

I enjoyed watching a cooking show called "MasterChef" last week. That wasn´t my first choice, but since there was nothing else interesting on TV and I was lazy to to something else, I watched it and really got into it. I even got a bit obsessed and since then I have watched Jamie Olivers´ 15 Minute Meals and even Junior MasterChef. I did watch cooking shows before, but not for a few years now, so I kind of forgot how much fun they could be. 


This is the was Lemon Meringue Pie is supposed to look
Anyway, on MasterChef three people were competing in semifinals and cooking something in the first round - I don´t remember exactly what. But then one the worst two had to compete by baking a Lemon Meringue Pie, which impressed me very much. My mouth watered the whole time they were tasting and evaluating it. It looked so good. So off course, the next day I had to try to make it myself. I found a great recipe here and it was easy to follow, no doubt there. But as always, I forgot to buy one of the ingredients - cornflour. So I used regular white flour instead and it was fine. But it didn´t look very appealing, I think. Since I changed an ingredient in the filling, I must have messed something up and it didn´t harden the way it was supposed to. But I have faith that when I am baking it again (and using the right ingredients), I will make be the best Lemon Meringue Pie ever. For now, I have made this mess of a pie (Gordon Ramsay sadly wouldn´t be impressed by this):


Before baking for the first time.
Before baking for the second time.
After baking for the second time.
Lemon Meringue Pie
A piece of pie
The hardest part for me was to cook the lemon filling. I got bored stirring it like crazy and when it didn´t turn out the way it was supposed to, I was bummed. I did really like the taste, though. I give this recipe 5 out of 5 stars! 

With love,


Maja

Thursday, November 6

A Few Words on Writing my Book


Hello, 

I have been writing for weeks now and it feels like months. Revising my draft every day, reading trough dictionaries, checking for spelling errors and so on. I do enjoy the process, really. I think about tghe storty all the time. At night I have trouble falling asleep because I think about it too much. It has totally taken over my life.

Photo credit: mugfaker (Creative Commons)
The biggest issue I am having now is to chose the right editor for my book - I know it is best for every writer to have someone else read trough the manuscript, but I have limited options here. English language is not my nor my friends' and families' first language so they are not really the best people to proof read my book. I would love if someone had an interest to do so, but most of them don't even enjoy reading in general, so reading in English language is the last thing on their minds. Plus asking someone to do something you know he hates - not really fair.

Other issues I am having are that I never seem to think my book is great enough to be finished and published. I have a huge fear for it to be poor in grammar and in all badly written. Really. I have read a ton of books in English and I think I have a sense for writing stories but I have no trust in my work. Like, non. I feel like a professional editor would help my writing in the future a lot and I would improve by reading his/her comments. How much money should I spend on editing?

In the middle of this I am also figuring out what my title should be and how the cover page should look like. Do you guys have some advice for me? If so, feel free to share your thoughts. I am always up for some creative criticism.

Have a nice day!

Love,


Maja

Wednesday, November 5

Lunch For Less Than 1€

Hello,

I have been cooking and baking a lot lately and since food is the biggest monthly cost in a lot of households (except for rent, off course), I have been trying to figure out what yummy meals I can make on a tight budget. I decided to do a little experiment - to spend 25€ weekly on food and I am really curious if it can be made. I think I can manage, but this budget contains breakfasts, lunches, snacks and dinners. Not so easy, huh? I still think you really can find a lot of items on sale and just go with it. Mix it up all together like Jamie Oliver does :) For snacks I will buy fruits and yogurts, breakfasts are made of oatmeal´s or cereal, so it is not much, and we don´t really eat dinner, since we have lunch at 4 PM because we come home from work around that time. Maybe a yogurt or fruit before bed. I hope we can make this work, we will save a lot of money if we do.

Yesterday I managed to make lunch for less than 1€! It was yummy and I was really happy with it. We ate homemade dumplings with tomato sauce. I used 1kg of flower, two spoons of sonflower oil, water, salt, sugar and tomato puree. I could also use whole wheat fower to make it healthier. Making dumplings took me an hour and a half, but I lisened to music and it was not so bad. I was at home yesterday - so I had time. My hands did start to hurt a bit, since I am not used to making these. But I was really happy with the end result and it was worth it! My boyfriend complimented on my cooking and I felt awesome. 

Plus it is really great to make this kind of foods at home - you always know what ingridients you used. So without preservative or additives in you food, which you don´t even know how to pronounce. So that´s a plus.

Dumplings with tomato sauce
Dumplings
1€ down, 24€ to go - a great first day of my experiment! 

Love,


Maja

Sunday, November 2

Artsy Shimmer by Maja on ETSY

Hello,

I am so excited to announce:
My shop on ETSY is finally opened!

I have planned to make this happen for a long time now and I finally made time to do so. I have always gifted my art to family and friends but now I finally decided to open my own little "hobby" shop. I will work on adding new items to my shop every day from now on and having a lot of fun in the process. Who know what else I will make - I have a ton of ideas and so much inspiration it is not even funny. :)

This are the items currently listed in my shop:

Not Weird. Limited Edition.
The White Tree of Gondor on - Set of Three
The White Tree of Gondor on Black Canvas
The White Tree of Gondor on Blue Canvas
The White Tree of Gondor on Grey Canvas
Poppies Abstract
Poppies Red/White
I really really hope you like it.

Love,


Maja