Monday, December 14, 2015

Pelos caminhos de Portugal - part 9 - Palácio Mateus

Olá!! :-)

As I had written on my previous post about our stay in Vila Real, besides relaxing we went to Palácio Mateus, which is just a bus drive away from the city center. I believe it took approximately 20min to get there.
I was not sure if I had been there in the past, but I did know that it was a beautiful place to visit.
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Thursday, December 10, 2015

The road to Invisalign

Hello there!!

Today I want to talk about Invisalign and try to answer some of your potential questions about this treatment. I read so many reviews and other people's opinions that I find out very important to share mine as well. Who knows? Maybe there's one of you who also wants to get a nicer smile but is not aware that you can actually do it without having your mouth filled with metal wires.

Here are some FAQ's:

  • What is it?
Invisalign is a "new" way of getting your teeth straight without using the conventional metal braces.
These are plastic trays, transparent, that are custom made to your teeth.

  • How it works?
Each person's case is different and therefore the treatment plan is also different. In general terms, anyone could use this treatment (they have treated over 3M patients!!). Depending on the duration of your treatment, you will get a certain amount of trays. Each tray is replaced every two weeks, unless your doctor says otherwise.
You should wear them for about 20-22hours a day, meaning all the time except when having meals.

  • How do they get the aligners custom made?
Nowadays, some Invisalign providers have a digital scanner that takes pictures of your teeth. Imagine using a probe with a camera on the very end and take pictures of your teeth.
In case such system is not available, then they make traditional molds of your teeth.
You also have to take X-rays of your mouth and skull.

  • Restrictions:
No food, hot or sugary drinks while wearing Invisalign. Only water is allowed. If you do eat or drink while wearing them be prepared for the possibility that your aligners will get some coloring or may even break.
After every meal/snack, you have to floss, brush your teeth and your aligners. Like... always!

  • Is it really "invisible"?
Depends.
In my case, I think not. Why? I have some attachments placed on my teeth, therefore, you can see "bumps" on them and the correspondent bumps on the aligners.
If you do not need any attachments (in case your teeth only need minor correction) than most likely,
your aligners will hardly be noticeable.

  • What are those "bumps" on your teeth?
The bumps or attachments are small composite placed on your teeth to help them move better.
Some teeth may need more difficult movements (rotation or vertical direction - up/down) which a flat surface won't be able to do.
They will have the same color as your teeth or as close as possible of course.

  • Does it hurt?
Pain is a very subjective thing. I can stand quite some pain, but in my case, I have not felt any pain so far! Like, nothing!!
I do feel some pressure on my teeth, due to having a strange object placed on my teeth. Also, some of my teeth feel more sensitive than others, but I don't call this pain.
Pain for me is something that requires to take medicine and won't allow you to do your normal daily errands.
So far, I'm just fine! Could change in the future though...

  • Does it affect your speech?
A little bit. Some words get a funny sound but it's nothing crazy. Words with "s" or "f" are the trickiest ones for me.

  • How much it cost?
The cost highly depends on the duration of the treatment. This means that there is no price that fits all, let's say.
In my case, the technical costs (getting your aligners manufactured) are a fixed value and what could make the whole treatment more expensive is the amount of visits required.
Invisalign says that in average, the treatment can go from 3.5 - 5.5kEur. Yes, I have been saving for some years in order to get my teeth fixed... It's an investment. So if you are planning on doing this, make sure you've got your finances in order.
Some providers may allow you to pay in equal parts; like a monthly bill. Just ask if that's possible.

  • Does the insurance cover the treatment?
In my case no. Depending on your insurance company they may have special agreements for orthodontics.
Always ask them in advance, just so you know what to count on.

My experience:

So far I am positive about it. I got so excited once I had seen my ClinCheck video (a computer simulation made by Invisalign on how your teeth should progress throughout the treatment), that I just couldn't wait to get started! :-)
I had done an extensive research about this kind of treatment and knew what the restrictions were.
It has been exactly 2 month since I have decided to go for this treatment and had my first appointment at the orthodontics and the day I actually got my first set of aligners. they have quite a busy agenda... haha

As I said previously, I have not had any pain so far. I do miss to be able to snack and drink coffee as
many times as I want.
On my purse, I always have to carry a tooth brush&paste and flossers. I wanna be able to do things I like regardless having these on my teeth. A little bit of preparation that's all it takes (and a purse big enough... hahaha).

If you have questions about Invisalign, please let them in the comments below and I will try to answer you.
I am no expert in this, obviously, but I can try to help you out.

When were not happy with something, you have to take the lead and measurements in order to change it!
I wasn't happy with my smile but didn't want to have my mouth full with wires; glad someone came up with this technique!

Before I forget, make sure you choose a certified Invisalign provider! Go to their website and search for one closer to you. If some doctor's name is not on the list, then he/she isn't certified!
Be aware that they may be people trying to fool you by waving with low prices and so on, but then, if something happens
you may end up in troubles.

Anyway, I will keep updating about my journey with Invisalign! If you are interested or know someone who is, then please come back. ;-)

For more info, please check Invisalign's wesite: http://www.invisalign.com/

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Monday, December 07, 2015

Beatuy | A first time

Hello!! :)

There's always a first time for everything, correct?
So I also had one, this time at a MAC counter. Yes, it took me forever to finally go to a MAC counter and purchase my first MAC product.
Now, all of you beauty and MAC experts are like "Why did you take so long?!".
Let me answer that question for you! ;-)

I have a serious issue with spending a nice amount of money for things that are seen as "unnecessary". Make-up items can be seen like that.
Somehow, I felt that their products are on the pricier-side of the fence and never had the urge to jump over and see what was on the other side.
Was it worth the hype? Was it worth the money?

When my foundation finished, I made up my mind and head to a MAC counter. I was ready to see what they had to offer.
It was also a perfect timing to get the right shade for me! Yeah, even though I read all kinds of post about "how to check your right foundation shade" I was still not confident that all these years I have been selecting the right one... I hope I have not been walking around with a totally off tone foundation... LOL

Anyway, I went to the MAC counter closer to me and found a very kind sales assistant
whiling to help me out. "How can I help you?" She asked. I'm sure she had no idea what I had in mind for her! hahaha

I told her:
  • Don't know my right shade
  • Never bought any MAC product
  • Long lasting foundation
  • Good but not full coverage
  • Don't want to look like a porcelain doll
  • No time to touch ups during the day

Kind she was to find something that would suit my needs and even do my make up. Yeah, I went there with clean face (can't even imagine what went through her mind...).

She found the right shade for me and presented the MAC Studio Fix plus in NC20 to me.

I have been using it for 3 months, 5 days/week, over 10hours/day. Pretty intense test, don't you think?
Pictures - Sony Alpha 5100 | Flash ON

What I like about this foundation is that it does everything I asked for! This baby lasts the whole day on the sky, even after working out! Yes, I go work out with make up on. And as long as I don't touch my face too much, it will stay the same as I applied early in the morning.

Coverage is good; not too strong but not too sheer either. I usually apply 1.5pumps all over my face and it evens out all imperfections. For more coverage I should use a concealer, but I like the fact that I can still see my freckles but the skin looks even.
I sure don't look like a porcelain doll, which is a plus to me!
Looks natural and light on the skin. Most of the days I forget I'm wearing it.

After 2 months, I believe the jar is still quite full. It comes in a 30ml glass jar which can be a problem for travelers. It didn't have a pump; I had to buy it separately for 5Eur extra.
The foundation costs 31Eur here in Nl.

Will I repurchase it? Most probably yes!
Do I think it was worth the money? Sure! Nothing beats having the right shade and a foundation that does what you need/want.

Totally recommend stopping by at a MAC counter and get some advice. I'm sure next time I'm there I will bring another item. It's very difficult not to go crazy in that store, but one has to stay focus!
There are other bills to pay... hahaha

Still hoping to win the lottery one day.

What about you? Which foundation do you use? What makes a good foundation to you?
Any recommendations on which product should I bring home on my next visit?

Let me know in the comments section below!


See you soon!!


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Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Pelos caminhos de Portugal - part 8 - Vila Real

Olá!!! :-)

Ready for Vila Real??
Well, back in Vila Real we didn't do much for two reasons:
  • Too tired; legs and feet were crying out loud for some time off.
  • Not much to do in there.
With this saying, it does not mean that Vila Real has nothing nice to visit or see. On the contrary!
The way to and out of Vila Real is just breathtaking, as you drive through the mountains; Serra do Marão.  You have beautiful views to the Douro river and the vineyards along the river.
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Saturday, November 28, 2015

Fitness | How to avoid unwanted talks

Hello!!! 

Are you ready to talk fitness?? ;-)

How annoying is to be at the gym, minding your own business while working out, and having people staring at you or even coming to talk to you with "silly talks"?!
Yeah, it happened... and I don't like it.
What does make some people think that just because you're there that you have a "2nd agenda"?!
It is a fact that some people go to the gym not really to work out but to just socialize or even
to try to find a girl/boyfriend. That's fine for them, but just let me be...

After some thought and experiments, I came to a very nice solution that sort of "repels" those guys at the gym that think they can actually get something from you.
The solution was right there, in my closet.
I'm talking about those "bad ass" (some, even ugly one could say) metal festival (or band) t-shirts!
Yes!!

I have quite some of these t-shirts, thanks to my man's job, lying around totally useless.
Unless I'm doing a major cleaning in the house or moving houses, I won't wear them but now, they have a new purpose/mission!

It works like a wonder (unless your gym is full with metalheads!)!

Here some examples:

Put one of these on and nobody will even dare to say a word!

Don't get me wrong; I'm no anti-social or whatsoever, but I just don't like to be bothered. :-)
I go to the gym to work out and that's it!

If you don't have any of these t-shirts then I wish you good luck...
No matter what, go work out, get active and stay in shape!
Your body and mind will appreciate (and maybe even your ego/self-esteem, in case you hear
unwanted compliments every now and then).

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A new adventure starts today!!!

Hello there!!!

It has been a while since my last post, but life has been busy as well. How have you been on that side of the screen?

Well, today I'm writing about a new chapter in my life that I am very happy to start. It took me a while to take this step for several reasons but now I'm on a roll!!
If you follow me on instagram or FB, you may have seen a picture of mine saying that I was about to start a new adventure, a 9 month adventure.
99.9% of people thought the same, but I'm very glad to tell you that, you WERE WRONG!!!!

No, my 9 month adventure is not called "pregnancy" but instead is called "Invisalign"! :D
I have decided to get braces and my treatment lasts for 9 months, in a total of 19 aligners (38 weeks). Today is my first day and so far all is going great! I do feel a little pressure on my teeth but no pain AT ALL!!

I am planning on keeping a little journey update as I know several people look for this kind of orthodontic treatment. I also read TONS of blogs/reviews and lost count on how many Youtube videos I watched.

But for now, that's all! :)
I hope you had as much fun with the prank as I did!


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Monday, November 09, 2015

Pelos caminhos de Portugal - part 7 - Food in Guimarães!

Hello again!!

I hope you are not hungry when you read this, because I am about to show you some of the super delicious foods we had in Guimarães.
All our meals were at S. Tiago's Square because over there there are plenty of great restaurants and it's very easy to find. This square is right in the center so you can't miss it. On a square "next door" called Largo da Oliveira you will find nice pubs to grab a dinner!

In all places we went, the service was great, as quick as possible and the food was just damn delicious!! You always get a lot for the price you pay.
The most difficult part was always to chose what to eat; the options are endless and most of them I had not have in a while. Difficult...
Part of this trip was also meant as a new "food experience", especially for Mr.man. Portuguese cuisine is very diverse and "homey" and I was so happy to see that along the way, Mr.man was enjoying it. Mission accomplished! :-)

On to the food:

  • Caldo Verde + Polvo à Lagareiro = happy me!!! Mr. man had for desert a little Toucinho do Céu which is an abbey pastry. We topped with some great wine and coffee afterwards.



  • For lunch with had a great Gilt-head bream (aka Dourada) on the grill with black eyed bean salad. Enough to keep us going the whole afternoon.
  • For dinner, I had squids in tomato sauce with potatoes. 
  • As a snack, with a salty pastries with different fillings. We call them empadas.


Did I make you hungry?? hahaha
On the next chapter: Vila Real!!!

See you soon!!

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Saturday, October 24, 2015

Beauty | Hair routine - silicone free: Yes or No?

Hello there!

Warning: this is a long post!

A while ago, in one of my Youtube marathons, I came across a very interesting video from Julia Graf. If you are not familiar with her two options apply:

  1. You've been living in a cave
  2.  You're not from this world

hahaha :-)

No seriously, she's one the best Youtubers out there with very interesting videos and not only beauty related.
One of these days, she talked about going silicone-free with her hair routine and why she has decided to do so. This is of course a very personal thing and each person does whatever they like, but when Julia described her reasons I realized that we shared quite some issues regarding hair.

Let me tell you more about my personal take on this subject.

First of all, I have long hair and never had issues regarding oiliness. Dry scalp yes, but oily nop!
In the past, my hair could handle a week between washes without looking greasy or anything. When I wouldn't style it, it was also not a big deal. It looked funky but good, if you get my point.
It is worth to mention that during this time, I was visiting the hairdresser on a very frequent basis, just to keep it in good shape.
Long hair needs care!

Once I moved to Brussels, 5 years ago, my hair started to slowly change. The Belgian water was harder than the Portuguese and my hair slowly lost its shine.
Still no troubles with oiliness; on the contrary, I had to get special shampoo (from my PT hairdresser) and other products to bring the shine back and moisturize the scalp.
Once I moved back to PT, the problems slowly faded away and hair was back to normal!

Then, the time came and I moved to NL, knowing that most probably I would have the same issue with the hardness of the water, so I started to use all kind of products that would promise "sleek, shiny hair". If I only I knew...

Honestly, it never occurred to me to read the ingredients list.
But it seems that all these shampoos/conditioners/styling products that promise shinny and sleek hair, are piled up with silicons.
What silicone does to your hair, is that it creates an outer layer around the hair fiber, which will make it look shiny and sleek but in fact it's not really doing anything to the hair itself.
It's like applying a heavy duty foundation when you have a skin full with acne scars; you're not treating it, but covering it up.

I also did not know that these ingredients build up on your hair&scalp and that you need special shampoo in order to get rid of them.
What happened was that along the way, my hair besides losing its shine, it started to get greasy much faster than usual (second day after washing was already looking terrible!) and when I did not style it than it would look like a total mess!
And then, Julia's video came online right on the moment I was starting to get worried about this and didn't know what to do.

Well, if you have the same issue, I totally recommend to watch the video. Click here to watch.

It was a true wake up call!
I had now a mission: get rid of all those nasty products and find alternatives that on the longer term would bring my "good old hair" back.

Let me tell you; it's not an easy thing to do! Your hair won't look good for a while and you may wonder if you made the right choice.I had those moments, but decided to keep trying.

At the moment, I'm using Herbal Essences' silicone free shampoo and conditioner, and every week I do a hair mask using The Body Shop's Rainforest Moisture.
To help out with blow drying and give extra shine, I have been using coconut oil. This does not make my hair greasy at all.
It smells good and does not build up; I did look through the ingredients' list and it seems to be okay.
Shampoo&conditioner 
Hair mask 
Shine


So far, I'm happy with the results!
The hair is slowly recovering and even when I let it dry naturally, it does not get so fuzzy anymore.
Not perfect yet, but I'm hoping that it will get better.
Worth to mention that I can now wait 4 days in between washes; it may sound a lot but for my hair that's fine.

One of my concerns is still regarding heat protecting products (those you apply before you curl or use flat iron). So far, I have not found a silicone free one. So, if you know any, please let me know!
Specially now that Winter is coming, I tend to style my hair more frequently so this kind of product becomes more important.

Long story short:

  • Always check the ingredients list of any hair product you buy
  • Mind what you apply... If you decide to stick with products which contain silicone, make sure to use a shampoo that can remove them.
  • Visit a hair dresser to ask for more information in case your hair is not looking/behaving as usual.
  • I am very glad I decided to go silicone-free!


Thanks Julia!

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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Pelos caminhos de Portugal - part 6 - Guimarães day 2

Hey there!! :-)
 
After a little break, I am ready to continue reporting our trip to the North of Portugal and today, I would like to finish up the Guimarães chapter.
As you may have seen on my previous post, the city center is just beyond charming and it totally brings you back to old Historical times. If you don't know what I am talking about, please check out this post.
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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Easy & Tasty - Codfish quiche

Hello everyone!

This other day, I was browsing around for a quick and easy Portuguese recipe. I wanted to prepare something new, with codfish, but that wouldn't require too much work.You know, after a whole day at work, I don't have time, energy or patience for complicated stuff. So, a quiche seemed a very good idea; it's easy to prepare and it doesn't take too much time to cook. This was my very first time making such thing, so I didn't know how it'd turn out. Well, let me tell you: I will make more!! :-)
I have to confess that I made too much for my quiche baking pan, therefore, instead of throwing it away, I made little quiche cupcakes which are great for on the go and to have as a fast lunch snack if you don't have that much time. Also, I used frozen quiche dough instead of making the real deal. I have to say that it turned out pretty good and if you're like me and afraid of not being able to make proper dough, this is a good solution.

Ingredients:
Unsalted  & raw codfish
1 orange paprika - cut in small cubes
1 medium onion - finely chopped
2 garlic gloves - finely chopped
black olives - finely sliced
1 package of cream cheese - I used Philadelphia light
1.5dl milk
4 eggs
salt & pepper to taste
capers to taste

How to:
Pre heat your oven at 180C. In a large bowl, mix the all the ingredients. I added all of them, no order, and just gently mixed them together. Cover your quiche pan with the dough. Pour the mix over it and add some rasped cheese if you like. Let it bake for about 20-25min. Once it gets a nice golden outer layer, get it out of the oven and let it cool down before serving.

And here it is; ready to eat! For on the side, you can just prepare some salad en voilá! A quick and tasty dinner is ready! Here at home, it was gone in no time. haha
I hope you give it a try! Totally recommend it.
Recipe adapted from here: http://www.cincoquartosdelaranja.com/

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Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Portuguese Milk Tarts | Queijadas de leite

Hello everyone!
Today, I've got a recipe for you that I had promise on Instagram to share in case it was successful.
Guess what? It was! yahoooo 
Some time ago, we had this BBQ and since I don't like to come with empty hands, I thought about preparing something easy but tasty at the same time. After some browsing, I had found the right thing to make:
Portuguese Milk Tarts.
Click to enlarge

Like with many other traditional recipes, there are tons of different ways of making them.
I bring you the crunchy outer layer version.
Everyone liked them, and surprisingly, even myself. Hahaha, yeah, I am not a fan of sweets (chocolate doesn't count!) but these were not as sweet as I expected so, for me, that was a big plus!
It goes well with a cup of coffee/tea or just as a little desert.

As an expat, for me it's always a true pleasure to bring a bit of my country and culture to others who may not be so familiar with how diverse our cuisine (and country) is.
My heart was filled with joy when the Dutchies said the words "Ohhh lekker!!"; mission accomplished!
Ingredients' list:
  • a package of puffy pastery
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream (I used Crème fraîche)
  • 1/4 cup of sugar (or a bit more if you like)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

How to:
  • Pre-heat the over at 180C.
  • Grease your cupcake an and distribute the puffy pastry over the cups by pressing it with your \thumbs.
  • Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, starting with sugar and egg yolks, and then the liquid ingredients.
  • Fill up each cup for about 2/3 of the its height.
  • Let it bake for about 25min or until you see a golden outer layer.
I hope you like it and if you try them out, please let me know how did it go! ;-)
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Monday, October 05, 2015

Eu e as eleições

Primeiro que tudo, não votei. 
Não votei não porque não quis, mas porque simplesmente o boletim de voto nunca chegou até mim.
Sim, tenho a morada actualizada no CC (fui eu própria que escrevi a morada porque a funcionária da Junta ia tendo um AVC quando lhe disse o nome da rua... "ah menina é melhor ser você a escrever isso") em como não sou residente em Portugal e sim, estou inscrita no Consulado/Embaixada de Portugal na Holanda.
Fico espantada como nunca recebi nada... Mas fico chateada? Não!

E por que não fico chateada? Porque a meu ver, quem deve votar para eleições legislativas são os Residentes e não aqueles que só porque têm nacionalidade Portuguesa mas residem noutro país, podem votar. Os Residentes pagam impostos, vivem o seu dia-a-dia de acordo com as regras impostas pelo Governo em posse.
Os emigrantes não.
Ora, seguindo esta mesma lógica, acho sinceramente que eu deveria votar era para as eleições legislativas do país onde resido; se sou "boa" para pagar impostos (que não são nada baixos) também deveria ser "boa" para poder escolher quem "dita as regras aqui no burgo"! Parece-me óbvio...
Caso contrário, é apenas mais um exemplo do "Paga e não bufa". Claro está, que se quiser votar para as eleições legislativas daqui da zona, tenho que me naturalizar.
O problema é muito simples; eu não quero ser Holandesa! Não quero. 
Não me identifico. Eu sou Portuguesa e ponto final!
Posso cá viver muitos anos, mas nunca serei Holandesa. Posto isto, vou continuar a pagar e a não bufar...
Mas adiante que a conversa de hoje é outra.

Ainda no rescaldo das eleições legislativas em Portugal, não posso dizer que fico espantada ou surpresa. Afinal de contas, já lá dizia o ditado, "cão que ladra não morde".
E o resultado de ontem foi mais um exemplo disso.
Se formos a ver bem o mapa, o país está claramente dividido, a diferença de votos nem foi assim tão além quanto isso, mas a verdade é que todos aqueles que se fartam de reclamar de tudo, dizer que "ah isto tá tão mau", fazer greves e sei lá mais o quê, foram os mesmos que quando lhes dá a oportunidade, não sabem aproveitá-la.
Ou não foram suficientes... Poderá ser isso? Eu sinceramente, não sei o número de cidadãos pertencentes à classe média de Portugal, classe essa que é a que mais sofre com todas as medidas de austeridade impostas nestes últimos quatro anos. Mas estava certa de serem suficientes para dar a volta e votarem de outra forma.
Claro está, cada um vota de acordo com a sua opinião, e a bom da verdade, se eu tivesse recebido o belo do boletim de voto, não saberia em quem votar.
Mais do mesmo?! acho que não... Mas CDU e afins também acho que não seria solução. Numa coisa o Passos e amigos tinham razão: Portugal não é a Grécia!

Gostarão os Portuguese de austeridade?
No café, em casa e na rua, respondem não. Nas urnas dizem que sim!
Resumindo e baralhando; por aqui, continuaremos a pagar e a não bufar e por aí, continuará tudo igual; mais greve menos greve, mais manifestação menos manifestação.

"O Povo é ordeiro"
 
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Friday, September 25, 2015

Quando a nódoa cai sobre o melhor pano

Foi (ou melhor talvez, está a ser) o que aconteceu com a Volkswagen (e certamente a outras ainda por confirmar).

Não deixo de ficar surpreendida mas ao mesmo tempo não me espanta; estranho, eu sei.
Com certeza, não serei a única que tinha a VW como uma marca de excelência (ou qualquer outra marca Alemã), na qual não se questionam os valores apresentados.
No entanto, como qualquer outra empresa, basta haver alguém que não siga à letra tal política, e assim se estraga o bom nome.
Só me pergunto qual a necessidade de andarem a aldrabar os resultados?! Alguma coisa lá tiveram a ganhar...
E quem é que teve a "feliz" idéia de desenvolver tal software? Foi o CEO?!
Como diriam os amigos Espanhóis "no me lo creo"....

Anyway, uma coisa é certa, até que esta confusão seja esclarecida (e não "apagada"), o Made in Germany de que os amigos Germânicos são tão orgulhosos, por vezes até prepotentes, não terá o mesmo impacto.

Pensariam eles, os amigos Germânicos, que só os Latinos é que seriam uns "mentirosos e aldrabões" que levam a vida a fazer esquemas?!
Pois olhem, engaram-se!

Lá diz o ditado: 
A nódoa caí sempre no melhor pano!

Desta vez, calha-lhes a eles limparem-no!

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P.S.: Em breve volto com os diários das férias de Verão e mais umas receitas bem saborosas, para os 2 leitores deste blog! LOL ;-) 
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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Pelos caminhos de Portugal - part 5 - Guimarães

Hello!!! :-)
 
Shall we continue with visiting the North of Portugal? I don't take no for answer... :-D
On the menu for today, as you could see for the title of this post, I have Guimarães ready for you!
Guimarães is a very important city in Portugal as it dates back from the 10th century and is recognized as the cradle of the nation and Portuguese identity. See, quite a big deal, hum?
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Sunday, September 13, 2015

Fitness | Getting your shape back

Hi there!!!

How have you been? :-) Shall we talk about fitness or getting back in shape? 

Well, everyone has his/her reasons to work out or not; I have always been a very active person, especially in my youth, but along the way I sort of stopped doing sports. I have talked about this here.
Lucky me, my genetics helped me out throughout this years, but you know, sometimes genetics aren't enough and you sort of start feeling uncomfortable with your shape or condition. Some people keep complaining about it and never do anything to change, others get business done! I decided to join the second group of people and subscribed to a gym.
It's not just a gym, it's like a Club where you can do all kind of activities and even wellness, such as sauna and Turkish bath, but these I have not tried yet. There's also a swimming pool and TONS of group lessons.

I have started one month ago, and the first days were very tough; let's be real, last time I did some serious sports had been about 14 years ago... 
But it's never too late to turn things around as long as you make the effort for it. I always said I didn't have the time for it and so on, but you know what?! I actually do! It's all about motivation, planning and compromising. How many times do we get out of bed earlier because there's something important to be done?! If we apply this to other things in life then there are no excuses to not do what you really want to.
And so I did and have been feeling great ever since!

source: Google.com

My trainning consists of 40/50min of cardio and some specific muscle/power exercises for abs and shoulders (this is my weakest point and the one needs more attention), which last for about 45/50min as well, depending on how fast I can do them. I do go to the gym 3 times a week, but maybe in the future I add one extra day.
Anyway, the plan was made based on my requests and together with a PT which happens to be a physiotherapist (extra point!) and for me that's very important. I was always a bit afraid of doing the wrong exercises and get injured and so far, after one month, I felt sore a couple of days but that's it!

I found out to be a huge fan of the treadmill and rowing machine! hahaha 
For me, it's not about the amount of calories I need/want to burn but it's more about getting my heart and lung capacity in a much better shape and at this point, I already notice some improvement.
Also worth to mention, every single time I come out of the gym, I feel so much more energetic (and I go there after a working day!!), happy and willing to do things. 
Is it addictive?!  hahaha

At this point, I am not forced to change my diet, since my goal is not to loose weight and I honestly think I have a very healthy diet (and diverse). So, unless I'm told otherwise, I keep eating the same way. 
Just a couple of days ago I double checked, and so far, did not lose any kgs! Yuppie!!!

So, what I would like to tell everyone who reads this, is just, take the lead to your life and do things that you want to do but always find a way to postpone it. It is very important we live the NOW and do the best we can to keep ourselves in shape; for some may be easier than others but that should never keep you away from doing it. ;-)

I am very happy that I took this step and hopefully, you will do the same!

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P.S.: and what about the amount of great sports clothes&accessories out there?! whaha Interested in a fitness fashion post? Leave a comment!
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Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Pelos caminhos de Portugal - part 4 - Braga City Center

Hello!! ;-)

How did you like the first post about Braga? The views from the Bom Jesus are just breathtaking, imo. Oh, in case you missed it, here you are: Click Here

Today, I would like to show you a bit of what we saw while walking km's and km's through the streets of Braga.
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Friday, August 28, 2015

Pelos caminhos de Portugal - pt3 - Braga

Hello again!! :-)

Shall we visit (revisit in my case) Braga together? I can guarantee you that it's a beautiful town, full with nice places to check out, historical or religious, good restaurants and pubs.
Braga is a very young city; you can feel it. Anywhere you go, you see young people. I like it! Gives me the impression that the city is alive.
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Monday, August 17, 2015

Pelos caminhos de Portugal - pt2 - LISBOA

Hello!!! :-)

The first stop of this little tour was Lisboa; my beautiful Lisboa.
I wrote about how much I love this city before (here and here), but the good thing about Lisboa is that it is constantly changing, with new places to check out, nice events popping here and there, and no matter how many times I will visit Lisboa, I know for sure that I will always love it.

So, I have heard from a friend, that on the day we had reserved for Lisbon there was a cool event happening down town, called "Tascas at Cais". 


Knowing that Mr.A did not know yet what a Tasca was, we agreed on having a crash course of "What is a Tasca?".

It was a success!!

A Tasca is basically a little tavern, where typical Portuguese snacks are served along with some cold drinks or even wine; the decor is not so important and kept very traditional.

At this site, with a privileged view over Tagus river, we could find several "tascas", serving all kind of snacks. The offer was so large and diverse that it made it veeeeery difficult to choose just a few. After all, we were not there to have dinner, but just to snack... sure....

In the end, these were the dishes we picked out:

Pataniscas de bacalhau / Codfish fritters.
 Salada de polvo / Octupus cold salad
Chicken saté (spicy!!!)

Unfortunately, we could not try all the other delicacies that were available, but damn.... These were really good!!! And of course, we had to eat them along with some good cold Portuguese beer; Super Bock was the sponsor of this event.

It was very difficult to leave the place, as the vibe, the food, the drinks and the view were just way too nice, but eventually it was time for us to go, but we will come back (as you will read in on of the last posts of this serie)!

So, as we say in Portuguese: 
Até breve, Lisboa!
The opposite side of Lisboa.
Just another beautiful sunset in Lisboa

All pictures taken with Samsung A3.

Up next: Braga!

See you soon!
xo
Miss B.

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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Pelos caminhos de Portugal - pt1

Hi!!!

Before I get started, just a little side note on this new series called "Pelos caminhos de Portugal" which, for non-Portuguese speaking people, means "Through Portugal's roads".
Do you see where I am heading to?! Yep!! This will be about my/our summer vacation in Portugal.

Our vacation lasted for 1.5 weeks, but then I stayed 1 week longer in PT since Mr.A had business to take care of.

If you follow me through FB/Instagram, you may already know in a very broad view where did we go. What you do not know is all the other amazing sites/places we visied, where did we eat (or what we ate), how did we do this trip, why we did this kind of summer vacation, and many other things.

In this post, I will give you an overview of our trip. In future posts, I will talk about each location separately; it is easier this way since there is a LOT of info to share. 
Are you planning on visiting Portugal on your next holiday?! If so, come check out the blog in the future days/weeks! 

For now, let's get started!

Places we visited: A - Lisbon > B - Braga > C - Guimarães > D - Vila Real > E - Coimbra > F - Sesimbra.
Click to enlarge.

As you can see, we traveled a long distance but there is still soooooo much more to see/visit; perhaps in the future?! ;-)

How we traveled:
We landed in Lisbon for logistic and family/friends reasons, but if you don't need to and want to check out just the North side of the country, it is possible to fly directly to Porto.
There are several Low Cost/Fare airlines travelling to Lisbon/Porto. Of course, if you plan on doing such trip to Portugal and are on a budget, do not do it during Summer... Cheap flights is something very difficult to find, as Portugal is a touristic destination during summer time. 
An advice (and reminder for myself): book your flights ASAP!!
Now, on to the other small trips! :-) 

  • Lisbon > Braga (364km)
Took the fastest train available in Portugal called Alfa Pendular. This is a service provided by CP (Portuguese railway services) that connects some of the major cities in the country without many stops. Not a TGV kind of train, but faster than a regular Intercity.
Alfa train tickets are more expensive than Intercity ones, but if you buy them in advance, you can get a very nice discount! Travel with more comfort for a decent price.
The trip from Lisbon to Braga lasts about 3h15min. Unless you've got some delays like we had, and end up with a 4hr trip....

  • Braga > Guimarães (~25km):
With the express bus service provided by Rede Expressos, we got to Guimarães within 30min, on a sunny and warm day. These buses are equipped with Air Condition, free WiFi (slow most of the times...), seat belts (which are mandatory but hardly anyone uses them.... don't complain/blame anyone in case of an accident if you do not follow the rules) and very comfortable seats. 
They mainly drive on motorways, which means that the trip will be as fast as possible, and again, only stop a few times. Luckily for us, there were no stops between Braga and Guimarães! :-)
Oh, worth to mention that these buses are quite cheap for the service/comfort you get.

  • Guimarães > Vila Real (~94km):
We had once again a bus ride with Rede Expressos. The trip itself took about 1hr but it felt like forever. If you check the map, to go from Guimarães to Vila Real, we had to drive through a mountain called Serra do Marão, and lucky me, I had taken a stomach pill... If not, I don't know what would have happened in that bus!
So, a little tip: check in advance where you are travelling through and if necessary take some action to prevent getting sick in a bus! If I had to drive myself, I'm 200% sure I would have not felt sick.

  • Vila Real > Coimbra (~185km):
A long bus ride with Rede Expressos once again. This time, we did not have a direct connection and had to switch buses in beautiful Viseu. In total, it took us about 3h45min to complete our journey.

  • Coimbra > Lisboa (~203km):
We took Alfa train once again but the same bus service is available. The train was just more convenient for us (arrival location wise). Travel time was a bit over 2hrs.
The tickets were bought once again in advance so the trip did not cost us that much; equivalent to a bus ticket.


I totally recommend both services if you do not feel like renting a car; I didn't! As someone who drives so much, I appreciated the freedom of not being behind the steering wheel. Not to say that this way, you can really enjoy the marvelous views/landscapes that Portugal has to offer. 

For more info about prices and schedules, please check out CP's and Rede Expressos websites.

Don't forget to come and check out this blog in the upcoming days/weeks, as I will be posting more detailed information about each city we visited!
What we did on each of them, where we ate and so on....

Hope you find this interesting and helpful!

See you on pt2!
xo
Miss B.

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Monday, August 10, 2015

CrockPot review & Chicken in the tub recipe!!

Hi there!!

I said I would be back soon, so here I am with a new blog post! :)
Hope you will find this interesting and if so, please give me your feedback, either by leaving a comment below or on social media! Btw, there's a recipe for you at the very end of this article!! ;-)

Today, I would like to write about one of our kitchen appliances that has become a huge favorite (and lets be honest, a friend); the CrockPot.
If you are not familiar with what a CrockPot is, in a short description, it is a slow cooker, which allows you to cook your meal in a simmering way, meaning you can leave you meal cooking unattended for several hours.
In short terms, a slow cooker is great if you want to prepare meat and be sure you will have a super tender and juicy end result. One can choose between two methods:

  • Low & Slow - low heat and cooking time longer than 5 hours
  • High & Fast - high heat and cooking time of less than 4 hours
It is the combination that matters, and of course, depending on the recipe you are preparing, one method may give a better result over the other method. In the end, all you gotta do, is experiment with it and not be afraid!

There are TONS of different slow cookers, each of them with different capacities (volume wise) and specifications. Instead of describing all of them, just have a look at the CrockPot website.
For us, in particular, we decided to go for a "medium" size with timer and "keep warm" function. Let me introduce you our friend "Potje" (the nickname we came up with for the CrockPot hahaha):

source: Google.com

This is an appliance not so well know in Europe (as far as I know), but commonly used in the USA and Canada. 
You may wonder: why do I/we need such thing?!
Let me point out some reasons why we choose to invest on such appliance (yes, it's an investment because these babies aren't the cheapest pans in the shop!):

  • Ability to make big chunks of meat super tender
  • We've got a spare ribs fan in the house; the best spare ribs are the tenderest ones!
  • With the timer option, you can start cooking 6-8 hours prior your dinner time; no more stress about "when is the dinner ready?!". If you've got super long days at work, are a parent, or simply do not like to worry about the time your meal will be ready, this is for you!
  • If you are a planner and like to "pre-assemble" your meals on a weekly basis (prepare veggies/meat/sauce in a bag and freeze), all you got to do is, every morning before going to work, put the content of each bag in the pan, set the timer (depending on the recipe) and be sure that your dinner will be ready once you are back from work!
  • And as a plus, your kitchen will smell divine!!!

Of course there are a lot more reasons, and each person has his/hers, but these were the ones that convinced us to buy such appliance.

So far, we have tried a few recipes, but the internet is full with them! :-)

  • Beef stew 
  • Big chunk of lamb with potatoes and veggies
  • Spare ribs
  • Lasagna (yep! It tasted good!)
  • "Chicken in the pot".


Today, I bring you, my take on "Chicken in the Pot"!

Ingredients list:

Chicken thighs
2 medium size chopped potatoes
2 carrots in thin slices
2 small/medium sliced onions
1/4 chopped pumpkin
Peas (as much as you like)
1 garlic glove chopped in small bits
1/2 cup of chicken broth
Olive oil
thyme to taste
paprika powder to taste
black pepper powder to taste
Cayenne pepper powder to taste
Salt to taste

How to:

  1. Cover the bottom of your slow cooker with the onions. 
  2. Top it with all the veggies.
  3. Place the chicken thighs with the skin side up.
  4. In a bowl, mix all herbs, peppers, salt, olive oil with the chicken broth. Make sure you get a nice mixture. Pour it over the chicken and veggies.

CrockPot settings:
Low & Slow method - low heat + 5 hours cooking time.

Dinner is ready!!

Let's eat!!!! :-)

All photos are taken with my Samsung A3; no filters applied and I'm not a chef! If it does not look fancy; too bad! It tasted AMAZINGLY!!!! :-D

Hope you found this article interesting and if you try this recipe, let me know how it went. ;-)

See you soon!
xo
Miss B.

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