“La Cuptor”- 2020

A plateful of favours, like a rainbow on the sky.

This is what I chose this year at my favourite restaurant: “La Cuptor”.

For the ones of you that are knew on the blog or simply  don’t know,  “La Cuptor” is a restaurant in Sibiu, Romania.

This was the first time I visited on summer, and was absolutely dreaming of their terrace for some time.

Their terrace is a mix of Provencal and Italian, and when looking at how their menu looks like one understands that it’s the right place to be.

In my previous visits I had their signature  burger, the  velvety cream soups, the  duck with black rice, the buttery marrow served with toast and roasted peppers and many others.

I imagine that you already started to taste the flavours and understand the magic of the place.

This time, I missed these tastes I knew, but I was also curious about what was new.

So after carefully reviewing, I chose this one: duck thigh with brown mushroom mash, apple mousse and Marsala wine jelly.

Hence my comparison with the rainbow in the sky mentioning on the beginning.

The duck thigh was cooked to perfection, and I chose to have it like this:

  • A small pice of tender  duck, topped with a tiny dollop  of apple mousse
  • A fork full of the mushroom mash to wash down  the sweetness of the apple
  • A bit of the Marsala wine fruity jelly to wash down the earthiness of the mushrooms 

This order of eating took me to heavens and kept me there throughout the entire meal.

I am a slow eater but this time I deliberately ate even slower, to prolong the moment as much as I could.

I praised the chef for creating such a dish, for the owner of La Cuptor for being so open minded for approving such a dish, and to the divinity for allowing me to experience this.

When choosing this new dish, I decided I a good wine would pair nicely, so tried  a new Romanian wine: Busuioacă de Bohotin – C’est soir, hoping for the best.

Let me tell you it blew my mind away.

I always read reviews of foods, drinks and curious about what notes people identified in them, although they were not always my findings.

With this wine, it was the reverse.

I ordered it, tasted it and …whoaa…. This had an amazing  floral scent at the end.

And  later that evening, the reviews on this wine confirmed my theory.

This  was a rose wine, not  harsh, with just a light sweetness, the ones that grapes probably gathered in July, but with this amazing crispiness and bouquet of flowers in the end.

And this comes from a person that usually loves two types of wines (my parent’s countryside production and Porto wine) and enjoys occasionally testing others.

A lovely meal in a beautiful location and served by nice waiters, in a cozy atmosphere, with lovely people around… what could be better?

Do pay this place a visit and try their delicious treats.

You will not regret it, promise.

#stayhome: There Is No Lockdown for the Mind

As the quarantine continues, I find that time is the one resource I have.

I’m using this time and not letting it using me instead.

I enrolled in some very interesting online courses about photography and one of it was from the Professional Photographers from America.

And while attending it, I found this slide in their course that resonated deeply with me and with our current surroundings.

Look:

Isn’t it fascinating how we are almost like introduced to some materials and piece of knowledge just in the right moment?

This course, besides its main purpose, pointed me that we are in this journey called life, and that this strange time we are experiencing is just a chapter.

We have now the time we always complained that we missed.

Now we have it.

Time to look around ourselves, and within ourselves.

We have the time to praise our qualities and acknowledge our faults and shortages.

Browsing the pages of history we are shown that this kind of event happens almost periodically, in general once in a lifetime.

Now is our “once in a lifetime” when… the world slowed down to the point of stopping.

This is our time: to add what the course called “layers” to ourselves.

To find if we didn’t already what our passion are and to cultivate them, and work i our dreams .

Last week I realised that there is no lockdown for mind.

We are in the comfort of our own homes with so many possibilities at hand.

And with so much time.

Each of us being here have the Internet and that.. brings the world at our feet…

It’s up to us what we will do with it.. if we will invest it in our growth or not.

We can come out of this more rested, more educated, more grown up, and more kind.

Do not listen to the one telling you he/ she got bored… there isn’t enough lifetime available for us to read all the books in the world and transforming them into thin layers in our self education.

Now, please think over this , stay home if your circumstances allow you to, and let’s work on ourselves.

Until next time.. be safe.

#stayhome: Let’s Have Coffee Together

Good morning!

Nice having you drinking your coffee with me.

Due to this lockdown we can finally sip it slowly.

From different parts of the world we are here in this moment in time  and that brings gratitude to my day already.

Close your eyes for me and smell your coffee, almost like counting the beans that were roasted specially for this story to be told.

We have all the time in the world, and we can enjoy this simple act.

I like having cappuccinos in the morning on  days when I’m staying home.

Otherwise I’m the espresso type of person.

I fell in love with coffee during the holidays I spent in Italy a few years ago. And ever since I praise her daily.

How do you like taking yours? 

Tell me what is coffee for you, what memories  it unravels for you.

This is one of the simple joys many of us can access daily, from the comfort of our own homes.

Now we can experiment with it even, perfect it, or simply give it the proper attention and respect.

If it makes us feeling great, then we should keep brewing it, drinking it, get dizzy by it’s hot steams.

I can feel the foam of my cappuccino enveloping my upper lip and I smile.

I remember my childhood when I had those silly moustaches from warm  milk.

Did you had those too? 

See? For me coffee is pure joy: it takes me back to my childhood, then to my Italy trips, then next to my family in the sunny countryside.

I’m never locked down, and neither are you.

There are no locks for our minds and imagination.

Tell me… your coffee now  with your eyes closed… where does it take you today?

I’m inviting you all in this journey.

Thank you for being here today, and please keep safe and #stayhome if you can.

#stayhome: Choosing Our Thoughts Wisely

Writing this as a mini series for the actual crisis we- humanity are facing.

This invisible enemy: a virus that is gradually shutting everything around us, shifting our lives.

I stay home, as you probably, hopefully, if you are allowed to.

And my number one lesson is this: watching and choosing carefully our thoughts.

This is something I practice daily, but mostly these days.

While reading a book that was adverted as a book for children I found this and I wanted to share it with you:

In our current situation we are faced with lots of information on all kind of media streams.

These will generate on our side a considerate volume of thoughts vastly unrolling. Fastly creating emotions.

It’s our duty to ourselves to choose the ones that will empower us, keep us grounded and calm.

These good thoughts are exactly like the sunlight we might miss from our staying indoors situation.

It’s a mental hygiene if you want to put it this way.

And it’s as important as washing our hands.

Because just imagine: what if we won’t get infected with the virus and instead we will be set free from our homes with a lumping mental health?

Who will put us to sleep in those anxiety haunted nights, after the pandemics end?

The negative and power suppressing thoughts are the most dangerous enemies.

We need to fill up with the good ones instead.

I live in a flat and I’m not able to indulge in a garden.

And yet I finished this book called “The Secret Garden” that brought me this year the spring that I will probably lose due to the current state of the world.

And you know what? I saw with my mind’s eye every bud, I smelled the damp soil and I heard the grass slowly growing , and the mushrooms sucking in the goodness of the spring showers.

Now what about you who might really own a garden?

Do you see how easy it is?

And it’s just an example.

We have endless possibilities to make this #stayathome period work for us and make us stronger: in our love, presence, kindness, on our human side.

Do choose wisely: whom you talk to, what you read, what shows you watch.

Until next time, please #stayhome and stay safe: both physically and mentally.

Waiting

A thing at which I am terrible.

I studied it alone, it related to me and trying to have a decent relation with it.

And yet, no results so far.

I can not defeat, beat or  befriend waiting and only when thinking about it I feel this twitch.

And you know what is the strangest thing? 

I am writing this post with “waiting” being generated randomly by a soft, just in a time in my life when I am waiting for something.

Here is where I’d ask the non believers in fate “What about this coincidence? Top this one !”.

And while I was giggling inside I remembered I have the perfect photo for “waiting”.

It was taken in Sibiu, Romania, a few years ago, and even now when watching it I feel the same thing.

Admiration for the stillness, for the meticulosity and for the waiting capacity of this crafter.

He was not expecting for his creations to come out of his hands in no time, or for people to get crazy over his work.

His wise patience had me still, and I was in awe.

I was witnessing the thing I lack the most being mastered: patience.

Time has passed since then, and yet when I think of waiting patiently I recall him, and get extracted this photo from my memory.

He who mastered patience  was not a young man, so he had time to learn patience and to have her as life partner.

I will learn it too. Eventually.

It’s a pretty long journey until then, but I’m here to learn it all, not leaving and waiting.. patiently. 

The 30 days challenge

Today is the 30th day by the way.

Of two challenges that I merged into one: 30 minutes of both reading and writing per day.

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Let me first tell you I am not a fan of these called challenges.

And yes, I did write often yet not daily and probably I read daily but never kept the track of it.

So how did I willingly enroll  myself in this?

Well, out of curiosity regarding time, perseverance, creativity and.. myself.

 I enrolled to know myself better, and to see what am I really  made of.

Finally I  decided to put down 15 things I learned from reading throughout the challenge:

  1. Discipline is required in order to prioritize reading ahead of other distractions
  2. Books introductions aren’t always boring
  3. It doesn’t matter the genre of the book, I can always learn new things
  4. Reading genres that I’m not familiar with stretches me in a way I adore
  5. I can read following more than narration itself, but observing  how plots were composed and characters put together
  6. Long descriptive books do no longer have me as restless as they used to
  7. Dialogues I read  give  voice to  the characters from  my own writings
  8. Books are indeed mirrors in which we reflect ourselves and portals to amazing worlds
  9. Literally  loving the words from books I specifically prefer.
  10. When reading rich compositions I feel my heart opening up and being flooded with creativity
  11. Discovering writers with utterly beautiful imagination puts my heart on fire
  12. Struggling  to read books that are extraordinary in describing human degrading eras or happenings (like Holocaust ).
  13. Being an empath makes me feel at a deeper level, and guides me towards depths I refuse getting to for my own self protection.
  14. A library full of books is for me like a candy store for a child. The mere scent of books wins me every time.
  15. Reading 2 books in the same time is amazing, as long as they are completely different, otherwise they’ll really confuse one’s brain. Always daydreaming when choosing a new book from a pile of endless options.

Reading is like air when one wants to write, it’s like fueling up the engine. What I’ve learned from writing each day for 30 days?

  1. Blank pages are not as scary as I heard
  2. I always have 30 minutes to spare, but I need to choose spending them for  writing
  3. I wrote for 18 days using both prompts and also my own ideas for the blog
  4. Doubted using prompts, but since I was experimenting I gave them a shot and it was a wise decision
  5. Surprisingly, prompts got me writing as soon as touched the keyboard.
  6. It’s incredible how much information it’s stored inside my brain since I wrote all these days and ideas keep on coming
  7. After day 18 I suddenly had an idea for a writing different from all I ever wrote before
  8. I am currently  working on that writing ever since
  9. Won’t stop my daily writing now the challenge is over. I just warmed up
  10. Having set myself a discipline and a routine for writing was the best I could have done in this field so far
  11. Once I have my mind set on something I value, I have all the trust in myself not stopping until reaching my goal
  12. Writing is creating: the power I have with the written word is priceless
  13. There are no rules, but only options. I can use adverbs in  a row and feel free to call it  my signature
  14. Short sentences perhaps, but again, my limits are mine to decide upon
  15. Writing is a way of living

Bare in mind I only wrote in evenings, and up to one hour or more for the majority of time.

30 minutes were not enough, and I wouldn’t have know this without the challenge.

And I read afterwards, just making sure I passed the 30 minutes… always with the thirst for more, until sleep finally won me over.

At the beginning I was counting the days… but haven’t done that for some time.

Today an alarm brought the news: the challenge is over: today, the 30th day.

So, what challenge are you up to right now?

Who am I?

The question which doesn’t let us sleep or who wakes us up in the middle of the night.

And by us I mean those of us who feel we are here for greater things, that we need to become the best version ourselves.

But in order to do that we need to know who we truly are.

I encountered this when visiting Madame Tussauds Museum in Istanbul.

I took the shot and started wondering around it.

My name is Andreea, but it’s just that a name tag. 

Reading this you may call me a blogger but this is another tag and so on.

I am a spirit hosted by this body named Andreea which is here typing this article, which yes entitles you to call me a blogger.

I feel that I learn something new about myself each day.

I learn about my strengths and appreciate them and I am shown my weaknesses in order to work on them.

I am a walking work of art, and there is no other identical to me in the world.

Think about this: isn’t it mind blowing?

Each day when I look in my internal mirror I see MYSELF.

Ok it might sound fancy this internal mirror thing.

I will “break it down in pieces for you”.

The internal mirror  speaks to us them moment we are bare of proudness, social norms , and everything we might project in the world.

So in that moment, if we are brave enough we acknowledge our  frustrations, our realisations, our whole being.

Let me share with you this: I read daily and for -now- 21 days I write daily.

What’s this got to do with anything?

Well it has: it teaches me each day to discipline myself, to show up, to do the work.

It teaches me to commit: to myself.

So I know this: no matter what in life, if I set my mind on something I will show up for myself. I will not disappoint myself.

I show up here for the living work of art that I am: to grow myself up, to serve, and to be the best version of myself.

Wishing you the best day ever and remember to ask yourself today: who am I?

The answer will astonish you for sure.

What do you see?

Food for the famished? Food for originality?

Or food for the one who indulges in beauty?

I’ve shown you this type of art in a previous post, about marzipan sculpting, and I can’t still wrap my head around it.

And yet here I found myself in front of this:

A work of beauty, mouthwatering in the same time as stimulating the juices of creativity.

Because after seeing in, I was feeling it reminded me of something.

But I found it hard to put a name to it so I let it to rest, for my subconscious to extract it and serve it to me the next day.

And it did like this.

The laced golden details and the curves remind me of the exquisite Faberge egg.

I am starring at the sculpture again and yes… it must be that.

Not a minute passes by and I lay my eyes on the red velvet the sculptures are standing on and another revelation.

They are like taken out of the glamorous interiors from king’s Louis the XIV court.

The aristocratic details of the marzipan bring back memories of long endless parties and heavy dresses of ladies layered in powder and having chocolates.

Just like the books of those days teach us when opening their covers.

If Louis would be alive today it would be his honor to host such works of art under his roof.

Ok, so a pampered Faberge with a touch of French baroque… that must be all, right?

It’s all right for some minutes when the last “feeling” came: the modern and praised Laduree macaroons.

I know, there’ s a huge way from Faberge and Louis the XIV to… macaroons.

But trust me on this: if they would be frosted and sculpted in marzipan by our artist , Radu Solovastru, they would not be only macaroons.

They would be edible little works of art.

Remember the first photo of the post, right?

Guess what now: they do really come out from a collection that incorporates Faberges.

This is what happens when an artists do the most important thing: send a clear message through their art.

Thank you for the creative moment, Radu 🙏

Find your passion

I find bursts of creativity and the best AHA moments triggered by ordinary things.

This happens for some years now, since finding my passion for both photography and writing.

I’m like treasure hunting through my lenses.

So, I discovered this beautiful sewing machine, and for a moment it took me back in time.

Back when I was a child and on my aunt’s carpet, an aunt who is a seamstress and used to worked on orders.

I was too little to have access to that machine.

Being a stubborn child I conviced her into teaching me how to manually sew buttons on random pieces of cloth.

So one day, after she finished working on her machine,  she couldn’t fine one single button (from hundreds that she had) to work with on her ordered dress.

I was so used of listening the sounds of her sewing machine and observing her feet setting up the rhythm, while me sewing all those buttons… so  laughing at it.

Now, when looking  at this machine, I realize no piece of clothing gets ready only by wanting it or by wishful thinking.

It has to have an input: all the needed threads, materials, the human factor.

This is what happens with our passions too.

We need the materials and tools and then, the most important:

  • The effort: to show up and do the work (my aunt had a large household back then, lots of animals and fields to take take care of)
  • The time: to make it, since the expression of “having time” is doomed from beginning (I don’t remember to hear her saying she has no time because each day in the afternoon she was making time as religiously as made time for going to church)
  • The willingness: to have ups and downs, success and failure (more than 20 years ago, she did it all from scratch and papper patterns, with many fittings, and failures were worked up to successes. She always found the perfect button for that one dress.)
  • The perseverance: to never quit, because having a passion and not living it can count us as dead inside ( orders kept on coming for my aunt because her passion and good work were transmitted by the spoken word so fastly. She was working her and into her passion every day)

Now, it’s me and you with all that we know as passions for ourselves, and we here to do the same.

It should be way more easier now than 20 years ago, and if she managed we will manage.

And if by chance you don’t have a passion to fire up in your heart, do make yourself a favor and find it.

A passion in life is like seasoning to a food… like that extra special button to my aun’t dress.

Are you up for it?

Invitation to “my wagon”

A short train trip  to the mountains on a regular Saturday winter  morning.

Gorgeous walk, sunny weather, delicious food and perfect company.

The trip back home with a slower train..

The long walks take their toll on me and when I sit down and with the warm air hugging me I deeply relax.

I am looking through the wagon and encounter a variety of  fellow travellers.

And I have my phone in my pocket for the rest of the trip while I take time to look at everybody.

Bring to paint a picture of their stories in my mind.

Snowboarders, fathers left in a boy’s getaway with their baby boys, elder people heading back to their homes, an Indian speaking English with a delicate redhaired woman  that proved  to be his wife.

I’m melting in my seat, and outside the shades of the sky are rapidly changing, like in a kaleidoscope.

I close  my eyes for a second and the swing of the train rings back  memories from me being a baby swung in my mum’s loving arms.

I feel warms and protected and I open my eyes grateful for the amazing day I am having.

It seems waves of mixed relaxation and sleep gently sweeps our wagon and the sounds are lullabies for my ears.

The snowboarders swish silently their gloves and coats to fit better without disturbing anyone.

The fathers with  the getaway are softly speaking to their boys trying to put them down to sleep before they do. Luckily the boys fall asleep in each others arms, and the parents are silently giggle in content.

The elders put down their glasses in their pockets and rest their eyes and I can almost sense their eyelashes fluttering down, in the same rhythm of their heartbeats.

The Indian chit chats  with his enchanting lady as softly as everybody else, while her gaze is caressing his  warm brown skin.  The’ve had the same amazing day, I can feel it..

And the train makes its way into the night while  the little boys sleeping in front  of me are snoring gently like kittens purrring.

Luckily my trip is almost ending, and I won’t join the little fellows in a deep nap myself.

Never thought that  one hour train trip after an amazing day could be so soothing.

Grateful for this day, and for the people with good vibes from train 3088, wagon 03.