Food Travel

Breakfast with a view

21/04/2017

Morning, guys!

As it is breakfast time, I thought I will share some moments from the first meal in Bali. I love good food as much as travel and photography, so here you go 😀

I was a bit afraid of trying new foods there as you might end up with upset stomach, so my choice for breakfast was fruit platter, some coffee, and pancakes with banana and yogurt on top. Yum! (And G’s choice was some kind of Balinese specialty I think – Mie Goreng(fried noodle dish) or Nasi Goreng(fried rice dish), if I remember correctly.) Everything was made fresh by the hotel staff and we enjoyed our meals right outside our rooms, on the patio, with the view to the jungle. The skies were a bit overcast, but the warmth, the nature around us, the feeling of this new adventure made us feel unreal.

We (us and the other couple – Kristina and Tadas), put our tables together and had a really nice breakfast experience. It is moments like these that stay in your head –  so I say a big YES for more breakfasts like this 😉  It is my favorite meal, and I think it kind of sets the tone for the rest of the day.

Have a nice breakfast (or the upcoming lunch!), and may your Friday start easy 😉 ♥

Love, V.

Travel

We woke up in paradise!

20/04/2017

All kinds of bugs playing their serenades, a gecko hanging somewhere on the wall and greeting us with its squeaky ”gec-ko!”, a warm breeze soothing our tired faces – that is what welcomed us in Bali.

After 4 long flights, a couple of stubborn taxi drivers, and then one ”not-really-a-taxi-driver-but-a-friendly-face” driver – and we were standing at our hotel reception, somewhere in the middle of Ubud, at 1 o’clock in the morning.

We got some snacks (thanks to the personnel from the hotel (Graha Moding Villas – highly recommended), who kindly waited for us to arrive! and fed us 😀 ), observed all the surroundings and went to sleep.

And then we woke up.

In paradise!

The warm weather and all the greenery. My eyes and soul was longing for this for so long. We took some photos and then another logic action was to jump in the pool. It felt amazing! Our friends joined us as well (we traveled with another couple), and we did a little photo shoot in the pool. The fun part is that it was only us! 😀

Later on we had a fulfilling breakfast and planned our day – we had some points of interest in mind, so we hired a driver for the whole day. And that is a really good way to get around, especially on the first day – when you don’t feel confident enough to rent a motorbike (which we did later on our trip). A driver will take you to all the places you want, and will usually do it very efficiently.

I will have another blog post from our day adventures – and for now – enjoy the views from our villa in the jungle! I loved it so much – with all the sounds, the authentic feeling, and even with some critters that decided to show up in our room… 😀

(I am talking a big-a** cockroach over here…)

But as Balinese people believe – nature is ”power” and each element is subject to influence from spirits. So, as we wanted to keep our karma clean, we did not do anything to the bug (even though shivers were going down my spine 😀 ).

So enjoy the view, and talk to you tomorrow 😉

Love, V.

Food

Buttermilk pancakes & vacay feels

05/04/2017

Hey!

You missed me? I should hope so 😀 It’s been a while… Well, I surely missed this place, but I was very uninspired. Beaten to the ground, questioning-my-life  uninspired 😀

The weather has a lot to do with this, but I think you already know how I feel about the grey skies, rain-all-the-time, and well, no appearance of sun whatsoever.

But that’s about to change tomorrow, and I am very VERY excited!

So I had to celebrate this with pancakes! Yummy, soft, buttermilk pancakes – or to put it simple – I improvised with what I found in the fridge. 😉

Buttermilk pancakes for a better day:

  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • spelt flour (I adjust the batter to my liking – don’t make it runny 😉 )
  • a dash of rolled oats
  • chia seeds
  • a cube of melted butter
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • tsp of sugar

I do not have the exact measurements, I think that’s how it goes with pancakes. Mix the dry ingredients first, then add egg, buttermilk, melted butter and combine together well. Fry on medium heat, for about 2-3 minutes each side (or when you see the bubbles on the top). I used coconut oil for for the pan. 😉

Serve with some maple syrup, fresh berries, or other toppings. Simply yum!

Oh, and they go well together with some matcha latte!

Have to run now – to do some last minute preparations before the trip.

Palm trees and sunshine – we are comin’ for ya!

p.s. you can follow me on Instagram – I will try to share some stories there along the way!

Love, V.

Life Places to Visit

Women’s Wednesday

09/03/2017

Mornin’! My clock says it’s still 11:11 AM, so you bet it’s still a morning here 😛

Yesterday I had such a nice day despite the fact that the weather was all over the place. It was gray, windy and snowing. Fun, right? Not so much, when you expect spring to come any time now. Hi, hello, where are you?

However, it was International Women’s Day (woop woop to all of us – to strong, independent, fierce – us! Eating-croissants-all-day-long us! 😀 You get it… ♥), and I went to visit my beautiful friend Elle (she is an amazing make-up artist, by the way 😛 ) who I get to see only once in a while (shame…). But we live quite far from each other, so that’s our excuse (shame x 2).

We wanted to have a cup of coffee, chat a bit, have some much needed girl time. She knew one place, so we thought we will give it a try. We drove there, and of course, the place was closed during day time (they opened later that evening), but we met the owners who appeared to be there, and they kindly offered us some coffee. On the house!

So we sat there, sipping our coffee, talked about life, and enjoyed the beautiful surroundings… The place is situated on a pier, with views of the sea and beautiful nature all around. I am predicting that in summer this place will be crowded! A perfect spot for a wedding or any other event, or simply spending a nice, long summer evening there…

Cozy place, with handmade rustic details, and a boat (!) inside, which is used as a serving table during continental meal times. Fun, right?

I loved the lamps! Something I would like to have in my own place (when I have one 😀 ).

Such a nice place! Even on a day like yesterday (or especially on a day like yesterday? When you can hide from that hideous wind… ).

So if you are ever in the area (Bergen and around), I suggest you visit the place. It is about an hour drive from Bergen, but I promise you, it is worth it. And you can do some easy hiking as well – you can find the western-most point in mainland Norway here, it is called Vardetangen.

You can find the place here:

Kilstraumen Brygge (their FB page here)

Kilstraumen 1

5943 Austrheim

Norway

Love, V.

Life Personal Photography

Monday mood: reflections

06/03/2017

Yesterday, as I was scrolling through Instagram, I read a question:

“Does anyone else feel like everything great you create is a fluke and everything bad is just proof that you’re not a real artist?”

And, of course, it caught my attention. I was questioning myself on the same topic just too much these past days. (I guess it is quite normal to a person who creates…? M? 😉 )

I had a meltdown. I was so overwhelmed with everything (I am working on something these days, and hopefully I can share the news soon), and I just cracked. Basically, life happened.

But.

It is good to have those moments. You realize what is important and what is not. And that you are not alone in this – people are usually there to help you, to soothe you, to give you advice. They are there to talk sense into you when your sense decides to take a stroll somewhere in the mountains 😉

And you realize, that you will do your own damn thing – no matter what it takes – because it makes you happy.

That simple. Happy.

I was inspired by some beautiful people out there, and today, I took my camera, looked at the mirror, and then… reflections happened.

Playing with light and angles. It was so much fun and very needed.

My kind of therapy.

Don’t ever, EVER quit on what you like to do.

Have your bad days, have your doubt days, but always trust your gut.

 

Love, V.

Life

Spring is here!

01/03/2017

What’s a spring without some flowers?? I can’t believe it’s already March. But I am more than happy, because it means that the days are getting longer, warmer and better in all ways!

So today, as I had to run  some errands in the city, I knew I will buy me some flowers. I was aiming for something fresh and not overly expensive (flowers in Norway are a bit expensive, hehe, so you bet I call it a treat) – and I was so lucky to find these.

Ranunculus – I call them the cousins of peonies 😀 Very pretty, very fresh, and very spring-feeling-y. I know it’s not a word, but go with the flow 😛

And now I am sitting all happy because of the flowers. And maybe some chocolate in my tummy, you’ll never know. It’s the little things in life that make your day.

Right?

Have a good one!

Love, V.

Travel

First encounter with the US: Chicago and NY bound. pt.3

28/02/2017

When I was writing this it was Monday (yesterday). And I was soooo not feeling it. One of those days, you know 😉 It got me #shook in a way. Nothing bad, really, but it was a day where you probably need 32451 cups of coffee to get through it. It didn’t help, by the way 😀

So today, I thought I will continue and just adjust some bits here and there. I have some tea on the side (peppermint-very good for the evening, or after eating pancakes :D), ”Friends” series in the background, and basically major dreaming is going on. Aaaahhh… I wouldn’t mind being in New York at the moment. Strolling around without a purpose, and just enjoying the concrete jungle itself. The crazy, never-sleeping, full-of-action city that has everything. 😉

And I  think you guessed it right – my last post from the First-encounter-with-the-US series is here. And it covers our visits to Chicago and New York. We were very lucky to have some company with us(aka relatives), and to see cities from a bit different perspective. There was actual sightseeing going on, but when you have a local with you – it’s easier! 😉

We flew into Chicago from Las Vegas. It was one of the most memorable flights because a) we got to see Grand Canyon from above (and it is impressive!), and b) we had a brief stopover in Kansas City – which was weird :D, and it almost ruined our flight – we were delayed because of the bad weather. But it is kind of normal for that area for that time of the year (June).

Our must see/must visit places included the Willis Tower (also known as Sears Tower), Cloud Gate (the Bean)… and that was pretty much it. We wanted a more relaxed day, so we took it slowly.

Cloud Gate – perfect spot for photographers with all the reflections going on. 😉

We had a pretty decent lunch at Elephant & Castle. I think it was the first normal burger I tried in the US.

What we really enjoyed (or what I really enjoyed 😀 ) was The Skydeck Chicago. A glass balcony/or a sky deck if you will – located on the 103rd floor of Willis Tower with amazing views of the city. And if you are really lucky, you can even get a view with some fog creeping over the city from Lake Michigan – it makes the experience even more fun, especially for me, as I like to capture moments like these. But visiting this place is only okay if you are not afraid of heights. So be prepared 😉

After 2 quick days and the warmest welcome we were off to New York.

To NEW YORK!

We were staying in the suburbs of NY, and were going to the city with the train. Almost felt like a local 😀 It was a bit different story when we had to use metro for the first time, but after a few hiccups we managed. Somehow. :))

The Grand Central…

…and The Times Square. Lots of people. All the time!

How about that skyline? Can I have an apartment in one of those buildings, please? Preferably with this amazing view. Thank you very much.

Some Central Park wanderings. I think we made only a little bit back then. We could not imagine that the park is actually that big. 😀

They say, New York has everything. Including best places to eat. After a lot of sightseeing and a lot of walking we had one of the best taco dinners in the place called Mercadito Grove (sadly, they are closed now-I tried to look up the address for you). They still have restaurants in Chicago, so if you are visiting – give it a try 😉

But who can compete with a homemade breakfast like this?? I tried making it myself, but I guess we’ll just have to plan a trip to NY for this one. G., I am already booking a ticket 😀

Walking down the Brooklyn Bridge – check! Again, one of the must see/must do while in New York.

One World Trade Center – which was still under construction back in 2014. So we just peeked at it and walked around the memorial for 9/11. And the memorial itself is a bit overwhelming – when you think about it…

I don’t know why, but it is so hard to gather the right words for this post. Maybe because it happened almost three years ago, or maybe I just want to keep a bit to myself 😉  All I know that it was amazing, and it left us speechless and wanting more. We knew that this is not the end and that we are coming back.

I had to collect my other half of heart that I left there 😉

NY, always ♥

Love, V.

Travel

First encounter with the US: the Canyon and the Ocean. pt. 2

24/02/2017

Well, hello, guys!

I think you are ready for part 2, right? And I left you hanging with our arrival to LA (or near LA, haha) – and I will elaborate on this shortly, after I explain a few things.

First of all, I have to mention, that we loved US since day 1. It’s this feeling inside me that I can’t explain, and it was with me even before the trip. I kind of felt and I feel American in a way. :)) Does that make sense?

Also, I did not say what the actual plan was. It went something like this: San Francisco to Los Angeles (via Pacific Coast Highway) – Los Angeles to Las Vegas (via Death Valley) – LV to Grand Canyon and backLV to Chicago (with a stop in Kansas City – a weird flight :D) – Chicago to New York. Everything in two weeks!

So, as I was saying – we were in LA, and first thing to do there is go to the beach, of course. As we were staying in a hotel in Thousand Oaks (later on the radio we heard the poll which stated that it is the snobbiest place in the area 😀 – but very nice to live in, for sure), we took the road along the Malibu and arrived to Santa Monica for some sun, sand, ocean and some chill time.

A TIP! Always, always wear sunscreen. We thought that we did not need it as it was a bit cloudy, but boy oh boy, we were wrong. BIG time 😀 I do not want to go into details, just trust me on this one.

Santa Monica pier in action.

And Venice beach in all its glory 😀

Later we went to Hollywood. I have to be honest with you – nothing impressive, crowds of people, but you have to go just to get that check off your list.

But!

Something really exciting happened while we were there. I was planning it in my head silently and had to gather all pieces of bravery to do this.

I wanted a tattoo for quite some time, and I thought it is a good idea to do it in LA and have the best memory with me from USA! Yes, this blonde girl, with leopard (!!!) jumpsuit did it. I probably looked funny and not trustworthy at all, but I made it sound as if I was 😀 And the tattoo artist was as cool as he could possibly be. The win/win experience 😉

A freshly tattooed and all hyped we went to the Griffith Observatory – a place with the most beautiful views of LA.

The next day we explored a bit of Beverly Hills and a bit of Downtown LA. And the latter is, well, quite meh. Nothing much to see…

A road trip day again – we were headed to Vegas. A lunch stop somewhere in between. Healthy choices, as always!

Can you tell that we started to improve with the Instagram game?

I remember one thing very clearly – it was HOT. Impossibly hot. Even the wind was hot. It’s unbelievable. ( 😉 )

Zabriskie Point – nature, why u so beautiful?

Vegas, we are near!

We did not do much in Las Vegas. It was only a point from which we traveled further. We visited the Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon Skywalk. We were expecting the full Grand Canyon experience, but we did not know that the place is run by the tribe – that is Indians, and not the National Park Service.

 

The Hoover Dam is really spectacular and it is fun to stand in two states at the same time (Nevada/Arizona).

Grand Canyon. GRAND CANYON!

I fell in love with this place since the moment I saw it. I can tell you stories and try to prove myself, but you won’t believe it, probably. Put this on your bucket list. Right now! Maybe not the exact same spot – not the Skywalk, but Grand Canyon itself.

The reason that I was not so fascinated with the place was the cost of it. As I mentioned it is run by the tribe, and they charge you for almost everything you want to do there. I understand their policy, but I am not a fan 😉

Anyway, the nature lured me in. I was somewhere else at that moment. (A western movie, maybe? :)) ) I was enjoying it to the fullest and we got some pretty cool shots…

Waiting for that never-coming bus.

G., what are you up to?

So I finish my part 2 here, and that means that part 3 (the last part) will be coming shortly. I really like going down this memory lane…

Love, V.

Travel

First encounter with the US: from SF to LA. Pt. 1

22/02/2017

February is coming to an end and I kind of need to deliver what I have promised – at least a couple of recaps from our trips to USA. #StillHaveTime

And I will start with the very first one, which happened back in 2014. You may ask – who would want a recap that old – and well, my answer would be – my playground, my rules :D. Also, I like to do things according to date/order, so… we’ll start here.

This trip was spontaneous (what a surprise! now, when I look back, I see it’s the tendency with us.. 😀 ), as we decided upon it in a day and planned in about a month. We bought tickets to San Francisco, and since G.(my husband, Giedrius -side note) has relatives living in Chicago and New York, we knew that we have to visit them! Because it might be only this time we visit the US. Little did we know… 😀 So we bought the tickets for the outbound flight from New York, and we were almost done.

Of course, there was hectic planning afterwards that included booking the hotels, looking up the points of interest, applying for ESTA, etc., etc., etc. …

***

And there we were – standing at the airport with our passports, tickets, a plan (yes, I am that girl),and very high hopes for the upcoming two weeks. It was our first big trip – so you could understand all the excitement. Besides, our other travels included doing road trips around Europe (good times, good times 😉 ), nothing more.

So after about a 10 hour flight we were there. In the land of freedom and hope, dreams and ambitions. :)) I remember being extremely tired, a bit scared (US customs can be a bit intimidating), but after all – overly happy.

We took our rental car (which we ordered beforehand), and went to the hotel – we needed the rest. But I have to mention, that we landed in Oakland, and our hotel was in south San Francisco – so driving in that traffic is really something. Especially after a long flight. 😀

But I guess everything is manageable, as we made it there safe and sound, checked in, and went to sleep instantly – we needed the rest, as the exciting days were coming.

The very first american breakfast at the hotel. Lots of carbs on the menu, as we had to stay active during the day. 😉

***

First stop – Twin Peaks – two prominent hills with the most amazing views of SF. A must visit during day and night!

Afterwards – Golden Gate Bridge. Do I need to say more? Maybe the fact that we had probably the best weather we could expect that day – no fog, only clear skies.

Work those colors boy, work them! I think we looked as European as we could, haha. Also, I have to mention that G. received so many compliments while in SF! At first I was like ”what the heck???!! How about me??”, but then it hit me… *smirk*

The famous Pier 39. Add this to your to-do list.

Of course we ate at Bubba Gump’s. The most touristy thing to do – check √

Those streets! I have to admit – during our trip I felt like I was in a movie. The whole time!

Chinatown, where you can find everything and anything.

And then some sunset views, of course. My pictures speak better for themselves. Or at least I hope so 😀

The next day we woke up to this. Fog that is. I felt a bit bummed, but throughout the day the skies cleared up, and everything was OK. How could it not be? 😉 We visited the Lands End Lookout, Golden Gate park and Japanese garden, had some sushi later in Japan Town, and captured an amazing sunset from the Coit Tower.

Japanese Garden in the Golden Gate park…

…and one of the best sushis I have ever had.

Oh, we also stopped at the Painted Ladies – Victorian houses in the Alamo square – and were a bit disappointed as there was the construction going on. Still, the houses in the area are way too cute, and remind me of times when I used to watch ”Charmed”.

Nothing can fail with a sunset like this.

The next day was dedicated for a road trip from SF to LA. We took the scenic route – the Pacific Coast Highway and this one is a must MUST. It has many stops along the way, and you have to do your research on what you want to see/do there, as it will be time consuming. Our biggest point of attraction was Big Sur – so with that in mind, and with some red marks on the map, we started our journey.

Did I mention this is a must?

At that time, we didn’t know anything about the Instagram poses. So pardon our lazy attempts. But it was the beginning…

😀

A point of interest – the Piedras Blancas – elephant seal rookery. It is very interesting to see animals in their own habitat. And especially that many!

As this was our first trip, we didn’t visit many of the spots, only because we either did not have time or we didn’t know about them. So my tip would be – do your research well! And as the evening was setting in, we were heading straight to our hotel (which, by the way, was in Thousand Oaks, not central LA). And with that being said, I will finish part one of this First Time To USA blog. I believe, it’s already way too many pictures, and many more are coming your way.

 p.s. As always – if you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask(in the comments, or via contact me scheme),or maybe you have your own insights and suggestions? I am not much of a writer, more of a picture-story-teller as you can see.

Talk to you soon ♥

Love, V.                                       –

Food

Smoothie bowl goodness

20/02/2017

Hey! I hope Monday treated you well.

For me it went really fast. It was like – wake up, dress up, clean up the house, and then puff-it’s evening already! 😀 Of course, I did a bit more than that, but let just say I let myself rest a bit after working the whole weekend.

And today I felt that I wanted something fresh and colorful to eat, so smoothie bowl seemed like a good idea. Besides, spring is just around the corner (hopefully) – and it is a good way to incorporate more light meals into your diet.

A what-you-have-in-the-fridge smoothie bowl:

  • a packet of frozen fruits (I used 150 g of mango, papaya, pineapple)
  • a handful of frozen raspberries
  • a good splash of almond milk (adjust it to your liking)
  • 1 tsp peanut butter
  • a bit of agave syrup

Toppings:

  • almonds (or any other kind nuts)
  • coconut chips, or shredded coconut
  • a mixture of seeds
  • fresh berries
  • …whatever you like 😉

You put all the ingredients for a smoothie in a blender and blend until smooth. Simple as that! 😀 Oh, and I suggest you invest in a good blender, because mine is not so good and there might have been some f* words spoken today as it didn’t want to blend properly. I guess the blades are too small, and they do not chop frozen fruit very well – so for me it took a while. However, when your smoothie is ready, put it in a nice bowl, add some toppings, drizzle with some liquid honey or agave syrup, and voila!

Nommmmm… This was exactly what I needed. Felt like a fresh start. I hope it will last, haha. I am eager to make more salads and plant based meals this week, so wish me luck! 

Love, V.