Spring Greetings!

It is almost mid-April and it really doesn’t feel like Spring yet. The sun and warmth come to tease us for a bit and then we are back to rain, cold, fog and even hail!

Nature doesn’t seem to mind though. Portuguese wild flowers are sprouting all over!

Here there are some pictures taken on our daily walks.

I hope you enjoy them!

BeFunky Collage




Musical Stories

I have not posted for a while … life being hectic and me feeling lazy in my spare time. In any case, here I want to share this coming event:

TRÊS FÁBULAS MUSICADAS | Vânia Moreira e Elena Rojas

On February 25th and 26th, Vânia and I will be playing the Portuguese version of three wonderful stories set to violin, cello and narrator. This is the first time we’ll have added puppets and we are so excited about it!

If you are in the vicinity of Rua da Esperança in the old part of Lisbon, please come and join us for some musical storytelling fun.

Have a great weekend!

Sardinhada Manicure

Sardinhada Manicure

In Portugal’s summer, the favorite food is grilled sardines. There are Sardine Festivals and all sort of events related to sardines. I decided I wanted to try to do a fun manicure in honor to this gastronomic tradition; it was a time consuming manicure but it was worthy! I love the result. In the picture you can see the manicure just as I finished it last night, and then this morning on natural light.

I got inspired by lots of nail artists:

My pal Chrissy https://finepolish.wordpress.com/2015/09/13/ocean-themed-manicure/

I also found inspiration from an image I found at the BP store from @nailpolishplay http://nailpolishplay.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/neon_tribal_fish_sun_1.jpg

I also used the smudging technique #marblingwithnailstamper  used by Swanette #stamp4fun https://youtu.be/kkvketdCCqU 

And the blending colors technique used for stamping by Gelulicious #gelulicious  https://youtu.be/KMVWPb95byY


I used Born Pretty stamping plate BP 066 for the fishes, and BP-L 026 for the algae. I stamped with BP clear head stamper; it work great on the mat.

For stamping polishes, I used Born Pretty stamping polishes black, metallic green and silver.


For painting the nails and coloring the fishes in the reverse stamping, I used an assortment of different polishes from Kiko.


The nail mat was a bargain find from AliExpress

Have a great weekend!

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Santos Populares’ Manicure


I spent two mornings driving through Bairro Alto and Cais de Sodré. This week was São João, and the streets were decorated with colorful banners and lights. Driving around the old part of Lisbon is hectic, with very narrow streets, confusing signs, and lots of people. Nevertheless, it is impossible not to love the old facades with the emblematic “azulejos”, blue tiles.

It was time for a new manicure, and this time I used Born Pretty stamping plate BP-L 027


I used Kiko Electric Blue 336, and Milky White 840 as base colors. Then, with plastic wrap I added yellow, grey, and lighter blue little splashes on the nails to create the undertone colors you find in some old tiles. I finally stamped on blue and white on three of the nails, and voilá! Here it is my Santos Populares manicure.

Have a great weekend! Bom fim-de-semana!



Nature on a Saturday afternoon

We just returned from our walk. There are so many flowers, insects, birds and reptiles making the most of the season!

Here I want to share the cutest sight of the day: A tiny snail napping on a small Queen Ann Lace flower.


Portugal’s Landscape

One of the things I love the most about living in Portugal, is having the time to enjoy the surrounding beauty. In Venezuela, nature walks are something that nobody does on a daily basis, and later in NY we were so busy that although we had daily walks with our dogs at the park, only on weekends we could venture to go to wilder places. In Portugal, both, beach and mountain are right there for us to enjoy.

Portugal is always green. All year round there are plants and flowers to delight our senses – and allergies -; but every year, there is a slight change on which plants flower most or first. Sometimes, I even get to see flowers I didn’t see the season before. I love that sense of discovery I feel while enjoying our daily walks.

Here I want to share with you a natural flower arrangement. It has one of my favorite flowers: the Viperina, a yellow specie of the Daisy family, a Queen Ann Lace, beautiful Cardos and a wild Malva.


Making Bagels in Portugal

As I said in my previous post, everywhere I have lived I have found products/produce in different packing. In Venezuela I would find grain yeast in big packs, in NY in packs of 3 grams, and here in Portugal, the best price for instant yeast is Aldi’s packs of 7 grams.

I had to adjust Mr. Reinhart’s recipe to what I find in the supermarket. Here I would like to share the proportions for plain bagels:

2 tablespoons of honey (great replacement for Malt Syrup)

20 grams of kosher salt

1 pack of 7 grams of instant yeast

1100 grams of white flour

2 cups and 4 tablespoons of water (depending on the type of flour you might need to add a bit more or less water. The dough shouldn’t be runny. If you need to add few more table spoons of flour is OK).

I add all these ingredients to my bread making machine and set it on the dough cycle. In one hour and fifty minutes my dough is ready to go to the refrigerator for overnight slow rising.

I coat a glass container with a little bit of vegetable oil, and then cover it with plastic wrap. Next day will be the process of rolling, boiling and baking the bagels. You can make them the same day, but they taste much better if you let the dough to slow rise.


Welcome to Just Living!

Living somewhere else than the place I was born was not a surprise for me. I always knew that I was not going to stay in Venezuela forever. I knew it since childhood, and I knew it meant to be away from the family I love and friendships I cherish. Nevertheless, I am blessed, and I have been able to keep bonded to these affections.

What was a surprise, was to discover the impact that such small things such as your commodities brands, the size of the typing paper, and the procedure to buy medicines have on everyday life. Adjusting to these little things moving from Venezuela to USA’s East Coast was not so difficult; back then we used to have most of the big American brands in Venezuela. I only needed to get used to “inches and pounds”, and to learned that to buy medicines I needed always a prescription; you get ONLY the numbers of pills the doctor prescribed, and they come on bottles with your name, address, phone number, and the number of refills allowed.

Living in New York there is no room to miss anything you used to have in your birth country. There are Venezuelan restaurants (although I didn’t visit any in almost twelve years), and you can buy anything from Harina Pan (pre-cooked corn flour) to plantain leaves to make the traditional hallacas for Christmas, and the occasional arepa. During those years I also came to love Indian Cuisine, Sushi, Korean Food, different types of food from China, and the very American New York’s Bagels.

Because such diversity and availability of produce, it was a bit of a shock not to find all that in Portugal. I have been told that in the heart of Lisbon, in Martim Moniz, you can find anything your heart/stomach desire. I live now very close to Cabo da Roca … so food shopping trips to Lisbon are not that appealing. When I found myself missing New York’s thin crust pizza, and bagels, I knew it was the time to bake again like when I lived in Venezuela.

I love cooking, and during three years I tried different recipes. All were OK, they were bagels … but almost two years ago I came across a recipe in Epicurios, and that was it! The best bagel recipe I had tried before. I have made some variants: I make egg, cinnamon raisin, plain, oatmeal, and cranberry & walnuts bagels. In average, I bake every two weeks. They freeze wonderful, and although I have not found a deli with flavored cream cheese or egg salad, I am happy having my toasted bagel with plane Philadelphia Cream Cheese for breakfast.

Here I share with you this wonderful recipe. If you are an expat missing bagels, or if you are a bagel lover and want to learn how to make them, this is a great way to start. I make the dough on my bread machine, so I don’t even knead by hand anymore. I do roll them though; it took some practicing, but it is fun to try to make them like the “real thing”.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Bagels by Peter Reinhart

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Photography: My egg bagels on my kitchen island.

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