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Thursday, 31 July 2014

Have You Ever Had A NDE?

Dear friends,

I don't know about you but I had a close one more than 3 years ago. Do you know what a NDE is? Maybe it would be easier if I first explain the experience and than I will tell you what happened to me. A near-death experience (NDE) refers to personal experiences associated with impending death, encompassing multiple possible sensations including detachment from the body, feelings of levitation, total serenity, security, warmth, the experience of absolute dissolution, and the presence of a light. These phenomena are usually reported after an individual has been pronounced clinically dead or has been very close to death. With recent developments in cardiac resuscitation techniques, the number of reported NDEs has increased. The experiences have been hypothesized in medical journals as having the characteristics of hallucinations, while parapsychologists and a number of scientists have pointed to them as evidence of an afterlife and mind-body dualism. Religious believers tend to be divided on and uncertain about their interpretation of NDEs, given that while they verify some aspects of the faiths, they also explicitly falsify other aspects. According to the 2013 PLOS ONE article by Thonnard et al., "near-death experiences cannot be considered as imagined event memories. On the contrary, their physiological origins could lead them to be really perceived although not lived in the reality."
The Spa Place In The Polish Mountains
I am unsure if my story would truly fit in the NDE category but I thought I might as well share it with you.  Looking back at it, it makes me smile and think how insane I was to not wear a belt in the car during off road session... More than 3 years ago, when I was still with Capgemini Romania, both me and a dear friend of mine got invited to the Capgemini Oscars due to our hardwork in the previous year - we both were top performers for both Polish and Romanian team. As a gift, we were invited along with our Team Leader to the celebration in Krakow. It was my first time on Polish land and I promised myself I would come back and see more. We were granted a weekend off with SPA and trip to the Polish mountains included. I loved every moment of it! :) We were also offered to take an off road trip in the mountains - which was totally cool with me!
I remember being 4 people + 1 driver in the car. I never was bothered to put a car safety belt ever except when I was in front, next to the driver. This time I was in the back, in the middle. The weather was after rain, a bit foggy and the road a bit muddy - as you can very well see in the picture above.  The drivers took us off road for about an hour and asked us if they wanted to give it a go - no please! I loved every moment, with planes of over 45 degrees inclination, with valleys on both sides - where each move of the car could bring you down in a split second! But guess what happened? The track was so muddy at a certain point that the car just went haywire so the went off track and smashed into a tree. To this very day I thank God for the skills of the driver (that managed not to panic and move us in the direction of the tree) and for the tree being there (else we would fall down hundred of meters..). I remember falling so much in front that I almost touched the board of the car. Would you consider that as a NDE? I dunno about you but I can tell you I was scared to death! And to tell you the truth, I would do off road again :) How about you? Have you ever had an NDE? Did you ever went off road?

Yours truly,
A Crazy LadyBug
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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Wedding Of The Century: Lady Di & Charles

Dear friends,

You may not remember this as many of you were too young or were not even born then, but on the very same day, exactly 33 years ago, the marriage of Lady Diana Spencer and Charles Prince of Wales took place. Sad and heartbreaking as Lady Di's story is I cannot help on looking back in awe of their truly fairytale-like wedding. They managed to set up a trend that all royalty tried to keep up with ever since...
The wedding took place on Wednesday, 29 July 1981 at St Paul's Cathedral, London, United Kingdom. Their marriage was widely billed as a "fairytale wedding" and the "wedding of the century". It was watched by an estimated global TV audience of 750 million. The United Kingdom had a national holiday on that day to mark the wedding. The couple separated in 1992 and divorced in 1996.
There were 3,500 people in the congregation at St Paul's Cathedral. It was held at St Paul's rather than Westminster Abbey because St Paul's offered more seating and permits a longer procession through the streets of London. Some say 750 million people watched the ceremony worldwide, and this figure allegedly rose to a billion when the radio audience is added in, however, there are no means of verifying these figures. Two million spectators lined the route of Diana's procession from Clarence House, with 4,000 police and 2,201 military officers to manage the crowds.
During the vows, Diana accidentally changed the order of Charles' names, saying "Philip Charles Arthur George" instead of saying "Charles Philip Arthur George". Charles also made an error. He said he would offer her "thy goods" instead of "my worldly goods". She did not promise to "obey" him; that traditional vow was left out at the couple's request, which caused a sensation at the time.
Diana's wedding dress, valued at £9000 (£29,208 as of 2014). The dress was made of silk taffeta, decorated with lace, hand embroidery, sequins, and 10,000 pearls. It was designed by Elizabeth and David Emanuel and had a 25-foot train of ivory taffeta and antique lace. Charles wore his full dress naval commander uniform.
Diana remained the object of worldwide media scrutiny during and after her marriage, which ended in divorce on 28 August 1996. If the Prince of Wales had ascended the throne during their marriage, Diana would have become queen consort. Media attention and public mourning were extensive following her death in a car crash in Paris on 31 August 1997.

Yours truly,
A LadyBug That Always Admired Lady Di
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Sunday, 27 July 2014

Remember When We Were Kids And We Had Fun?

Dear friends,

Don't you, from time to time, miss childhood? Even a little bit?! I have moments in which I am thinking how crazy children are to wish they would be older. When we are small and inexperienced we wish to be grown ups and when we do grow up we wish to be small again. How fickle we are and how fast we change our minds. I for one want to grow old but never grow up. I want to have the sould of a child and remain happy inside. I want to be albe to have children and play with them and laugh with them and do certain stupid things with them. I wish for them to see me both as a friend and as a parent - according to case :) I wish that even as I grow older I could still be happy of the little things in life... Remember when we were small and we could be happy from a smile of our mother or from a bird singing or even from a cloud that would have a weird shape? I want to have that all my life...
A couple of weeks ago, we had the company picnic and I must admit it was fun and made me think of childhood. The picnic was split in 2: for adults and their children until 6 or 8 PM, I think, and after that there was a DJ and some disco music... Guess to which part we all went? That's right! For the fun time with kids. Seeing children running around free and with smile upon their faces always brings me in an awesome mood. They don't have worries and they are free to think what they will about the things around them. They speak freely and even though that may be considered as a bad thing, as you may be able to hurt ones feelings, they have a way of sticking with eachother in the end. Their worries go with the day and their anger flows away like butterflies. Oh, to be a kid is such a lovely thing! Grown-ups forget about having fun and smiling and somehow we think that the whole world sits upon our shoulders... How wrong we all are! Every single one of us is replaceable yet every one of us unique and important - what a paradox!
I have gathered in time things that take me back to my childhood and make them smile, and I am glad I did at least a few of those during our company picnic :) Here is a list of things that make me feel like a child again:
  • playing with bubble balloons and trying to get them as big as possible
  • eating cotton candy with your bare hands and licking your fingers in the process
  • reading comic books and smiling and laughing out loud when something went weird
  • trying to figure out figures out of clouds
  • thinking that clouds are actually mashed potatoes when I am in an airplane :) 
  • watching old movies I used to watch and rewatch when I was small - like Anastasia or Robin Hood: Men in Tights 
  • Singing along with my favourite musicals - favourite song Favourite Things from The Sound Of Music
This is just a short list, but trust me I have much more rolled upon my sleeve :) How about you? What makes you smile and think of your childhood? What games were you playing for fun? What gets you through the rainy day - I would love to hear that :) 

Yours truly,
A Kid Deep Inside - The LadyBug
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Friday, 25 July 2014

TARG Śniadaniowy = Food Time

Dear friends,

Don't you love outdoor events? Well I do! :) So it is with great pleasure that I present you the Targ Śniadaniowy. Now if you are not Polish or you do not know Polish language, you may ask yourself what is that!? Well here we are: Targ = Fair and Śniadaniowy = Breakfast. Now having this short Polish language lesson done, let me tell you more about this :) It is an event created as a big picnic and it happens almost every Saturday and Sunday, during summertime. In Krakow it has 2 locations: one is in Nowa Huta (usually in Park Ratuszowy) and one is very near to the Main Museum and Biblioteka Jagiellonska (in Krakow Park). But this event does not take place only in Krakow, but all over Poland. You can check their Internet Page or their Facebook account ;)
They are open even if it rains and I love that people are so dedicated that no matter the weather they would still go out and have a picnic in the park. I love how people, no matter the age, take blankets and folding chairs and sit and relax on the grass while children play and dogs run around like mad. The food there always looks good and the smell makes your mouth water each time you pass by. It looks tasty and I bet it is as healthy as it gets as all products are home made and/or made with care when it comes to the ingredients. The Targ is open Saturday and Sunday between 9:00 AM and 16:00 hours. Here is the special Facebook Page for Krakow :)
When my adorable husband was away for 10 days on his business trip, last time, I had some things to settle in the area and I dropped by to see the fair up-close-and-personal. It was so much fun and the energy and the vibes were so positive that I bought myself a lemon tart and I found a bench, sit down and watched the people having fun :) I must give a prize for awesomeness and yummyness to the team from the Chocola company here in Krakow! They made one of the finests sweets I have ever tasted: crunchy on the lower part, soft and sour-sweet lemony inside with lovely double topping of meringue. I do not know how they did it, but it was heavenly! and if I ever go to their shop I will surely ask for another one :) I just need to find it now :p How about you? Does your city have this type of fair? What have you tried and really loved?

** This post was made out of love for yummy food. I was not repayed in any way and all the opinions are my very own, straight from the heart! **

Yours truly,
A LadyBug In Love With The Lemon Cake from Chocola :)
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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

You're In For A Treat

Dear friends,

Today I will tell you about one of my lovely findings, here in Krakow. Three years ago, when I started walking around and visiting places and experiencing new things in this beautiful city, I bumped into BoboQ Polska. If you ever were once in Krakow, or for a matter of fact in Poland, and you never heard of them I must say that would be a huge loss. They do a yum yum drink named "Bubble Tea".  At first I was extremely skeptical but then, hey! I always like to try something new so I gave it a go. Well, dear friends, until this day I am still very much in love with this drink :) 
Bubble tea, also known as pearl milk tea or boba milk tea, is a Taiwanese tea-based drink invented in Taichung, Taiwan, during the 1980s. The term "bubble" is an Anglicized imitative form derived from the Chinese bōbà (波霸), meaning "large", slang for the large, chewy tapioca balls commonly added to the drink. These are (粉圓, fěnyuán), also called "pearls" (珍珠, zhēnzhū). Most bubble tea recipes contain a tea base mixed with fruit or milk. Ice-blended versions are usually mixed with fruit or syrup, resulting in a slushy consistency. There are many variants of the drinks, and many kinds of types are used and ingredients added. The most popular bubble drinks are bubble milk tea with tapioca and bubble milk green tea with tapioca.
Pick and choose :)
Bubble teas are typically of two distinct types: fruit-flavored teas and milk teas. However, some shops offer hybrid "fruit milk teas". Most milk teas include powdered dairy or non-dairy creamers, but some shops also offer fresh milk as an alternative. Other varieties are 100% crushed-fruit smoothies with tapioca pearls and signature ice cream shakes made from local ice cream sources. Many American bubble tea vendors sell "milk smoothies", which are similar to bubble tea but do not contain any tea ingredients. Some small cafés offer sweetener substitutes, such as honey, agave, stevia, and aspartame, upon special request.
Location, location, location...
The oldest known bubble tea consisted of a mixture of hot Taiwanese black tea, small tapioca pearls (粉圓), condensed milk, and syrup (糖漿) or honey. Many variations were created, the most common of which is served cold rather than hot. The tea type is frequently replaced. First was bubble green tea, which uses jasmine-infused green tea (茉香綠茶) instead of black tea. Big tapioca pearls (波霸/黑珍珠) were adapted and quickly replaced the small pearls. Peach or plum flavoring appeared, then more fruit flavors were added until, in some variations, the tea was removed entirely in favor of real fruit. These fruit versions sometimes contain colored pearls (and/or "jelly cubes" as in the related drink taho), the color chosen to match whatever fruit juice is used. Flavors may be added in the form of powder, fruit juice, pulp, or syrup to hot black or green tea, which is then shaken in a cocktail shaker or mixed with ice in a blender. Cooked tapioca pearls and other mix-ins (such as vanilla extract, honey, syrup, and sugar) are added at the end.
Now there are many places now who sell this particular type of drink - at least here in Poland, in Krakow. But my personal fav still remains the one located in Galeria Krakowska, ground floor, right in the middle of the Galeria. The company is names BoboQ Polska and you can find them on Facebook ;) or on their Online Internet Page. The product is typical vegan/vegetarian and it is done really quick, in front of your own eyes and you get to pick the ingredients ;) You can choose the base: either yoghurt, milk, green tea or black tea. After that you add the flavour - I prefer lichee all the time! And at the end you choose the bubbles :) as many as you would like! I rather like to ask for all the bubble flavours except tapioca and coffee... I feel like those are too weird and mushy and sticky for my taste, but who knows?! maybe you may like them! In Krakow you can find BoboQ only there but they have different shops in different cities and this is a franchise so if you wish to open up a similar place, you can give it a go ;)
As a plus, they have Freebee program as well :) just like Shake & Bake. If you know not what FreeBee is and what it does and if you live in Poland - or especially in Krakow - I suggest you have a look at their site. It is a fidelity program that allows one to accumulate points when shopping, and being able - later on - to buy products from those points. Hey! even my gym I am going to has this ;) Manufaktura Zdrowia allows one to buy products/services and get points from that! Maybe one day I will tell you about the gym as well ;) So what say you? Will you give it a go and try the Bubble Tea? Or have you tried it yet? What did you think of it? I, for one, each time I pop one of those bubbles I have a huge smile on my face and feel like a child :)

** This post was made out of love for popping bubbles. I was not repayed in any way and all the opinions are my very own, straight from the heart! **
Yours truly,
A Bubble Tea Fan LadyBug
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Monday, 21 July 2014

Survival Guide: Burried Alive In A Coffin

Dear friends,

Have you ever heard of "Premature burial"? If not, for sure you heard at least once in your life stories about people being buried alive in their coffins. That can be done by mistake or in bad will. Intentional burial may occur as a form of torture, murder, or execution; it may also occur with consent of the victim as a part of a stunt (with the intention to escape). Live burial is said to be one of the most widespread of human fears. Come on... just think of this: this is one way to die that is quite complex. You can either die inside the coffin out of asphyxiation, dehydration, starvation, or (in cold climates) hypothermia... Oh! The options/possibilities! 
For me this always was terribly frightening. I even remember stories where a bell would be put next to the burial place and the string would be left inside the coffin so that in case that person would wake up, one would be able to pull the string and the people watching the graveyard would come to help... What if you are claustrophobic?! What if you panic just by waking up in a foreign place with no light and no space to move? What if you truly are not dead? There are several hundred cases throughout the history where several years later people would dug out the dead for rituals and find them moved in the coffin and several nail marks on the coffin... What if you are pronounced dead but in fact you are just in some kind of trance/coma and you would wake up?... Horrid thought!
You can read about such burials by mistake or with intention throughout the history. Tacitus, in his work Germania, records that German tribes practiced two forms of capital punishment; the first where the victim was hanged on trees, and another, where the victim was tied to a wicker frame, pushed face down into mud and buried. The first was used to make an example of traitors, the second was used for punishment of dishonourable or shameful crimes, such as cowardice or sodomy. According to Tacitus, the old Germans thought that crime against honour should be exposed, whereas infamy should be buried out of sight.
During World War II, Japanese soldiers were documented to have buried Chinese civilians alive, notably during the Nanking Massacre. This method of execution was also used by German leaders against Jews in Ukraine and Belarus during World War II.
It could happen to anyone... People bury a person alive to scare them or to get rid of them. In this situation, rely only on yourself.
  1. Do not waste oxygen. In a classic coffin there’s only enough oxygen for about an hour, maybe two. Inhale deeply, exhale very slowly. Once inhaled - do not swallow, or you will start to hyperventilate. Do not light up lighters or matches, they will waste oxygen. Using a flashlight is allowed. Screaming increases anxiety, which causes increased heartbeat and therefore - waste of oxygen. So don’t scream.
  2. Shake up the lid with your hands. In some cheap low-quality coffins you will be able to even make a hole (with an engagement ring or a belt buckle.)
  3. Cross your arms over your chest, holding onto your shoulders with your hands, and pull the shirt off upward. Tie it in a knot above your head, like so: 

    This will prevent you from suffocating when the dirt falls on your face. 
  4. Kick the lid with your legs. In some cheap coffins the lid is broken or damaged already after being buried, due to the weight of the ground above it. 
  5. As soon as the lid breaks, throw and move the dirt that falls through in the direction of your feet. When it takes up a lot of space, try pressing the ground to the sides of the coffin with your legs and feet. Move around a bit. 
  6. Whatever you do - your main goal is to sit up: dirt will fill up the empty space and move to your advantage, so no matter what - do not stop and try breathing steadily and calmly. 
  7. Get up. Remember: the dirt in the grave is very loose, so battling your way up will be easier than it seems. It’s the other way around during a rainy weather however, since water makes dirt heavy and sticky. 
Just in case this may come in handy for someone, one day... You never know! There are weird and insane people out there, in the world. Just keep this in the back of your head - open up a drawer in your brain and place this file within it ;)

Yours truly,
The LadyBug Who Used To Be Frightened OF The Thought Of Buried Alive People...
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Saturday, 19 July 2014

Thoughts Upon A Good Party - Polish Style

Dear friends,

Last weekend was quite a busy one, to tell you the truth! We had a party on Saturday and a picnic on Sunday and the time just flew past us and there was aweful Monday all over again! I sometimes think that the weekend should ocasionally be prolongued by a day or two, so one would have time for recess before the whole world comes caving in and reaching for your soul (in this case, for your time and patience while at work...). The parties last weekend made me think of Poland and the way things happen here VS. the way things happen back home - not much of a difference, to tell you the truth. In the core, Romania and Poland are very much alike - except of course for the heavy drinking of vodka and higher graded alchool on the Polish side VS. having some wine on the Romanian side.
 Now, in general, to have a good party one would need the below listed items:
  • Guests - very basic: if you wish to have a good, small party in which you will have a lot of fun, invite your close friends. Invite the ones you care about. Invite the people you truly want to have there, not the ones that you would have to - due to different reasons.
  • Food - this surely comes in handy at a drinking party (where alchool gets involved) as the more you eat the better would you be able to stand the liquids trying to attack your liver.
  • Liquids - now depending on the type of party, it could be alchoolic or not. But hey! If we are talking about both Poland and Romania, surely there will be some involved - be it wine or vodka, pick your poison according to the country you are in!
  • Entertainment - it could be anything from watching a movie to checking the semi finals for the World Cup @ footbal (like we did last Saturday) or even playing something on the console (Mortal Kombat is my personal favourite, tell you the truth!).
Of course there are some additional extra points that might come in handy, but I think the most important one would be talking to the neighbours and letting them know that there will be a party - so they would not immediately call the cops. Though, if you have a very persuasive friend you can get out of it without a fine ;) In Poland, as far as I could see in my circle of friends, the parties that are home-based are much rather loved than the ones based in the city. And somehow, each time we would get out in the city, we would both start it from a home-party or end it up with a home-party so to make the circle complete. I have to say though that I like the home-based-parties - you get to play the music you wish, drink the drinks you like (and cheaper than in a pub!) and go to a clean toilet without standing in a huge queue ;)
 In Poland it is customary to come to the home-party with your own drinks + food that can be shared (like popcorn, chips, crunchy things that go very well with beer and leave you wanting for more and more...). Sometimes, if the party is small and intimate, one would even cook and bring cakes :) For example, last Saturday we had some amazing cheesecake and lemon cake made by one of our friends when we went to visit ;) I love the sense of friendship and warmth developed in the home-parties. You get to talk more (without shouting through the songs and noise of other dozen people in a club) and you get to me more up-close-and-personal to each person invited. 
The thing about Poland and alchool is the fact that most men consider themselves judges of a fine drink, and for men the standard gift is alcohol. One must always drink from a glass, never directly from a bottle. As such, the standard to bring at a party would be a bottle of vodka/whiskey :) But that all depends on the party and the people invited ;) How about you, lads and lasses, have you ever met a Polish person? Have you ever been to a Polish party? Do tell me of your experiences :) 

Yours truly,
The LadyBug In Love With Poland :)
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Thursday, 17 July 2014

DIY: Peppers Stuffed With Meat And Rice

Dear friends,

Guess what?! I must tell you that after my beans with meat success I figured out I should give it another go and prepare one more dish that - from my memory of my childhood - seemed pretty easy to do. As Marek did not manage to try the beans - I must admit, I ate them all before he came back from the business trip... - I said I would do the second dish the day in which he would come. He arrived early morning at around 1 AM and I did this dish in the previous evening. Depending on the fire and the number of the peppers and their size it can take up to 2 hours to cook + the time to prepare them.
Here are the ingredients for 4 portions for 2 peppers each:
  • 8 big red/green/yellow peppers - you choose the color, you can even combine them
  • tomatoe juice - around 300-400 grams
  • one egg (raw)
  • one pack of 500 grams of meat - the kind you would use for meatballs
  • onion (one, big - mine made me cry really bad...)
  • one pack of 100 grams of rice (white and long - that is what I used)
  • fresh herbs
  • a bit of sunflower oil
  • salt & pepper + other condiments to your taste :)
  • some bacon :) (this is my secret ingredient!) - everything tastes better if you add bacon!
First thing you need to do is make sure the peppers are clean and their seeds are taken out and the white parts as well. We will be stuffing the composition into it so make sure all is good to go and squeaky clean. Also make sure you don't break the peppers or else the content will spill out. Put them to dry out with the cut end down. In the meanwhile you can work on the composition, which is very easy - just mix them all in one big bowl: the meat (the best would be if the meat would be a combination of beef and pork), the onion cut into very small pieces, the rice, the salt & pepper & other condiments + the fresh herbs. At the end also add the one egg - it will help keep the composition into place. Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty! Clean your hands and put them in and mix them all around until they be one :)
When all is done, take the composition and stuff the peppers like you mean it! But don't do it up to the top as while they will boil the composition will grow a bit and they need space to grow. At this point my special ingredient is the bacon. I cut it into small pieces and fit them as a cap for the peppers so the composition does not run out of place :) also it will give a certain something to the flavour. It is your choice if you wish to try with or without it ;) 
Next you should take all the peppers and put them in a pot. On the pot's bottom it would be awesome if you could pour a bit of oil so the peppers would not stick to it while boiling. Make sure they are all fitted well and in place, with the opening placed up. Boil some water and pour over it until they are all submerged. Add some more salt + pepper + spices (maybe even some laurel leafs) and the tomatoe juice and let it boil :) If you wish to keep the peppers into place, I suggest placing a ceramic plate over it, turned upside down ;) Don't let them boil at high fire, cook them medium to low - slowly and watch over them from time to time. You can also eat them with sour cream on the side ;) If you manage to do them, let me know how it goes :) 

Yours truly,
The Wannabe Cook LadyBug :)
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Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Remember When We Were Little And Watched Sailor Moon?

Dear friends,

Do you remember when we were younger and we used to watch Sailor Moon? Scratch that out! I still watch episodes, from time to time, just for the fun of it. It helps me remember of my childhood when me and my sister and my cousin would eagerly wait for new episodes. When we were very little, at the very beginning, we used to watch them on RAI1 or some other foreign post. We would understand just a few words but the main idea was not hard to get ;) Then the national television started broadcasting it. It is so very weird listening to japanese movies with Romanian subtitles, where on RAI1 we would listen it in Italian :) Maybe that is why we understand more languages... being exposed since we were small to different languages helped. The children's brain is like a sponge indeed!
Taking into consideration that in the 80's - when it first appeared - there were not many good female characters, this anime was quite a hit. It had a main female hero + 4 faithful sidekicks ( + 3 additional ones with the 3rd Season). Based on the comics, the anime brought to life the main hero: Sailor Moon. As weird and crazy and twisted as she was, she was a role model for many girls my age when I was small. I did not want to be Sailor Moon. When the 3rd season appeared and Sailor Pluto came to scene, I was completely and helplessly lost. I wanted to be her: long, flowing dark-green hair and with the ability to stop time. She was smart and beautiful and she knew exactly what she was doing. Unlike Sailor Moon, who was always a mess. Kind hearted and friendly, but a mess nonetheless. 
I always loved how the anime looked. The colors were so vivid, the lines were so pure, the music was so lovely - I still have it wrapped around my brain, the intro and the finale. I loved how they all looked alike yet all were different, from their powers to the way they transformed to their wild personalities. Everything in this anime was very feminine yet strong and willing to make you fight and be one of them :) The plot is not one of the brilliant ones and the episodes basically have the same story line: some kind of evil person / villain plans to take over the world and spread darkness and the feisty ladies with Sailor Moon ahead, manage to save the day! :) But hey! The plot was written for children, for young girls around 1st - 4th grade, who wish to have some kind of role models in their quest to save the earth. Who doesn't want to fight like Sailor Moon for love and justice?! Who doesn't want to have friends around her, friends who care and would be willing to give their life for you? Sailor Moon taught me about friendship, about honor, about never backing out of a fight when you know you are right and also about protecting the weak. Have you ever watched Sailor Moon? If so, what do you remember? How did it change you? :) 

Yours truly,
The LadyBug Who Called Herself Sailor Pluto
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Sunday, 13 July 2014

Remembering: Malopolski Piknik Lotniczy Air Festival

Dear friends,

On the 29th of June I had the great pleasure to go to the Polish Aviation Museum in Krakow for the second time. The first time I went with my lovely sister and my adorable husband, but you already know that from this post. This time I took Alex, a dear friend, with me to see the Air Festival Picnic. Each year the Museum hosts a 2 day show in June, inviting clubs from all over the world to come and display their flying skills and their aerobatics in their huge courtyard. I always wanted to see it, but each time something came up. Thankfully enough this year I managed to see it! :)
I would have loved to have my husband there as well, but exactly that Sunday morning he flew all the way to Helsinki for a business trip, where he stayed over 1 week. Due to that, Alex took me from the airport and we went straight to the Polish Aviation Museum. The ticket for one day costs 20 zloty and it was well worth it. The weather was somewhat against us - it was so unbearably hot and humid that we managed to stay only for 3 hours, after which we deserted and retreated ourself to Kazimierz where we had some really really cold lemonade and beer.
This year it was the 10th Air Show hosted there and I must admit the crowd was huge and the number of airplanes was to its size. Unfortunately we saw no ballons, even though I know that last year there were a few. Maybe there were later on in the day, or maybe in the day before, but surely we would have loved to see one soaring up into the sky :)
For an interview, Jarosław Dobrzyński, one of the organizers of the event, said: “It’s a very popular event, every year we have around 50,000 visitors, especially when the weather is good like today."
More than twenty aircraft took part in the air show on Saturday, included some historical rarities from World War II, such as the Polish Aviation Museum’s Supermarine Spitfire, but the main attraction for the visitors was the aerobatics group Biało-Czerwone Iskry.
Team Iskry, the aerobatic demonstration team of the Polish Air Forces, performed for 25 minutes at 16:00, and repeated the display  on Sunday June 29 at the same time. The air show itself started each day at 10:00 and finished at 19:00.
For the fans of this kind of event, the Polish Aviation Museum will hold a smaller air show on July 27 connected with the opening of a new exhibition about the planes of World War I.
 “We have a unique collection of  World War I aircraft, which will be displayed in the new exhibition, in a new setting”, said Jarosław Dobrzyński.
And it is true, as during the show, one of the 3 main hangars was closed - most probably exactly for that specific purpose :) And a part of the airplanes were taken out from inside the hangars and put outside for display, so that people could enjoy them better.
More information about the event can be found on the air show website: X Małopolski Piknik Lotniczy. Though I have to admit you will probably have to use Google Translate for that as it has no version in English.
Also next to all the airplanes was a display of war machines & products of the forced army from all possible countries - disregard the Ferrari as I still have no idea what it was doing there... If one would have liked, you could have fired a gun (including an AK 47!). Alex actually tried the Avtomat Kalashnikova as he never fired one :) 
War contributes greatly to global warming, which shouldn't surprise us. All those bombs going off, all those rockets, all those planes and helicopters. All that fuel of various kinds being used. It pollutes the air and water of this very fragile and interconnected planet. - Alice Walker
Gliders, sail planes, they're wonderful flying machines. It's the closest you can come to being a bird. - Neil Armstrong
How could a guy sitting in a cave in Afghanistan, have... plotted so perfectly the hijacking of four planes and then guaranteed that three of them would end up precisely on their targets? - Michael Moore
During World War II, the pilot losses were staggering. In some bombing raids, as many as 80% of the planes that left did not return. - Simon Sinek
 I am interested in imperfections, quirkiness, insanity, unpredictability. That's what we really pay attention to anyway. We don't talk about planes flying; we talk about them crashing. - Tibor Kalman
I shot down some German planes and I got shot down myself, crashing in a burst of flames and crawling out, getting rescued by brave soldiers. - Roald Dahl
I went on a book tour immediately after 9/11. I was due to leave the following Wednesday, so I just did. It was an amazing thing, because planes hadn't been flying very many days, and I got on this plane and went to San Francisco, and the minute that plane lifted above the clouds, I felt this incredible sense of lightness. - Joan Didion
When I was a very little boy, I lived underneath the air pattern of LaGuardia airport in New York and I watched the planes fly to their destinations. I was in love with the design of these airplanes. - John Travolta
Dear sweet lads and lasses, I am very much sorry over the quality of the pictures. I did not have the camera at that time, as Marek took it with him to Finland in order to take some pictures. I took these with a video-camera so you have to believe me over how wonderful and magical it was. I have no pictures of the acrobacies done during the time we were there as they were incredibly fast :)  You need to be there to see it! But maybe next year I would go again, with Marek and the camera :) How about you? Have you ever been to an Air Show? What did you like the most?

Yours truly, 
A LadyBug Who Loves Flying
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Friday, 11 July 2014

Public Transportation In Krakow

Dear friends,

If you find yourself in Krakow, staying for a while - be it a weekend, a week, a month or undeterminate time - and you need to travel all over the place, you may wanna have a look on this article. Krakow is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Its population reaches inside the city a staggering amount of 758,334 people (date taken 31st December 2012) and it has a density of 2,300/km2 (6,000/sq mi) with a metropolitan area of 1,725,894. Considering that, it is remarcable that the city does not have Metro lines. 
Just this summer, there was a vote - all people living in the city were called to vote - upon if they should start building it. The proposition was met negatively and the participants did not want it. And I, for one, living in Krakow for 3 years now, understand why. The public transport is decent and if they would start working on a metro then all the main public lines would be closed and we would have blockades and traffic jams for as long as the building of the metro would take place. Take for example Warsaw, where just now they are building the 2nd Metro line and things are going really slow... just like a snail! So it is normal that Cracovians would rather have their city intact and with public transport above the ground.
The public transport in Krakow is based on a dense network of trams and bus lines, which are taken care of by the governance of the city + a number of private minibus companies. The trains are also a huge part of the transportation system throughout the city - and I came to realize that only this year, to my shame, when I changed my job and I had to go from one part of the city to the further on. The main part of the city was transformed in time so it would be only pedestrian + bike friendly + carriages with horses; but before the war, there were tram lines going even to the Sukienicce. 
What I love about the buses and trams and trains here is the fact that 90% of the time they are on schedule - the 10% delays usually comes when there is bad weather and it rains or it snows, but they do come up or you would need to wait for the next one but they are usually 15 minutes apart on the main routes. There is one particular site that was introduced to be by the locals, the first time I came here in Poland and it is called and it is a system build for the communication/public transport inside the Polish cities. You just need to select the city you are located in and it will bring you to a page like this:
The beautiful part about this site is that it also comes in an English version ;) and that it remembers your previous searches. From here it is as easy as 1-2-3 :) You just need to put in the name of the street from where you wish to take the transport from (or the name of the closest bus/tram station) and where you want to get to; introduce the day and date in time that you want to leave (or you can check the arrival box and put the hour on which you need to arrive to that place) and it would calculate the best route and the best option. It also has additional features: If you do not wish to walk by foot / Normal Parameters (I usually pick this one) / I'm in a hurry / Avoid changes (when you would like to do the trip with as less transfers as possible). You can also have a look at more options but tell you the truth, I never use them :) 
But let us say that you are at the Galeria Krakowska (which is also the location of the Main Station for trams / buses / trains alike) and you would like to get to Schindler's Factory. After entering the criteria you press the Search button and it will give you all the possible bus / tram (also in combination) options to get to the specified place in time. This site was always a life saviour, especially when I had no clue over the bus / tram lines that were going to a specific place. Once you know the number of buses and you wish just to check their particular schedule, you can always go to their main mpk page and search them there. It also has the upper option to change the language from Polish to either English or German. When done, select the "Timetables" menu and choose the bus/tram you wish.
There you need to make sure you chose the right way, press on the station that you would pick the bus / tram for and pick the time more suitable for you. The trains go on the same principle and they have their very own page (again, there is a version in English ;) ) and it is updated frequently so make sure you check it each time. For example during holidays (school, faculty) the trains / buses / trams change their schedule and they are a bit less frequent. The site for the train is this one. Yet again you need to put the Station from which you are going and the Station to which you wish to get to and the date of either departure or arrival. Searching for connections does not take long and then you will know which train to choose. 
The wonderful part is that Krakow has this lovely system of daily / weekend / weekly / monthly tickets that can come in any combination of bus / tram / train. For example, right now, the free pass on all bus / tram inside Krakow (be it Strefa 1 or 2) + monthly train ride from Krakow Main Station to Zabierzow / Krakow Business Park is only 174 zloty per person (which is around 57 USD). The trains are quite fast and they are not as scary to me as once, at the beginning. In the last month, due to the train rides, I managed to finish Eragon & Eldest & Brisingr (the first 3 books by Christopher Paolini, part of the Inheritance Cycle). And the train is only a 15 minutes ride! :) Well, that is about it! If you have any questions regarding the public transport inside Krakow, I would be more than happy to oblidge :) This, to my defense, is yet another post for my wonderful friends coming to my wedding in August - so they would not get lost :) 

Yours truly,
A LadyBug Who Loves Her Friends Very Much

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Wednesday, 9 July 2014

DIY: Beans & Meat Dish

Dear friends,

I haven't been doing this in quite a while so have patience with me. I don't usually cook and when I do, it usually takes time and patience and I double check things. I have this horrid idea that if I would go away from the stove I would find the whole house on fire. That is why I preffer salads :)  and that is why it makes me extremely happy when my awesome husband cooks. In case I did not tell you this until now, he is an amazing cook ;) but hey! that runs in his family, considering that his big brother is a chef :) Last week though, and part of this one, he was away on business trip so I had to ocasionally light a match and do some cooking.
On Saturday I was in a terribly good mood so I thought I would go wild and try to do a dish I never did before: white long fresh beans with chicken breast :) Sounded easy enough when I tried to remember what my mum and granny used to do, but hey! they had experience so keep that in mind! So I went out and bought fresh beans and fresh chicken breast and then I headed home and mixed it all up. Below you can read how I did that and what you need for the reciepe in case you want to give it a go :)
 Ingredients for about 3 portions :)
  • 1 big chicken breast without bones
  • 500 grams of fresh yellow beans (like the ones in the first picture above)
  • 1 big garlic head
  • salt & pepper
  • oil (the regular one, not the olive oil) & water (still, not sparkling)
  • other condiments according to your taste :)
How to do it:
  • Take a big pot and put oil in it so it would cover the bottom,
  • Cut the garlic in small pieces and let them go in onion - fry them
  • Add the meat (the chicken breast that was washed, cleaned and cut) and stir it in the pot with a wooden spoon until it gets cooked on the outside
  • Add the beans (cleaned, washed and with the ends cut off) and stir them also. You may have to add a bit more oil.
  • After 2-3 minutes of stirring, add water so it would cover the beans and meat and put a cover to the pot and let them simmer down under a small fire. According to the beans and how soft you want them to be in the end, it can take up to 2 hours. 
  • Add the spices according to taste, stir and them let them simmer down 10 more minutes. Taste if all is good, and if everything is soft and delicious than that means all is good :)
If you try it out let me know how it went and if you liked it. I think I shall try doing it again, it is not as hard as it would seem. You just need to guard the fire and make sure you don't burn anything. Just in case, make sure you have 112 /  911 on speed dial ;)

Hugs and kisses,
From The LadyBug :)
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Monday, 7 July 2014

I Know You, I Walked With You Once Upon A Dream

Dear friends,

**WARNING!!! This post contains a review of Maleficent, where both the positive and the negative character of the story is played by the talented Angelina Jolie. It may turn out to be an extensive post so please grab yourself a cup of tea and a warm blanket and Enjoy! Be careful and read not this post if you did not see the movie, it is a huge spoiler ;)**
If you are with me for a long time, you may have seen me mentioning last year of a trailer that turned my head and made me stare in wonder and awe. That was the trailer for Maleficent, and it was the moment when I also told you I loved Disney and that Aurora was the true name of the Sleeping Beauty. Maleficent is one kick arse evil lady, and even though one should never admire the dark side - as I heart it is quite seductive and that it has cookies! - I must admit she is one of the best villains that Disney has created.
I do not know about you, but I was raised with a lot of Disney movies and I always loved fairytales. For me all magical things looked so much out of reach yet fascinating. Animations would keep me locked tight in front of the TV and I would spend hours looking in the fairytale books that my mother and my grandparents would provide. My personal favourite was always Belle - a nerd yet a lovely young woman with a will of its own. But when it came to evil, Maleficent was the best. From her wardrobe to the way she walked and spoke, she was a menace! And that black raven-like crow was as terrifying!
I love the fact that in the movie Maleficent the cast was selected especially to resemble to the original animation that Disney has created. The sets, the costumes, the way they walk and talk... everything was done so it would look as much as possible to the old Disney tale, yet since the very beginning Aurora's voice (which is the narrator and the Sleeping Beauty in one) tells us that the story we heard is not quite right... The movie Maleficent starts with the story of a beautiful small fairy with strong big wings, that falls in love with a poor dirty old boy who was trying to steal a stone. The fairy is Maleficent and the boy will grow up to be a king: King Stefan. They both represent the 2 world colliding: the real world and the land of fairies and all magical creatures. Maleficent befriends Stefan and on her 16th birthday, she receives her "true loves kiss" from Stefan (wickedly enough, when she casts the curse upon baby Aurora, she sets up the doom at the exact time when she had her first kiss: the sunset of the day of her 16th birthday!). But as we all know, the human beings are small and wicked and frail compared to the other creatures upon this earth, so Stefan's will to raise himself from the status of poor boy is more important so he sees less and less of Maleficent. Years fly by and we fast forward to a grown-up Maleficent, in all her beauty - huge horns and impressive large wings that can take her up into the sky, where she would soar above the world, on the wings of the wind alone...
The King of the Human Realm attacks The Land Of Magic, The Land of Fairies, and Maleficent stands guard, as we find out that she was named protector of the land, due to her strenght and knowledge. Along with her tree-friends (which remind me of the Ents from my beloved LOTR) and other magical creatures, she faces the king in battle and wins. On his dying bed, the king promises his daughters hand and the kindgom as a reward to get the fairy that defied him killed. Stefan, his servant, hears that and goes to Maleficent with the thought to kill her. He sets her asleep with a drink and sweet words of love, but when he sees her he cannot go through so he chooses middle ground by just cutting off her wings with iron (yes, iron apparently in this movie, works like Kryptonite upon Superman!). A most disturbing and heartbreaking scene arises when Maleficent wakes up. As she screams and mourns on the moors she screams and mourns not only for the lost wings, her lost freedom, her ability to move and be up there on the top of the world... she screams and mourns for the loss of a friend, for Stefan's betrayal and for her broken heart. All done in the night, with making her fall asleep so she would not feel a thing, all resembles very much with a rape - which is quite distressing, considering this is rated as PG.
Henceforward the movie turns dark as the sad queen arises. As Stefan is crowned king, due to Maleficent's lost wings, she takes over the land of fairies and becomes their dark queen. Sadness creeps in the land and all laughter is gone when she turns by. We see glimpes of good in her. Once seeing a peasant trying to kill a dark crow that tried to get close to her, she saves him and makes him her companion - his name is Diaval and he gets to change his appearence with just a flick of Maleficent's finger ;) and I must admit he is the nicest addition to the story! Maleficent's crow companion is named Diaval (pronounced similarly to 'devil') and in the Disney cartoon version Maleficent's crow companion is named Diablo (a word meaning 'devil'). In Irish lore crows are associated with the winged battle goddesses the Morrigan (they sound similar, as well, to Maleficent). In most all other lore crows are associated with death, the dead, and trickery. Thus, they can be "devilish" birds. Diaval becomes her wings and he brings her news from across the real, news of Stefan being king - news of Stefan getting married - news of Stefan having a baby girl now, named Aurora. As rage boils inside Maleficent she decides she must make her entrance to the palace and show herself to the world, in all her glory, and make Stefan pay for the wings he stole.
As a co-producer, Angelina Jolie insisted that the dialogue in Aurora's christening sequence has to be written word-by-word and based exactly from the original animated film because she feels that it was the main core and setup of the entire film. There's also a blink-and-miss cameo(one second shot) of Jolie's two children, Pax and Zahara in that sequence as well. All the actors and actresses in Maleficent (2014) were partly chosen to be in the movie based on their uncanny resemblances and/or likeness to their respective character counterparts in Disney's Sleeping Beauty (1959). Angelina Jolie worked very closely with the costume and make-up designers to develop Maleficent's menacing look. Disney executives objected, hoping to take advantage of Jolie's beauty in marketing the film, but the actress insisted that the character maintain the scarier look of the animated incarnation. Angelina Jolie based her character's speech and accent in homage of the original Sleeping Beauty voice actor Eleanor Audley. Her laughter in the film was also based on the best variation she tried in front of her children and chosen by them. Watching this brought be back to my childhood, though I must admit I would not have rated this movie as a PG and for sure I would not let a child younger than 14 to go to this movie!
Angelina Jolie was definitely interested to be in the movie to begin with. She repeatedly stated it was because 1.) she grew up on Disney movies as a child, especially Sleeping Beauty (1959); she was quite fond of the character Maleficent: "Since I was a little girl, Maleficent was always my favorite," Jolie said. "I was terrified of her, but I was also drawn to her. I wanted to know more about her. She had this elegance and grace, yet she was wonderfully, deliciously cruel," 2.) she wanted to a movie in which her children can go see her in, as well as the fact that her children really also wanted her to be in the movie, 3.) the beauty, warmth, complexity, and strong intelligence of the script, and 4.) she was very impressed with Maleficent's characterization for this film. In fact, Jolie also served as an executive producer on the film.
Vivienne Jolie-Pitt, who portrays Princess Aurora as a young girl, is the daughter of Angelina Jolie (who plays Maleficent in the movie) and Brad Pitt. I really believe Angelina really loved playing in this movie and I believe she truly put her heart into it. She picked Lana Del Rey herself to be the one to sing a version of Sleeping Beauty (1959)'s "Once Upon a Dream" as the main theme for the film. And I must admit that Lana did it beautifully and the song is haunting me ever since I first heard it in the trailer. It is the kind of song that just gets stuck in your head on Repeat mode until it knocks you over. The softness and the soothing tone makes you fall in love with it at the first sight!
Recently I have been very much in love with old fairytales with a twist, and if you ever watched the series "Once Upon A Time" you must know what I speak of. I love that recently Disney has quite changed their way of seeing fairytales and they started creating character that either save themselves - like Merida, Mulan and Rapunzel - or save the one they love - like Elsa/Anna and Maleficent/Aurora. It is refreshing to see female characters depicted as being both fragile and strong, as Anna sacrifices herself for Elsa (in Frozen) so does Maleficent present Aurora with a true loves kiss. The concept of true love was always shown as an erotic thing yet noble, between a boy and a girl / lad and lass, yet now we can see that true love can be also in the form most pure: sisterly love (between Elsa and Anna) and love for the one next to you, love for the one you saw grow, love for the one that you would think you would hate with all your might, the love for the Beastie (Aurora).
Love sometimes come to you by surprise and true love does not necessary have to be of a romantic kind. There are so many types of love, and I believe the Greeks explained it better. They had 5 different words for expressing love: from the erotic kind, to the paternal/fraternal kind to the love of mankind. Love has so many forms, and I am glad Disney saw fit to change the ending when Aurora wakes up due to the princes kiss... When Philippe kisses Aurora nothing happens, yet when Maleficent comes to her "not to beg forgiveness as what she has done could not ever be forgiven" and kisses her on the brow, Aurora wakes up :) Aurora gets healed by true loves kiss from her fairy godmother.
Critics may say that they messed up with the basic fairytale and that there is too much CGI but I believe that overall the movie is very attractive and pleasing to watch. Angelina Jolie does a remarcable job being Maleficent and the way she walks and talks and laughs makes me remember of the old animation so very much. I prefer to think though of Maleficent and Sleeping Beauty as 2 different fairytales or of 2 parallel universes where things could have been sweeter than in the original (where Maleficent is pure evil and she loves to be like that, even though we do not know her reasons...). Here I know that Maleficent has a good heart and even if evil (in this parallel universe, that would be Stefan) tries to spoil her and bring her to the dark side, she remains positive. Her heart was broken in 2 by Stefan but weirdly enough, his daughter manages to fix it back. You never choose whom you will love, the heart does not get to choose and even if the head will try to pull you away, you will always end up wanting that love. Aurora brings that love in Maleficents life and makes her remember maybe even of herself, when she was small and in love with nature and the world and its magic. 
Tell you the truth, I believe also that Angelina raises the bar in this movie, when it comes to Disney villains :)  Her smile, her eyes, her facial expressions and her cheeckbones make her perfect for this role. I admire that she wanted to do all the stunts herself and that she got so involved in this movie/in this project. Without her, I must admit that this movie may have been a flop, but as it is I very much like it and recommend it ;) I watched this movie in 3D but it is not a must ;) it could have been fine in 2D as well, but for the fighting scenes it was beneficial. And even though some may say that there was too much CGI, which is quite true, I believe it blended in nicely and it made me think a bit of Alice in Wonderland (the one with Johnny Depp and Mia Wasikowska). I still wonder upon some scenes, like the one where she gets trapped in the palace... She is all magic, and if she can change Diaval from a crow to a man to a hedgehog dragon with the snap of her finger, how come she cannot get herself free?! Oh, truly magic must be an interesting subject to have such gaps ;))) Kidding aside, go and have a look and tell me what you think, or if you already saw it, tell me what YOU thought of it :) Was it a "Must See", a "No Way" or a "Maybe" :)

Yours truly,
A LadyBug In Love With Fairytales
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