Monday, May 30, 2011

Mark This Book Monday: The Wess'har Wars Series by Karen Traviss!!

Monday is back again, and this time we're gonna be feeding the mind, not the tummy, so it's time for another Mark This Book Monday feature!

Today I wanna recommend I series I discovered very much by chance, and one series I'm absolutely in love with. It's science fiction and it's also a big wake up call to make us think about where were are going as humankind, and it might sound odd since I'm talking about science fiction, but it's a big reality check.

Let me introduce you to the Wess'har Wars series by Karen Traviss. Six books, with Shan Frankland as the main character. A tough as nails female Environmental Hazard (EnHaz for short) officer with a conscience and a way to do the right thing, even if it's not by the book & ends up not being pretty. The books start with her joining a mission to Cavanah's Star, to check on a bunch of human missionaries that went beyond the stars to start a new community. There are aliens, and not your little grey men type, and their politics & customs are as alien to us as ours are to them. One of them aliens are the Wess'har, a matriarchal society that as described by Shan herself "only have two states: chilled or punching". There are six books in the series, and each one is building on the consequences of the choices of the characters in the previous books.

#1.- City of Pearl
#2.- Crossing The Line
#3.- The World Before
#4.- Matriarch
#5.- Ally
#6.- Judge

One of the best things about Karen Traviss is how real her characters feel, and how much sense their choices make according to themselves, you might like or dislike them, but you can't accuse one of her characters of being two-dimensional or unbelievable. All her characters have a real human depth, and most of the type, it ain't pretty, but that's reality for you. Her vision of humankind as a whole in this books is like a slap on the face, and if it hurts, it's cause it's real. If only we learnt the lesson and stopped behaving like self-righteous & spoiled teenagers, we'll take better care of the world we live in & learn how to deal with those different from us, not better or worse, just different, in a better way than our usual one (nuke'em all!).

One short way to define this books: a study of human nature through science fiction. Also, the fact that the main character is a kick arse female, and that the more prevalent aliens are matriarchal doesn't hurt on my liking them!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday Photos: First sort-of-proper photoshoot!

Hello everything!

After having a panic attack yesterday cause I couldn't access my blog or simply log in into blogger, today, after working on paperwork and with no sleep, I had a brain wave, cleaned the cookies and here I am...

Today I want to share an example of the photography of my first sort of a photoshoot to help my friend Gema's sister. Isabel is a make up artist, and she's setting up her new shop, where she'll be doing make up and selling make up. She wanted a photo showcasing one of the looks of dramatic eye make up for her business cards and flyers and banner for her shop, and I did my best with the lack of professional equipment that we had (lights mainly). Here are my fave three shots of all the takes we did:

What do you think? Are any of them business cards worthy?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wearing Handmade Wednesday: Radically Riley's Artisan Jewelry!

Once again, this Wearing Handmade Wednesday is a look back into the past! But looking back at old photos has made me realize, I've missed showing off some really nice stuff here!

Deeksha showing off her Radically Riley's jewelled wristwatch

I got this gorgeous wristwatch for Deeksha, Gaurav's sister a few years ago from Radically Riley's Artisan Jewelry on Etsy, and it was a hit! It's a gorgeous watch, and it looked amazing with her outfit for the Indian wedding we attended! ;)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Monday Munchies: Macaroni with broccoli and tomatoes!

Monday Munchies are back! Mondays will be days to feed the tummy or the mind, so I'll keep alternating between books and recipes from now on!

Today's recipe is perfect for the warmer days ahead, it's very easy to make, very healthy and very quick! As usual, has been taken from the Spanish magazine "Easy Cooking" and translated by yours truly.

Macaroni with broccoli and tomatoes
Serves 4


- 1 small broccoli head
- 1 onion
- 1/4 kg cherry tomatoes
- 300 gr macaroni
- 80 gr grated cheese
- olive oil
- salt & pepper


- Wash the broccoli and cut the head into flowerets. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni, cook for 8 to 10 minutes until it's al dente (tender but not too much). Drain and reserve them.

- Peel and cut the onion into julienne. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan and saute the onion for about 8 minutes, till it starts to brown. Add salt and pepper, then the broccoli and saute 2 more minutes.

- Wash the cherry tomatoes and cut them in half. Add them to the onion and broccoli and saute for about 3-4 more minutes. Add half a glass of water and a pinch of salt. Cover and let boil for 5 or 6 minutes, till all the juices are gone.

- Mix the veggies with the pasta. Mix well, add a drizzle of olive oil. Serve sprinkled with the grated cheese.

- Enjoy!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Feature Friday: Kait Emerson Designs!!!

Friday, sunny Friday...

After a 3 hour nap in the morning, a yummy lunch and deciding whether I should have tea or coffee to finally wake up (night shifts tend to mess with sleep patterns), here I am looking out the window at the sunny day (although I see a few darker rainy clouds coming), all ready to share with you a wonderful designer I should have featured quite a while ago!

Kait Emerson Designs' Etsy shop has been one of my favourites shops to buy clothes for Gaurav's nieces, and as such both the girls have a few pieces each from that shop. Great versatile designs that fit well and in really gorgeous fabrics! I've always been a bit jealous of the super cute & stylish dresses & tops I was getting the girls, and wished that Feanna, the lady behind Kate Emerson Designs, also made adult sizes.

Well, low & behold, I mustn't have been the only one wishing, cause this winter, she released a spring collection for teens & women! She's currently offering a shirred top in different fabrics, that can also be made into a dress length, and a super cute skirt! As soon as I saw the top in one of my fave fabrics that she has in her shop, I knew I had to get one! Feanna was adamant on getting the top made perfectly for me, and she managed to ship it in time so I could take the top with me on my latest trip to India (and our vacation to Goa & the beach there!).

It reached in time, was packaged into my suitcase, and I loved wearing it around in Goa! The fabric is just gorgeous, it fits great (though I'm thinking I might have wanted the shirred part of the top more empire waist, but that's my own doing when Feanna asked for measurements) and it looks great with jeans!

What can I say, I love my Kait Emerson Design top, and I'm really glad she has finally started offering clothes for women! Do check her Etsy shop, you are sure to find something you'll like, either for yourself or little ones, and if you are in California, check around cause she tends to be part of many craft shows & markets around her area!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wearing Handmade Wednesday: Cotton And Cloud!!

Wearing Handmade Wednesday has arrived, and one more week it's been rescued from the folder of old pictures!

I keep on having to check my back up HDD for photos, cause I have been seriously lacking in the photo department, but I do hope it'll get better soon!

In good old cold Wisconsin wearing my reversible Cotton And Cloud fingerless gloves!

The super cute fingerless gloves were made by the talented & awfully nice Kyoko of Cotton And Cloud! I have already featured Cotton And Cloud here, but I don't think I got to show off these gloves, they're so cute I had to get some as presents for my friends too! ;) She used to sell on Etsy, but right now she's only selling from her website's shop, and she's mostly selling her own patterns, materials and unique Japanese craft books, although she also sells some of her handmade product though only purses and bags, no gloves or shawls. Which means, her shop is a must stop for knitters & crocheters, and a place to wish we could knit &/or crochet to those of us that can't! ;)

And don't forget to check out her blog too, she posts all sorts of tricks, free patterns and general kitty cuteness!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mark This Book Monday: Souther Vampires aka Sookie Stackhouse aka True Blood series

Another Monday has arrived, to start a fresh week, and with it brings yet another bookish recommendation by yours truly.

This series might be better know than the one I suggested last week, since it's been turned into a HBO show, and yes, it's yet another series of books about vampires (the usual spelling this time, though).

The Southern Vampire series also known as the Sookie Stackhouse series or the True Blood series, since that's how the show was named (after the drink that changed it all, True Blood, the more common brand of synthetic blood manufactured by the Japanese).

These books are also a long series, they are supposed to be 13 books(but that's unconfirmed), and so far we are on the 11th, if I'm not mistaken. Here's the list of all the books available to this date (and yes, you might notice a certain theme to the titles):

1.- Dead Until Dark
2.- Living Dead In Dallas
3.- Club Dead
4.- Dead To The World
5.- Dead As A Doornail
6.- Definitely Dead
7.- All Together Dead
8.- From Dead To Worse
9.- Dead And Gone
10.- Dead In The Family
11.- Dead Reckoning

They are adult books, with violence & sex, with vampires, werewolves, were animals and even fairies, but none of them are particularly nice, fluffy furry friends or sprinkling fairy dust around. They're monsters & human, and humans that are worse than the monsters. There's comedy, there's drama, there's romance... a little bit of everything.

And of course, there's Eric Northman, the one thousand years old, gorgeous and flying Viking vampire. My favourite book so far from the whole series has to be "Dead To The World" cause Eric loses his memory and acts like a mix of a lost puppy & a traditional Viking warrior, and let me tell you, that's quite a combination!

These books are fast to read, quite addictive and also, as the story progresses they get a bit more tangled & complicated in the supernatural side of it, you just don't know what's gonna pop out of the fairy tales to become real, and the vampire politics get more and more complicated. Right now I'm reading the 12th book, "Dead Reckoning" on my phone with this handy app called Aldiko (recommended if you have an android phone and want to read on the go), and just by being on chapter 3 I'm already wondering what new big twist is gonna be thrown at the telepathic bartender!

As far as the show & books compared... I have to say I am disappointed in the show, they have changed so many things from the books, and have omitted quite another bunch... so I'd recommend you watch as much as the show first and then read the books, I enjoyed Season 1 quite more cause I hadn't read any of the books yet, I just have been disappointed after wards. Would you guess the only reason I still watch the show? If you are thinking about the Viking vampire, you are right, cause I have to give the True Blood people something, they did cast the right Eric, for sure!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Photos for a Friday: A Trip To Goa!

Hello my dears!

After Blogger's hiccups since yesterday, I'm doing a short & sweet post showing off some photos from our last trip to the beachy Goa on my last trip to India to visit G.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wearing Handmade Wednesday: Sugar Doll!!

Hello everyone!

Today's Wearing Handmade Wednesday is a bit later than usually, I was almost ready to give up on it, cause I had no recent photos to show off some of the stuff I have and want to show off to you people, and I really lacked the motivation to get ready and snap shots of myself, so what to do? Dig up in old folders and see if I can find any older photos of anything I haven't shown off yet, and bingo! I found this shot!

Awww, aren't we such a pair of lovebirds? And, ain't my Sugar Doll bikini cute?

There aren't that many photos of me wearing a bikini, but I do own a few. This shot was taken during a weekend trip to Neemrana in Rajasthan with a couple of friends. We couldn't resist the awesome pool and took a dip at nightfall, luckily I had packed my Sugar Doll bikini, just in case! Sugar Doll bikinis are very cute, flirty and above all, very well made! Shay, the lady behind Sugar Doll, is always designing new bikinis & lingerie, and she's a real doll herself! Just a word of warning, her designs are not for the weak of heart! ;)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mark This Book Monday: House of Night Series!

New week, new day and new book(s) recommendation!

There's nothing like reading to learn, to have fun & laugh, to cry and to take you on fantastic journeys to faraway lands, real or not!

The House of Night series are a young adults series, and that should be a given since the main character is teenage girl, learning how to be a vampyre in the House of Night (aka Vampyre High).
And in case you are wondering, yes, the different spelling of the world vampyre is totally intentional. These are books about vampires, so if you are not keen on talks about night crawling, fangs and blood, these are not the books for you.

Vampires, young adult series... no, this is nothing like Twilight. Hey, I liked the Twilight books, I've watched all the movies so far, and will watch the two that are left, but I consider Twilight my guilty pleasure. These books are different, they do portray vampyres & vampyre society in a very different way than other vampires series (like the Southern Vampires series aka True Blood), and one point that made me fall in love with the general idea behind this books: vampyres are a matriarchal society! Also, the female main character(s) (and not in the lady in distress kinda way) and a fast writing style that makes you read two books in one night (true story, I did!).

The series start with Zoey Redbird, a teenager whose bigger problem is her geometry exam and her boyfriend's tendency to overindulge in binge drinking, till she is Marked as a vampyre. Biggest difference from any other vampire book out there, the possibility of being a vampyre is latent in all humans, as part of some junk DNA strand, but it's only triggered in some humans during the crazy hormone revolution that is puberty. Vampyre Trackers can find those humans and mark them as fledglings or vampyres to be, if they live through the 4 years that the Change into vampyres take, and not all of them make it. No biting to death and blaming your maker for it. In the House of Night series, vampyres are part of the world and accepted (more or less) by society, and once a human teenager is marked as a fledgling, they have to leave for their nearest House of Night for protection & training & education, but just like in any other boarding school, they can keep in touch with their families and friends if so they wish.

Zoey is part Cherokee on her mother side, and one of my fave characters in the books is her Grandma, Sylvia Redbird, a wonderful medicine woman, and the only real family that Zoey can relate to. There are lots of Cherokee mythology references during the books, as well as many pagan & Wiccan & even Celtic ones in later books, and that definitely increases my enjoyment of this series, I'm really fond of pagan mythology for an atheist! As with all books, there's a fight of Good & Bad, Light & Dark, and not only as opposing forces, but also as part of ourselves, and how our choices make us what we are, and that is valuable lesson we all should be reminded of now and then.

There are 8 books so far: Marked, Betrayed, Chosen, Untamed, Hunted, Tempted, Burned & Awakened. According to the Wikipedia page (if you want more info about the books, go there, very complete!) there are a total of 12 planned, the next being Destined, due in November 2011, and I for one, can't wait!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Saturday Song: Sucker Punch Soundtrack!

Hello my dears!

Yesterday I missed my Feature Friday, but my excuse is that I spent most of the day sleeping after working Thursday night shift, and having to work night shift again.

So to make up for it, I'm leaving you with a song from the soundtrack of Sucker Punch, since I've been pretty obsessed with the music from that movie since I saw it with the bf.

Without further ado, "Where Is My Mind?"!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wearing Handmade Wednesday: Plum Pretty Sugar Loungerie!!

Another Wednesday has rolled by, and with it, it's time for another instance of Wearing Handmade Wednesday!

This week I'm showing off yet another gorgeous piece of an indie clothing company I'm completely in love with, and that I've already featured in the blog: Plum Pretty Sugar Loungerie!

I already showed off my Pink Love Poppy Kimono here, and after it came the set of tank & PJ pants, and two dresses, one of them in my very new favourite fabric from her entire shop, not only so much for the print, but for the feel of it, Habutai silk is an absolute luxury!

My gorgeous tunic dress in Silk Road Sweet

Now, I can't wait to get me another tunic dress, this time in Pink Love Poppy, and a tank in this gorgeous Habutai Silk fabric!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Mark This Book Monday: The Ancient Guide To Modern Life

Monday is here, and to fight the Monday Blues, nothing like launching a new feature for the blog! I've been meaning to starting writing reviews and recommendations for books, since I'm a proper crazy bookworm, but I've been stumped by what name to give it!

Finally yesterday, it hit me, and that's how Mark This Book Monday was born!

For the first instance of this new feature, I wanted to talk about a new favourite that I discovered by chance in my usual book selling website: The Book Depository, "The Ancient Guide To Modern Life" by Natalie Haynes.

I've always loved history in school, and I really wanted to study archeology for while in HS, but of course, in the end I went back to my childhood desire of becoming a nurse. But my passion for history has been with me since then, and Ancient History is my favourite period, may it be Persia, Sumeria, Egypt, Hindu civilization, Aztecs, Mayans or Green & Rome! This book focuses on them both, the Occidental main civilizations and the foundations of the civilized world we have now.

By telling stories about the ancient world, Natalie Haynes shows us the parallelisms between back then and now, and also tries to make us see how history keep repeating itself, so paying attention to the past, can teach us lessons for the present and future, and can also entertain us!

This is a book that I would highly recommend for everyone that loves history, and for those that need to look at history in different light and learn to appreciate it, I'd recommend it too!