February 2012 Gratitude List

Photo: Internet

My February started full of question marks, but it will end with a neatly done gratitude list. Spread the love!

Thank you, February, for:
1. Cirque du Soleil in Sofia LIVE! - Saltimbanco - Check! ;)
2. Turkish restaurants - where food is taken great care of, and customers gladly take care of food in turn.
3. My thoughtful boyfriend - you really rock my world!
4. The first rays of spring sunshine, taking the winter blues away, far away...
5. A friend who was sick, but recovered just recently - Moral of the story: spread love any given time, because life is fast when it comes to taking, and slow when it has to give.
6. Divas&Dreams blog by Christina Greve, being my new favorite thing to hit on as soon as I have a spare minute. Christina has an amazing personality and sunny spirit, and I love reading her tips on photography and life as a whole.
7. Babies, for they make the cutest faces on baby birthday parties - fill my heart with joy! And their mommies for inviting me and saving me some of the cake ;))))))
8. Pamporovo, for it welcomed me for the first time with its ticklish sunshine, clear blue skies, and head-high snow. Keep my fingers crossed we go there one more time this season...
9. I thank Tuesdays, for new episodes of Gossip Girl, or should I say I thank Gossip Girl for stress-free Tuesday nights on the sofa, especially in Champions' League season
10. Yoli - for sharing the easiest and most delicious recipes anytime I need one ;)
11. I am thankful for all of you who follow this blog, even when I am not posting that regularly. Thank you!
12. Last but not least, I am extraordinary thankful to the good people who found my favorite fluffy purple scarf and returned it to these other good people who kept it with them for a couple of days until I came back to look for it! You see, spontaneous good acts actually DO make a difference in this world! :))))))))

February's new dish: Carrot cookies with coconut

This month I decided to experiment with carrots. I also made a carrot cake but I think the recipe still could be improved, so I am going to find another variety, before I make a blog post about it.
Ta-daam! I found this super easy recipe for carrot cookies. You probably have all you need already, and if not, all the ingredients could be found at any supermarket around. These cookies turned out really delicious, and what is great about them is that carrots are actually good for you! (just don't overeat) ;)))))

RECIPE for Carrot cookies with coconut:

    4 big carrots
    100g melted butter
    3 t.sp. oil
    1 cup of sugar
    1 egg
    1 vanilla
    1 sp. mix of spices - cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg
    1/2 cup coconut flakes
    2 cups flour
    1 sp. baking powder

For the glaze:
    juice from 1 small mandarin
    2-3 t.sp. powder sugar


1. We clean and wash the carrots and then we cut them into rings. We cook them in hot water until they feel tender enough to be mashed. We cool them down with cold water, and then mash them finely with a fork or potato press.
2. After that, we take a bowl and mix the egg with sugar. Pour butter and oil and add the carrot puree. Season the mixture with the spice mix, vanilla and salt.
3. Pour the coconut and mix. Finally, add the flour previously sifted with the baking powder. In order to prepare the whole recipe you don't need to use a mixer. Domestic stirrer or spoon would do great.
4. Finally, we cover the tray with baking paper, and we use a spoon to make small piles of the mixture on it, having in mind we need to leave enough space between them so they don't touch each other. 

5. The recipe instructed to bake the cookies in preheated 170 * oven for 10-15 minutes or until nicely golden, but in my oven it actually took a little longer, so I guess you have to just look for the golden crown.
6. To prepare the glaze, you need to mix the mandarin juice with the powdered sugar. You need to determine the density by your own taste, so you could add juice or sugar as you please. The glaze should be good spill, but still remained on the surface. Mine actually went down the cookie, but still did its magic.
7. It would be best if you pour the glaze while the cookies are still warm so it dries much faster.
You can garnish with fresh shavings of fresh carrots and sprinkle with a little powdered sugar. 

 Source: Yoli (рецепта на български език)

I encourage you to try these at home and share with friends and family. I hope you like it!
February down, ten more to go! :D

 Nikon D60, 18-55mm.

Bye-bye now snowy winter!

I know it's been a really snowy winter this year, but wasn't it beautiful? Even though it's snowing a bit some of those days as well, I think it's winter's way of saying goodbye. It's a soft powdering with the last crystal snowflakes left in stock up there.
 Let's say goodbye with a smile, and little by little remove all the knitted scarves and hats, thick coats, and warm boots. Well, maybe leave one of each just in case...;)


Nikon D700, 50mm.

Families in B&W

As every beginner photographer I went through the vivid-color phase first. I loved it, I still do. But as conservative as I am with things I like, I like to change my game every now and then. I started thinking of black and whites. They are so much powerful than everything else. This is why I have decided to learn and make stunning B&Ws in 2012, and yes, in order to be more disciplined I included it in the 2012 Resolutions list.

I found out I love black and whites for family portraits. It makes it easier to see the resemblance between the parents and the child. I like the fact that black and white will always be in fashion, and it also puts the emphasis on the emotion, rather than on the setting and attire. Furthermore, if you have a background that is not as pretty as you'd wished, it simply doesn't matter when you make the conversion. And sometimes, it could emphasize things in the background even more, if desired. It's all up to you and your idea. Here's a couple of brand new B&Ws with a certain amount of haze on. I like the tenderness it adds to the contrast ;)

Nikon D700, 50mm.

Tsveti's 1st birthday

Tsveti's mommy has been one of my closest friends like forever. I remember playing with her even before we went to kindergarten together. It's amazing how childhood friendships, if they last long enough, they could sometimes last forever.

Last week was Tsveti's first birthday party and I was so happy to be there to capture it all. I've heard many stories of babies' first birthdays and mommies saying "Never again!" after a party or two...So far I've shot a couple of these and I found them so much fun I cannot believe someone could be terrified of it. Anyway, different babies, different parties I guess ;)
On Tsveti's first birthday I met so many cute little creatures, it made me wanna be their age and act all cute and funny, you know :)))))) Here's just a few of my shots that day.
And who knows, maybe someday I'll get to shoot Tsveti's babies first birthdays :))))

 Photo above: Gabi Syarova

 Nikon D700, 50mm.

Happy birthday, Stefcho!

You know the friend who stands out in a crowd not just because he is the tallest guy around, but more because he has the biggest smile on? Yeah, the guy who tells a funny joke, and a dirty joke, both with equally great success? The guy who follows every game of FC Levski Sofia be it live or online. Of course, you'll never see him wear a red shirt...
 The friend who plans the best (road) trips that turn into happy memories! Oh, well, and only a few days later you see photos of you sleeping in a bus/car/boat/plane/train/younameit, uploaded on facebook :D (so glad he stopped that! =D)
This guy, who worships milk chocolate and his girlfriend, maybe just as much as I do, is one of the best people I have ever met, not just in college, but in life.

Very merry happy birthday to you, Stefcho, full of lovely moments and heartwarming-wishes! Big presents, too! :D
Sending you both kisses and hugs and cannot wait to see you! =)))))))))))))

Valentine's is just a day...

I wrote 6 different texts in this post and I deleted all of them as soon as I finished them. It was never good enough, or clear enough, or descriptive enough, or even original. If someone could define Love, please be my guest! Today I find it impossible to put it into words, but surprisingly easy to express non-verbally ;)

I am a happy person, because I love and feel loved back not just by the most amazing man in my life, but also my family, friends, and all the random people I meet now and then. Love does not have to fit into anything - not a shape, nor color, not even a song. Don't try to control it and set it's boundaries, because it's nothing like it.
 Just enjoy and give back to the people who loved you in the first place. Do it in your own way, and it would be appreciated even greater than a mirrored gesture of oneself.

Well, we celebrated one day early, and not just because today it would be physically impossible, but also because we both believe Valentine's is just a day, and Love is always.

Valentine's day was never a big thing in the past, so we decided to exchange cards just to have as a memory to look back to someday. But did I mention I have the most thoughtful man by my side? He booked a restaurant I wanted to go to for some time now, and I never thought he did, so he nailed it with the first surprise. When we got home after dinner he gave me a red card labeled "To my gorgeous girlfriend", accompanied with a block of orange-flavored dark chocolate, and I felt like jumping up and down with excitement, even though I knew something like this was coming up at some point.  I know, I know, but I looove surprises =))))) The last part of his surprise list he kept for the morning when he was already out. We're splitting the two-part keyring as soon as he comes back, and then you know - two halves make a whole :)))))

My gift to him has something to do with photography, but too personal to share here. Next year I'll probably give some ideas the week before, so you could make something unique for a loved one yourself, just like I did. I'll just show a sneak peak of this super cool frame I found at the photo store in the neighborhood that I instantly fell in love with. The photograph that made it to be in the frame is the one that is the most favorite photo of our friends on facebook, hitting the like button more than 130 times. Haaalla!

Last but not least, I want to say HAPPY BIRHTDAY!!! to all my friends who were born today! :)))))))

Don't forget:  Valentine's is just a day, and Love is always!

 Camera: Nokia E72

Saltimbanco in Sofia LIVE!

If you read my previous post you should already have one thing figured out - I am a Cirque du Soleil ardent follower. And I intend to stay that way :))))

Last night's show was fantastic. Like always. It was colorful, full of joy, dances, jokes, greatly interactive with the audience, music was magical, and last but not least, after seeing four different shows of theirs, most of the acts were new to me!

Saltimbanco from the Italian "saltare in banco", literally means "to jump on a bench", as explained on their website. I am totatly in love with the music of the show, since I was all over goose-bumps as of the introduction of it till the end. I understand many people do not feel for it the same way, but I have entirely opened myself to this work of art and it is taking over me every single time. Every.Single.Time.

 I did a quick top 3 list of the acts I enjoyed the most :) :
1. Duo trapezze - incredible act of two girls performing aerial acrobatics in a swing high above the scene, literally raised my adrenaline for a while.
2. The Russian Swing - I thought it was amusing, and I shouldn't say more so the ones who didn't see it yet, could be amused themselves ;)
3. The third place in my personal list of favorites is hard to split between two unique acts - the Chinese Poles and the Bungees -  both acts talk about highly professional teamwork and trust..Enjoy!

You can get a taste of the music here. The rest is magic waiting to be discovered by you.

    Photo above: M. Tsonev

Nikon D60, 18-55mm.

Farewell, Cirque du Soleil  =))))))))))))

Cirque du Soleil! Yaaay! Yaaaaaaay!

Yes! It is today! I've been waiting a while but not that long really, for Cirque du Soleil to put a foot downtown Sofia. So excited, really! I have been jumping and singing silly songs all week, making my own lyrics, and of course they were about this special for me event. The show we're about to see tonight is called Saltimbanco.

I fell in love with Cirque du Soleil, when it was only a virtual idea in my head. It was in prof. Miree's HR class that we had a case on their salaries and benefits. And then she played a video so we could see what is this circus thing like. I mean, circus like circus you know. But NO! No, no, no. It was a few minutes later towards the end of that video that I knew it was Love. You know, with my heart.
It was around that time that I started dreaming I would one day go and see their show in person. And it was really the dreamy talk in the undefined future, and just less than a year away (oh how little did I know about life).

The first show of Cirque du Soleil that I saw in London with my best friend Stella was called Quidam. This was on the 6th of February, 2009. And oh my, was I excited. The show was a blast! And I don't know if you could imagine how happy I really was. I even have a photo on the show's truck :D

So far so good, but not exactly. I traveled to Dubai in the end of March that same year, literally 6 weeks later, and I read that they are hosting Alegria, for the same period of my stay! Imagine my face in that precious moment. And Alegria was actually the show that made me fall for it. This day holds a special place in my heart, just like the first one :)))

Before you make any excited conclusions about me and my loves, let me tell you one last story. I visited Las Vegas exactly a month later, and it was for work again. I don't know if you are familiar, but Vegas has a thing for shows, places to entertain people, to let them lose some money, or sometimes to win just a little to feel lucky. It has everything you need, or don't. And it also offers more than one Cirque du Soleil ways to keep you excited. All of them as different as they could be. But we chose KA. It's based on marshal arts, and honestly it was quite different than a normal circus and what I've seen so far. I will not say more, go see for yourself if you wish. If I go back there I would definitely love to see the O show, which is a water-based show. I believe it is amazing! :))))

I had so many people calling me to let me know my favorite circus is coming to town. I am so thankful to everyone :))))) and I am really curious to see what would people who have never seen their shows before think about it, so please call me again after! :)))))))

I am counting hours before tonight's show. I am going with my family and I am looking forward to enjoying it all.
Sending my love around the internet, because I am happy like that!

QUIDAM @ London, February 2009

ALEGRIA @ Dubai, March 2009

KA @ Las Vegas, April 2009

Photos: Personal archive

Some of the shows are touring all the time, others are residing in places like Las Vegas. I strongly encourage you when you get to travel abroad, to take a look at their website and check if they have a show in town. It does make a difference to a trip whenever, wherever ;)))