Friday, February 28, 2014

Seven years of uncondicional love

It feels so crazy, but me and D. have completed 7 years of dating yesterday. 
I found these pictures from when we were dating for a mere few months and thought I'd make some use of them... not only because of their emotional significance, but most importanly because, although it's been so much time since we took these photos, my happiness hasn't changed much from this special day.

Sure, it all has evolved from an innocent to a mature love. Through all these years, we have taught and learned with each other... to discover and get to know the best of ourselves, as well as our weaknesses and fears. And we've learned to rise strong with these... or at least, we're in that process. Together. I know I owe him a lot for accepting my mistakes and loving me for exactly the way I am. In fact, I can surely say I still love my boyfriend more than anything I could ever have. Although I always try to keep my individuality, it comes to a time when it's hard to imagine your dreams without a piece of a deeply loved one included in each one of them.

Sorry for the cheeziness,
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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Signs of Spring

As March approaches so does the time to slowly let go and reconnect ourselves with the earth. I absolutely am ready to greet Spring at my door.

The sun has been starting to gently kiss the earth from time to time. I don't think I can handle the '24/7' rain any longer! But during the last few days, even though the sky's still grey in a general manner, it's been nice to be greeted by light and winter warmth from time to time. Also, I really hate getting out of my internship at 6pm when the sun has already set. I feel like I never enjoy the days. So this afternoon as I stared to my laptop's screen and blinked at the sun's reflection on it, I decided to take a break from work and just go for a walk.

A few moments later I was snapping these pretties at the Porto Botanical Garden. I particulary love the Vinca blooms in the first two pictures, although they're not a native species. I adore the way they cover the earth, like a carpet of delicate greens, blues and violets. And there's also the azaleas, the jasmine, the narcissus, the magnolia trees... ah, the magnolia and cherry trees, decorating the sober streets with hues of pink and white! It's been really nice to watch fresh flowers blooming after a pretty wet and dark winter. It brings me so much peace.

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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sacred Moments ~ Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will

1. My beloved lanterns on top of my bedside table.
2. Drying some organic rosemary from my boyfriend's grandparents' garden...
3. ...and storing it for all kind of uses.
4. Occasional desk cleaning and organizing- or at least trying to.
5. Brainstorming on Terra Mystique's Summer collection... perhaps I'm revealing too much. ;)
6. Feeling great after some yoga practice.

Truly it's been more than a week since my last post. One of my current biggest intentions is to keep this blog updated often but I've been getting a lot on my head lately besides my internship and managing Terra Mystique. Finally had some time yesterday to settle a lil' bit down and relax, even though life doesn't stop challenging me.

A couple of weeks ago I read a notice on the opening of a community garden in my neighborhood, a partnership between my neighborhood's cooperative and the intermunicipal waste management service to help disadvantaged families and promote organic farming. I got hyped and immediately signed up for one of the 14 plots. For the next few days there were rumors of lack of interest from the community so I held high expectactions. But when me and D. arrived at the cooperative's head office for the plot draw yesterday afternoon, I gulped at the sight of the 30+ people waiting outside. At first I just thought, well, I only need to be lucky enough to be one of the first 14 names to get out of that box. Then came the rule that really screwed me up. Although the entries were open for both residents and club members of the cooperative, club members had priority over residents getting a plot. There were about 21 club members registered, so all the 14 plots were distributed between 14 members and the other 7 got into the top of the waiting list in case some people give up on the activity. I, as a mere resident without financial possibility to hold a membership status, got almost into the bottom of the list. It really makes me sick that everything in this damned world works around bureaucracy. Sure if I was a club member I'd probably feel wronged if a resident got a plot instead of me because, quoting a member who was there, "residents don't pay for this kind of privilege and would only take advantage for themselves" - which isn't entirely true because having one of those plots requires a monthly fee anyway. But besides studying landscape architecture and being a lover of all things natural and organic and earthy, this little plot would be such a helper (financially speaking). Not to mention the FREE vocational education on organic agriculture that all the 14 entrées will be having. Urgh, so jealous. I was so mad I even left the office before the session was finished.

Only a few hours later I realized, it's not worth getting upset over that which we cannot control. Only "doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will". There's no use being jealous or caring about the club members and their bought benefits; one day, I'll have my own plot and bring my own veggies and medicinal herbs, grown by myself with much love, to my own table.
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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Wanderlust Wednesday: Montalegre, Portugal (Part II)

Cows! Cows everywhere!

As hinted last week, here's the second part of my Wanderlust Wednesday session for Montalegre in northern Portugal. These photos are from the second half of the day I spent wandering this beautiful land under an academic field trip. If you haven't yet checked the first part, feel free to do so here!

Montalegre has been one of my very favourite trips ever, especially because of the amazing sceneries that suddenly change from hills of green grass fields to vast plateaus and rugged, mysterious mountains on the horizon. It really reminds me of Middle Earth, with the Shire and the Mountains of Moria making their presence at the same time.  The last part of the trip was also pretty neat- the visit to the Pitões das Júnias Monastery. Although it may not be noticeable through the pictures, the ruins of this old abandoned abbey are located in a closed valley, beside a beautiful untouched stream and surrounded by eerie woods of grey trees covered with lichens. The only way to get to the ruins is to come down the mountain along a steep and rough stone pathway through the fairytale-like forest. An amazing experience.

The ruins themselves are also pretty awesome, even though they are in risk of collapsing nowadays, which is a pity for such a magnificent monument. Please forgive the lower quality in the last few pictures, but those were taken from my old phone at the end of the day. Yes, I've taken so many pictures in one day that my camera's battery ran dry before it all ended! I loved everything about Montalegre. The sceneries, the mysticism, the traditions and the way of living... my oldest brother-in-law is there right now in a business trip and it actually makes me quite jealous! :) Moreover it seems that it's all covered in white these days. I hope I'll be able to come back to Montalegre someday soon, not only to revisit some places but also to meet some others better, like the village of Montalegre itself, the bridge of Mizarela and the Peneda-Gerês National Park! Oh well, I can always keep on dreaming...

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Valentine's Day Gift Guide

From top left and going clockwise:
Blue Heart Post Earrings: Wooden Treehouse | Mermaid nº 1 Perfume: Catbird |  We're Better Together Card: Little Low Studio | Dead Sea Bath Salts: Herbivore Botanicals (love, LOVE this shop. If only the international shipping was more accessible!) | Winnie the Pooh & Piglet Friendship Bracelets: Emery Drive | Piano Heart iPhone Case: My Little Pixels | Floral USB Record Player: Urban Outfitters | Mr. & Mrs. Always Right Mug Set: The Printed Surface | Let's Cuddle and Make Out Pillow: Rex Lambo

It's the month of romance! Although I agree there shouldn't be a specific time for people to get in the mood for love, I thought I would share a few last minute gift ideas to surprise a girlfriend, best friend, or even yourself. While Valentine's Day is not a tradition between many couples (like me and D.), who doesn't enjoy a trinket now and then, right?

Even if you're yet to find your significant other, Valentine's Day doesn't need to be dreary. In fact, it's difficult to notice what else life has to offer when we're bombarded with advertisements, romantic movies, flowers and heart-shaped decorated storefronts. This holiday has become such a marketing machine that we usually forget about the most important thing- loving ourselves! So this Valentine's Day, give yourself some credit for the amazing person you are and treat yourself to something special. Surround yourself with good smelling candles, take a relaxing bath and wear your best clothes... enjoy yourself!

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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Wanderlust Wednesday: Montalegre, Portugal (Part I)

I've been wanting to share some pictures of one of my favourite trips ever for weeks now and, even though I went to bed last night without hitting the 'publish' button, I didn't want to postpone this anymore!

I met a piece of the Barroso's lands in northern Portugal almost three years ago through an academic excursion for the agriculture subject. The purpose was to get to know the three main mountain agroecosystems of the region and their respective management, but we ended up seeing much more than that. We met the endangered Barrosã cattle, also known as Cachena cattle, the village of Paredes do Rio (images 6 to 12) and some other great places which I'll have to leave for another time.

It was a rainy April day and these pictures were taken from my old camera, so they may not express the true beauty of these lands. Still, I found the contrast between textures of the fresh green grass and the grey nude woods simply mesmerizing. As we all gazed upon the scenery in the last picture, my crazy will was to run down and up the hills with no destination. :) Ah, these photos make me nostalgic.

I'll bring the rest next week; in the meanwhile, I'll keep on brainstorming about my summer plans for Terra Mystique while I'm not too busy at my internship and hoping the rain will go away soon...

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Sunday, February 2, 2014

My January in Instagram

1. Back to my internship on a misty, damp day.
2. The most gorgeous sunset I had seen in moons (Porto city)... so pretty it didn't even need a filter.
3. Working on the Best of 2013 post with green tea and honey butter toast yumminess.
4. Very inspiring rainbow on a rainy Monday morning.
5. Misha being all cute while struggling to fit in his beloved small box.
6. Stocking up on some organic dried rosemary from my boyfriend's grandfather's yard.
7. Morning company for my stomach flu recovery.
8. Yet more Misha cuteness.
9. Designing brand new packaging for Terra Mystique orders.
10. WIP: Terra Mystique statistics for 2013. I'll make sure to share some when I'm done!
(You can follow my Instagram here)

Can't believe the first month of the new year is gone already! Yesterday I was celebrating December 31st and now I'm making a monthly balance for January. Where did the time go? 
This was a pretty wet month... It's been raining everyday since Christmas, except for a scarce couple of days (see image 2). I miss summer so much. But although super brief and a little moody, to me this first month worked as a time to spread the seeds of the year. As the end of winter draws near and new, petite lives germinate from the earth, my first goals of the year start to sprout around me. As usual my plans for Terra Mystique are immense, but I'll have to manage them along with my internship which also takes a lot of me.

Back in the beginning of the year I wrote about starting a star jar. It's been fun to dig through the day and point something great out every evening. Here's how my jar looks like at the moment.

Looking forward to the upcoming weeks! What about you; how was your first month of the year and what's your perspective for February?
(besides the fact that it's considered the month of love)

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