Unlocking Malaga: The Biggest City From Costa Del Sol

Situated in southern Spain, Malaga is a port city located on Costa Del Sol, the coast of sun and the name is well deserved. Filled with plenty of old buildings, the Spanish spirit, and the amazing Mediterranean water, it is one of the places that should go on anyone’s bucket list.

If you ever wondered where the story’s with the rich people that go to live in Spain after retirement came from, you need to walk the streets of Malaga. The relaxed atmosphere, the smiling people and the great food, all come together in this amazing place. There is no better place to start your day than on La Malagueta beach, if you are lucky during the weekends you will also see the vendor’s tents filled with lost of souvenirs that you can buy.

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Being a rather small town, everything is within walking distance, so make sure you put on the correct shoes. A couple of must-see attractions are Malaga Cathedral where you should consider climbing to the rooftop, the view is amazing, Alcazaba and Castillo de Gibralfaro, if you are passionate about history. The botanic garden is also a nice place to spend a few hours, but to get there you will need to take the bus and walk for around 15 to 20 minutes. The Picasso Museum is also a very nice attraction, personally don’t really like his style but the museum will also tell you his life story and what made him paint and draw each piece of art. Sunday afternoon all museums entry’s are free, so plan your vacation wisely if you want to save some cents.

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If you have a full day you should consider visiting Gibraltar since it’s at a 3 hours bus ride away and you will get to see all the places from Costa del Sol and also get a glimpse at Africa from the Rock of Gibraltar. The town’s center is a nice place to see and eat since it you will see the influence of Marco, England, and Spain.

Leaving aside the major attractions, Malaga is the place you want to go when you want to relax, drink an amazing glass of Malaga Sangria and eat a traditional paella. If you are lucky enough you will see flamenco shows on the streets or hear traditional music in the city center. There is something in the air there, that will make you relax and dream of retirement when all of the mundane issues will be gone and the only decision you have to make is where to grab a cup of coffee.

For us being able to enjoy Spain’s beauty without having to deal with the huge amount of tourists made this place a special one. If I were to choose a place to live in when I am sixty Malaga is the first on the list. As for those of you who plan a vacation here, leave all the problems at the departure airport and enjoy the traditional beauty and relaxation of the Spanish land.

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How Much It Costs You To Be Nice?

Today as I walked down the street to my favorite coffee place I looked around and I saw a lot of unhappy people rushing to work, with a long face and a get out of my way look. We are so sucked into our own drama that we forget to smile and enjoy life. How much does a smile cost or a decent behavior in the world where everything has a price?

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I got to the bar at the same time as a different girl that almost screamed at the bartender that she was first and demanded to be served immediately since she is in a hurry, after giving the orders she returned to her phone only to lift the eyes when the coffee was ready. After she left I smiled at the bartender and kindly asked him for my latte, we chatted for 5 minutes and left the coffee shop with a positive vibe. I am not judging the girl in front of me, since I was her so many times, yet it gave me such a good feeling to chitchat with someone random about the weather and it costed me nothing at all.

In the morning when I go to the office and meet the cleaning lady in the hallway I chat with her for a few minutes, I ask her about her kids and what she did in her free time. My problems and tasks can wait for 5 minutes, they will still be there. It’s not even about being nice, it’s about acting human. If there is something that I hate that is people how look down on other just because they think they are entitle to more.

Acting nice, offering a smile and making small talk can make a huge impact on the way people react to you. What you put out there is what you will receive back. It costs you absolutely nothing to act like a grownup and to be polite. Even the saddest or the angriest person can respond in a pleasant way when presented with kindness and a smile. As for a trick that you can use for a change of attitude, make that person a compliment, you will see the surprised look, followed by the joy of being faltered, the only key is to be genuine. Give it a try, it’s free! 😉

Are We All Just Another Brick In The Wall?

Today as I stumble upon some very old songs, I remember the rebel that I used to be as a teenager. The dreams that I had and the fact that I always thought I would do something great by the time I was 30. Yet here I am, living an ordinary life, running the rat race and wasting my years working for others. Have I become another brick in the wall?

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When I was fifteenth there was a South American soap opera show extremely popular among our generation called Rebelde Way. The story was about 4 kids in a private school that were rebelling against the rules imposed by the teachers, parents and the world. Those who know the show most likely had a favorite, mine was Maritzza with her red hair, hot temper, always having an opinion and living by her own standards.

If in high school I was still that person, as years went by I further away from that attitude, life happened and I had to become the responsible one, the mature one. Even the rule of never telling a lie was bent, not only for white lies, probably the worst was when I lied to myself. I am an adult now and I have to behave like one, I have to accept that I will never do anything great, I will not be able to change the word or make a huge difference. Or shouldn’t I?

We are thought that we need to fit in, we need to go to work, to make money, to buy a house or to afford a rent, a car, a new phone every year, the latest fashion, go out eating in fancy places, have a vacation, post an amazing photo on Facebook or Instagram. Not only that we have similar lives, but now we even try to look the same, I might have 5 Kim Kardashians look alike on my Instagram feed at this moment, there is even a kit to make your face like theirs and more and more people are having surgeries to achieve this goal.

As we align ourselves and we do the same things over and over again, we are resembling the communist parades, yet we are doing this voluntarily when we are caring designers bags, fancy car logos, famous destinations pictures. Even the idea of traveling the world has changed, we no longer go to the Eiffel Tour to enjoy the view, but to fight with thousands of other tourists to take that profile material photo.

Our world has changed our inner rebel by reducing him to silence and now he is doing paperwork in a dull office, where the clean desk policy doesn’t allow him to have a flower on his desk or colors, it has to look clean and tidy, just as his life. We go home and we start living when we play a video game or watch an amazing TV show, we dream about being Deaneries and riding our own dragon, when in real life we say yes Sir when our boss does us an injustice.

But do we really have to be these persons? Do we really need to fit in? Do we have to run the rat race? Or are we a brick by choice? Making a difference for the complete planet can be an impossible goal to set, but making one for a few persons isn’t. There are a lot of places where an impact can be made, yet we are too caught up in our lives to notice them. Every day we pass by something or someone that needs our help, but we are oblivious to it, because we don’t observe the decor anymore.

Feed a homeless person without judging him, adopt a stray animal even if it’s not a pure bread, plant a tree, buy flowers and give them away to random people, volunteer for a good cause, forgive and forget, careless of what other people think, stop the competition, go against the tide. Those are all on my list for the following period, some I’ve already done, yet there is still a lot more to do.

Never forget that great things never came from those who followed the society’s rules, maybe that amazing thing to do in life isn’t that impossible to achieve after all. In the end, who establishes what is great and what is not?

10 Years In Review

This month I have to change my driver’s license since it expires in a few weeks. Going back in time, I remember that 10 years ago, in April I failed the driver’s license exam and I felt like the biggest failure, it hit me so hard that I still remember the walk of shame I had to make to get my papers. Back then there were 2 exams, a theoretical one and a practical one, I failed the first. A police officer came in front of the building and shout the name of the ones that failed and had to go and take the documents in order to retake the exam. That was one of the hardest things I had to do and to this day remains the biggest failure.

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Some events will never be completely whipped out of your memory no matter what you do, but if I were able to give my 18year old self an advice it would be to stop warring. The same advice I would give present me, for that matter, and most likely the advice I will have to give to future me. Unfortunately, you cannot relive the past to be confident things will be OK, you cannot know the outcome of the future, yet we struggle to do our best given the circumstances. I passed the exam in the next round, got my drivers license and put that event passed me.

10 years seemed to have passed in a second and looking at the picture of the very blonde high-school girl, that was skinny as hell yet extremely sub-concision of her weight, I wonder if in 10 years I will look the same way at the present me, asking myself what was my problem. I believe the experience the most dramatic changes in the time between teenage years and late twenties. We learn how to fly and how it feels when you fall, you learn how to be independent and how to lift yourself up when there is none around to do it. You get your first job and your first real break-up. You go to college or you pick up crappy summer jobs or both. You fall in love hard and get deceived. You go to the sea and throw yourself in the waves like a mermaid. You get your first hangover and you swear never to do it again, yet you forget about the promise as soon as the headache goes away.

You become an adult and you start sounding old when you say you miss the old days, old friends and summer breaks. But overall in this 10 years, you say goodbye to childhood and say hello to adulthood, even if it gets hard sometimes, you are independent and I would never trade this. Yet in our soles we all should try to remain, kids, playing, sometimes winning sometimes losing in life.

As the last id that had my 18 years old face on it got thrown away, I realize how much I have accomplished in these 10 years. Hope the years to come will be just as good. The best is yet to come.

The Royal Weeding Euphoria and Why You Should Not Follow Meghan’s Example

If you are here waiting for me to start saying ugly stuff about the weeding and the grooms you are in the wrong place. I love Meghan, ever since I saw her in Suits I couldn’t help myself but adore her, she is beautiful, smart and talented. Last week she left everyone stoned by her gracious presence when she wore a simple dress and a light make-up.  She is a great model on so many levels, but one, the relationship model where she had to give it all up to merry into the royal family.

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The idea of the savior that comes and rescues the girl, takes her to his castle and makes her a princess, looks good in fairy-tales, yet not sure about the real life. The wedding was a trendsetter and they somehow became role-models for lots of people, but there is a hidden danger there, the idea that is OK to give up on everything for your loved one.

As romantic as this might sound, it is NOT OK to forget who you really are and to lose your identity for your significant other, no matter who he is. Clearly, in Meghan’s case, she knew what she was getting into, yet there might be a lot of other people who will mistake the definition of love for the definition of royalty. It surprises me that from all of the people, Meghan a declared feminist was to give up her career to stand by Henry.

Getting back to the not so famous or royal people we should all take note that this romantic idea that you should give up everything to be with your man/woman is not a smart one. Indeed we all have to make compromises when it comes to relationships, but it should be bilateral and should not include a complete makeover of one’s life. When we are in love we have the tenancy to give up on everything just to make the other person happy, yet as the partnership matures we realize that it is not that easy to change who you are. This is the way frustration and hate are settled.

Even the strongest of us are tempted by the idea, I know for sure I was once. A few years ago I met this really nice guy that wasn’t much of a party animal. He likes to stay in the house, watch movies and read, never went out, never drink, on a strict diet, not as outspoken as I was and clearly disagreeing with my manner of dressing. Yet I was ready to give it all up to be with him. The relation didn’t work out from a couple of other reasons, but today I am happy it didn’t since it was doomed from the beginning. Maybe I would’ve been able to change for a while, but not for long and since he wanted to change me, it was certain that he didn’t want me for who I really was.

Meghan and Kate are unique in their way and we need to keep in mind that being called duchess comes at a huge price. One that in my opinion none should pay, yet there are a lot of volunteers that are willing to do it and maybe for them, it comes natural, who knows. For me, a cage is a cage no matter the material. Love should be given unconditionally and since you are given a single life you should not pretend to be someone that you are not, just to fit it. More importantly, the person standing next to you should never ask you to change and should love you the way you are.

Brands: Quality With A Trademark, Or Just A Fancy Logo?

Being in the Quality Assurance business it’s my job to look for flows, whether that is in the code, the websites or in other industry’s. When it comes to perfection the famous brands seem to be always the answer, but is it like this or is it just perfect marketing?

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The commercials will always want to falter you, to play your ego and tell you that buying an exclusive product will make you part of a special group. The most aggressive ones are for cars or luxury watches, but even the common brands want you to feel “special”.  Clearly buying an item will not make you any different than you are, but is there a small piece of truth behind these campaigns?

If I learned anything over the years is that a big price doesn’t guarantee you the quality, but the small price will definitely give you no quality at all. So this takes us to the big brands that advertise the perfection for their items. I am a declared fan of a few of them since it proved that their items pass the time test. One of those brands is Tiffany’s, I truly believe that when it comes to jewelry they are one of the best, clearly at a huge price.

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For electronics I love Apple, I know that some people find them expensive and less efficient, but for me, these proved to be sustainable. Since I don’t change my phone, laptop or tablet based on the latest release, but on the fact that the old one broke, I found that you use them for a very long time. To give an example, I had the iPad 2 since 2012 and it’s still working, also my MacBook Air is from 2014 and it’s still doing its job very well.

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Another big brand that I am a fan of is the UGG and their famous classic boots, I know the story behind it is now a pretty one and even though they sell their boots as Australian ones, they are made in China, the product does come with a special quality: comfort! So during the winter, I love the casual look the UGG’s are giving me. Yet I fantasize about buying the real deal from an Australian shop.

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There are other brands that I fancy like Burberry and their pattern, Jimmy Choo and the golden sandals, Christian Louboutin and the So Kate black stiletto and the list could go on for days. Yet I don’t rush into those stores and buy their products because I am not 100% sure they are worth the price. When you are paying for things with the precious years of your youth, it becomes clear that sometimes you need to think twice before handing over the credit card.

One question still haunts me, are all the famous brands worth their money? Or are we brainwashed into spending it all to have the trademark on us? They say an item will cost as much as someone is willing to pay for it. That story might be very true when it comes to diamonds, but I don’t own any, so I don’t want to have an opinion of this. Yet I do love a lot of things that come with a fancy label and I keep on wondering if I am looking for perfection in the wrong places.

All the big designers or brands started small so I think it’s best to look for the perfection of the items ignoring the label and focus on the quality of the materials and if these can pass the test of time. You might be surprised of the variety of items you can find at a common sense price. As for when you want to have that special piece that costs a fortune, do your homework and see where you can purchase it to be original, yet at a decent price.

For me what worked was finding a couple of boutiques and online shops that gave the material quality that I wanted for a decent price. One of these is the Mango Outlet and Sports Direct online stores.  Also when I travel abroad I always visit Primark, if you look closely at the composition of the clothes you will be able to find some pretty decent deals. Whenever I visit Italy, I look for leather stores since these are very popular in the peninsula.

For the Romanian market, there is Fashion Days online store that has some great deals for smaller designers clothes, especially during the sales period. This is the place I bought a pair of Bailey Buttons UGGs for just 110$ and a Ted Baker purse for 170$.

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Lastly, I found from my best friend Silvia, from MyStyle5, a couple of really nice online outlets and some very useful tips on how to create designers wardrobe without going bankrupt.

There are many ways you can find that statement piece that would make you stand out, yet it is not the logo of a brand that will do that for you, but the design of the item, the quality and, most important, your attitude. A Rolex on a pig, will not change the pig into a gentleman, yet a Fossil on a gentleman will make some panties drop. So shop wisely and don’t get caught in the marketing trap.

Hiding Behind the Screen and Spreading Poison

It’s a crazy world and from the looks of it, it ain’t getting any better soon. Did we become more mean and judgmental or are the internet and social media facilitating the “haters”?

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As a kid, I used to stay a lot of time at my grandparents in the countryside. My parents were both working and since my grandparents had a house with garden, during the summer break I would be shipped there. Many people would describe that as the simple life, where everything is peaceful and where the community helps each member. In reality, the countryside life comes with a lot of unwritten rules, that you just need to follow, failing to comply with these and they will make you an outcast. What were the rules? Well, the most important ones were related to going to church, dressing appropriately, showing respect to the elder women and clearly being humble. As a girl, I was told so many times that I should not have an opinion, that I should go help in the kitchen and that I am not allowed to go out and walk the dog since the dog’s only purpose was to guard the house.

In the beginning, I used to comply with most of the rules, but as I got older, I got tired of people telling me what to do and how to do it. But the freedom came with a price! Every Sunday when I didn’t go to church, my grandma would get shamed by the other women. Each time I dressed in shorts, took the dog and whent for a swim my grandparents would hear complains that I am not a proper lady. And the list can very much continue with the ways I failed to fit in the “simple” life community and how I was the subject of many gossips around the corners that made my grandma cry and my grandpa angry.

Moving forward in time, I am now living in a big city and the one thing I love about it is that you can do whatever you want and none will notice or care. But that only happens in the real life, in this second reality that we invented, things are pretty much the same as in my grandparent’s village. So what is with people and their opinion?

The freedom of speech is a human right and we clearly want to keep it, but what happens if this freedom is only used to harm others? Online bulling is everywhere, people are shaming each-other for skin color, weight, the way of thinking, traveling, working, dressing, dating and pretty much anything else. Most of the trolls will hide behind the screen and judge the others, post mean and hateful comments and feel superior.

As the online environment has become more and more used, the number of bullies has also increased, but is this something that the internet era has created or has the social media offered them a place to express themselves? My money is on the latest! Humans are competitive by nature and bullying is something that we inherited from our ancestors. Clearly, the evolution and education should have shaped our characters, but this isn’t yet a rule for the masses. So what is my solution for this? Ignorance is bless, someone said and I believe he or she was a wise person.

From time to time I stumble upon a hater, who likes to write something mean or offensive, if at first I would take this personal and let it get to me, now I like to think about this poor sole that has time to spread the hate on the internet. I know I cannot stop people from being who they are, but I can influence whether I let that affect me or not. In a world where everyone has an opinion and wants to share it, our only weapon against hate is letting it boil in the hearts of the bullies by not giving a f*ck.