Stopping food waste and saving money – meal planning.

In my previous post titled “How to stop being broke” I have slightly brushed through the topic of money-saving by changing your diet and establishing a plan for shopping. I am myself not a very frugal person – I try, but I was never really thought how to save money, since I never had any – so I have some financial issues that need solving quite fast. Even though I may not be a saving expert, I consider myself a rather practical lad, hence I decided to start my saving adventure right about now. At 7 AM, in the morning, the day before the last exam in my entire life.

What I’ve found on YouTube and several other platforms are various posts considering shopping planning, meal optimization and other, that focused mainly on throwing out less leftovers. So not only am I gonna save money, but I’m also going to be more eco-friendly – great, let’s do it.

I started with giving myself a reason for why I should plan:

  1. The better you plan, the less you buy. Simple as that. If you think you’re not overspending on food look at what you bought recently and check how much of it you threw out. I had to get rid of many things this week – I bought too much and later, with all the events I attended, I didn’t have time to eat all of the food and had to throw it out (very bad Dorota, I know, I’m trying to be better).
  2. You improve your diet. If you plan a shopping list, drive to the shop, spend hours picking up all that you need, drive home, unpack everything, there is a very small chance you will go to McDonald’s later. That’s just it, the more effort we put into something, the more difficult it is for us to waste it.
  3. Reduce waste. I once heard a very interesting interview with a freegan living in Poland, who said that he doesn’t spend nor earn any money. He lives off food found in the trash or taken from supermarkets when it hits expiry date. Very noble indeed, and even though I did not agree with most of what he was saying (he lived in his friends apartment, for example, which means someone had to pay for it), I think the idea behind what he was doing was great. I’ve actually looked through the page of Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and found some really bothering information. Did you know that food currently wasted in Europe could feed 200 million people? 200 million people is just like more than half the population of the United States. If we reduce what we waste, by reducing what we buy, the market will adjust itself and produce less. The environment is going to thank us all for that. Let’s look up some UN statistics over here:

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Source: SAVE FOOD: Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction by the UN.

I’m European and I feel ashamed we don’t respect what we have and waste such amounts. I think that’s enough of reasons to support, that meal planning is worth trying.

How I started?

With a rather basic concept in my head – what I can actually cook, what do my boyfriend Floret and I like to eat, is there something seasonal now that I can use which is cheaper than imported goods? I listed all my thoughts onto a piece of paper and moved from there.

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I prepared my plan – on an A4 sheet of technical paper I drew a table. I could buy one but I wanted to hand-craft something myself to try out some of my non-existent calligraphy skills which I gained by doing absolutely nothing ever with calligraphy, but I did get some special pens for a birthday gift (last October) and I think it’s time to try them out – even to write in my regular handwriting.

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As you can see I’m not an artist – duh! – but I tried to make it easy to understand and very clear. Almost all the dishes I chose for lunch and dinner are my home’s classics that we enjoy and are quite easy to prepare. I started out like that just because I’m not very used to planning everything in such detail (and none of my diets ever lasted longer than “until Tuesday”). I thought I will give it a slow start, just to make sure I don’t resign after couple of days. My main concern is that I work full-time from 7 am until usually 5 pm, so I have to eat lunch at work – hence it has to be prepared in a way that allows microwaving and also doesn’t make food taste like paper afterwards. I don’t necessarily eat breakfast at home either, actually I don’t remember the last time I did, so I might have to change that and start waking up a little bit earlier (I already suffer when I think of it, I will have to wake up earlier than 6 am!).

What I hope will keep me motivated is:

Roughly one-third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tonnes — gets lost or wasted.

I have to visit UN’s site more often.

I made my plan include a shopping list – since the designed place I would hang it on was the Fridge (notice the “F”. Not a fridge, the Fridge) it made perfect sense to me. I tried to use blue colour mostly, because the only elements in my house that are not white or wooden are blue – so I made a food table to fit my couch – so tricky. Unfortunately the Fridge itself is for some reason black (and it also makes a noise that annoys everyone that stays over for a night on my couch), and I don’t own fancy magnets, so I had to improvise and give you a little preview of what my other posts might be about.

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Here it is, ready-to-go plan for meals. I hope I can handle doing everything as perfectly as I wrote there. I think what might be the most difficult part is lack of chocolate, or generally sweets, but I have to start getting my bikini body (haven’t worn a bikini since 2012, but ok) and finally get back to my weight from before I quit smoking.

I hope you will get inspired with all the meal planning and hop aboard my train to reduce waste. I made my first step towards being more conscious last night. I attended one of my friend’s bachelorette party and at the end the waiter asked if we want to take the remaining food (which was a lot) out. Naturally I said “yeah” and that’s how some of my friends have great Balkan food to eat for the rest of the weekend. Small step, but what matters is that it’s a step ahead.

I hope to let you know in a week how it went.

Let me know what you think about food wastage and meal planning. Do you plan yourself?

Dorota

 

My Erasmus experience – a year long trip!

Hello World,

a couple of years ago when I was still a student I was offered to go for an Erasmus Programme (a European Union Students Exchange Programme). Since it was not very popular at my Faculty, I could choose every single country and city I could think of. My University works with best Schools in Europe, and I was very close to picking Delft in the Netherlands, but because I am undoubtedly stupid I decided to pick a little town in the middle of nowhere in Portugal.

I can imagine your thoughts now: she went to beautiful Portugal to lay on the beach all day long and eat all this amazing food. Well yes. If only the city I lived in had any comfortable connection with any respectable beach and if only the Erasmus Committee did bother to read my application data.

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Wonderful beach in Nazare where I spent most of my weekends.

If you don’t have any experience with Erasmus I can tell you that before you are qualified to go you have to fill in numerous questionnaires and mark boxes for truly everything. Do you want to study in English? Yes √ Do you want to get your student’s buddy? Yes √ Do you need help in arranging accommodation? Yes √ Want to guess? Exactly – they didn’t help me in any of these.

Even though my school usually started at 7 pm and finished at 11:30 pm – yes, I wrote it correctly, PM! – even though I had to study Electrical Engineering in Portuguese, which I didn’t know at that time, even if there were no radiators in my apartment and I was freezing to death in winter, it was truly one of the most amazing experiences of my life!

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Drying fish on a beach in Nazare. 

Let me start from the beginning. I went to Leiria in September 2014. I didn’t know absolutely anyone else on Erasmus there, I didn’t know the city and couldn’t speak Portuguese. At first I felt depressed really. The weather was amazing but I didn’t have any friends to have fun with, the University did not give me my student’s buddy so I had no one to talk to really, up until… I decided to put myself there and literally searched for other people, both online and in real life. Whenever I heard English I was immediately joining conversations – of strangers, yes – and socializing with them. Suddenly I met so many people I had friends everywhere – some of these friendships survived until now, some didn’t – and I was living the life I always wanted – sightseeing, studying and partying.

Since all students on Erasmus get paid scholarships I was thrilled to try the Portuguese cuisine. I met many Portuguese people who told me very interesting stories and facts about their country. I tried their beer, their seafood, I attended concerts, even football games. What surprised me? How open people are. How easy it is to communicate even if you don’t know a single word of their language and they don’t speak English. How common it is to drink and drive there (terrifying really!) and how you can a perfectly cooled beer even in the smallest village.

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Amazing berbigao in Nazare. Best. Food. Ever.

I also learned a lot, not only about Engineering and Portuguese language, but also about myself and how I perceived the world.

I met people from literally every country in the European Union, we mixed our cultures frequently. Many times I organized dinners for over 30 people! I learned the importance of eating with your family, – Portuguese people always eat in such big groups! I was surprised at first how easy it was for them to invite me to dinner. Like I was a member of their family really and my strict, northern upbringing was truly shocked. – of rest during long work days – only place in the entire world where restaurants are closed from 12:00 till 3:00 pm so that the stuff can rest – and how to live peacefully and in acceptance of people, that are simply different from me.

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The beautiful Porto.

I also helped many of my friends and family visit Portugal as well. My mom, my siblings and best friend all visited me and we had a blast.

What is my advice? I think the most important thing, if you consider going for an Erasmus Programme, is that you should never close yourself for new friendships just because you go with someone you already know. I witnessed many people staying in these rather closed groups of friends and never really experiencing their adventure fully. I met people who have never even tried amazing Portuguese dishes because they were constantly claiming food is expensive. I met people who claimed that going out is for stupid people. If you want to go for an Erasmus don’t be any of these people. Stay open and curious.

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Stunning monastery in Batalha.

In order to prepare better for such experience I think it’s most suitable to plan ahead. Erasmus Community organizes many trips and activities which might be great to attend, but sometimes you just need a schedule to not miss out on anything. Of course if you would like to go to Portugal I can gladly help you with that – maybe in a little hectic way, but hey! No judging! – So e-mail me if you want some info.

What’s the most important thing to remember? I think: improvise and be spontaneous. I was very reserved at first and then, after couple of months I was greeting strangers with a kiss on the cheek, I was hitchhiking frequently including driving in a truck transporting onion, and did many more crazy things!

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I spent an entire year in Portugal, visiting many cities like Porto, Lisbon, Guimaraes, Obidos, Peniche and many others. I loved it so much, that even this year I am planning to go back with my boyfriend Floret, to check out the southern part of the country – Algarve. I didn’t have a chance to visit when I lived there, but right now it’s the spot I am hoping to see this August.

And did you go for an exchange programme? Let me know in the comments!

Dorota

My Eurotrip experience.

Hello world,

in one of the previous posts I wrote about my trip to Bieszczady Mountains, which is a range of hills in Southern Poland. I loved the trip, because not only had I had a pleasure to try pure spirits, but also it was my first ever trip when I swam in a lake. Before I ventured to this amazing place I had a pleasure of experiencing one of the most amazing trips of my life: EUROTRIP.

The task was quite easy, I live in Europe, so my only concern was to get a car, pack and book some hotels on the way. I went with my boyfriend Floret, of course, and our companion: my fluffy grey cat from Nicci, which was quite useful when we slept in a tent under olive trees in Croatia.

We started our trip in Warsaw, where we live, and first travelled to a Hungarian city of Eger. On our way there we had to drive through Slovakia, where we were really conscious since it’s extremely easy to get a fine for everything, but even though – of course – we got a fine for speeding. On the border with Hungaria. Literally looking at the sign of the country. We had 45 km/h on a 40 km/h limit, but they still imposed a mandate on us of 200 Euros. I’m looking at you Slovakian Police, stop!

After Eger, where we also visited Miscolc Topolca, we went to the capital city Budapest, where we spent three days travelling back and forth throughout a beautiful, old streets, eating hummus and drinking wine on the bank of Danube river with some very nice, old German people. We ate delicious food and both Floret and I enjoyed it very much.

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Budapest is a city known for it’s architecture, especially the building of the parlament, which is quite astonishing.

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Here it is just on the other side of the river. The weather did not spoil us, but we still got a lot of time simply enjoying little streets and food.

Later on we went to Zagreb, a capital of Croatia, where we visited a ZOO and were sightseeing for two entire days. Since we are both engineers we visited Technical Museum of Zagreb, where we enrolled into classes about Tesla (the greatest) and his inventions. It was for kids, and in croatian, so we understood only what the lecturer showed us and with knwoledge from our physics background we were really excited to try some experiments.

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The city of Zagreb is very misterious and looks a little like Warsaw.

A little digression here: You know how when you go home you look through pictures to see how they turned out? Most of the pictures taken by Floret, were pictures of… You’d think me, maybe some nice sites… No. Of our car. He literally took ten pictures of our car in different places. Men are weird. 

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At least our car got to take a picture with panorama of Zagreb 😉

After Zagreb, we went to one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen, the oldest national park in Croatia and one of the places on the UNESCO World Heritage register. Before we embarked on a hiking trip there I had a little accident – I left my laptop in one of the restaurants on the way. Luckily they wrote me on Facebook later and gave it back – Croatians are really nice. Thanks, lovely waiter guy!

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The trip was quite interesting and it took multiple hours (I think we hiked for like 6?) but it was totally worth it, just look at that water… It’s magnificent. The color is a result of sedimentation and limestone on the bottom, creating a fairytale look, that honestly, in real life looks just like the pictures.

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What is interesting there is that you can pass a lot of waterfalls and rivers, which look astonishing and make you realize, how beautiful our world is.

20160528_105532.jpgIf you are wondering right now – yes, I did take all these pictures myself, no joke.

After hiking we drove straight to the campsite, where we found a little river (of the same color) and we enjoyed a calm, warm evening sipping wine from cups with smurfs printed on. It was my first night ever in a tent – I start to sound a little like I was brought up in a shed, but really, it was my first time ever. The tent was very tiny (I think 1+) and I had to sleep with my back against the side, with moisture all over me. Thanks to this trip we bought and new tent now and are prepared for camping like pros.

Because we didn’t plan our trip in a great detail and only booked some hotels along the way, we decided to be spontaneous and travel to Krk Island to get some relax on the beach. We wanted to visit Dubrovnic where The Game of Thrones is shot, but we decided it was too far away.

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The island is absolutely beautiful. You can get there only through a bridge (for which you have to pay – that’s kind of weird). There are several towns here, where you can visit very old little church built of stone, very nice restaurants and a city of Punat, where we chose to stay. We slept under olive trees, in a tent, just next to our car on a campsite. There was a storm there that almost made me pee my pants, I swear, being in a tent during a thunderstorm is not funny, so we arranged bottles of wine and played cards for almost a whole night.

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Days are very lazy there in Punat. Beaches are great, although full of stones and we had to travel through the whole island to find one where there was sand. On the way there we also found a cevapi stand where we ate almost everyday – ayvar, the condiment made of paprika, is so amazingly tasty there… I have to buy some more!

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Since we didn’t want to only lay on the beach and burn our asses we took several trips through surrounding hills and found these guys. Actually, the picture was taken just because we were interested in how the foundations of the high voltage tower were made, but I centered a picture to be more interesting to you guys 🙂 The little island you see there is one where you can swim in a boat to and spend some romantic time on a picnic – you should try it!

It came a time where, with a broken heart, we had to leave for another place – Slovenia. I actually wanted to stay longer in Croatia, but we booked a rafting trip and had to meet our appointment.

Slovenia is…

I have no words, if you think Plitvice Lakes were amazing… Slovenia is just like… I don’t know, if you drank an elixir of happiness you’d end up there, for sure.

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This was our view from the hotel room. The host greeted us with wine and chips and all day long I could look at this mountain (Triglav) like on the painting of the greatest painters. Since we booked a rafting trip – which I was very scared of bearing in mind I just learned how to swim – we went there right away. I was unsure and freaking out, but it was one of the best experiences I ever lived through. We couldn’t film or take pictures there without GoPro, so I’m going to show you a video from YouTube. That was so much fun!

The water was ice-cold and during rafting our instructor chose to stop and let us jump from a huge stone in the river with such a strong current I was fighting with myself for 10 straight minutes if I should jump or not. I stood there, on this rock and wanted to jump, but my body didn’t want to move! Seriously, it was such an incredible experience, to fight my own fear. Finally, I jumped. But I was shaking from excitement!

Later we decided to try another typically Slovenian thing… we drove our car onto the train and we travelled by train in it!

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Very weird, especially in the tunnels, but  fun experience nevertheless. I shot a great video with my phone on that trip and I sent it to my mother. I hope one day I will be brave enough to show my face on this blog and share it with you guys.

We also visited a city of Bled with a gigantic castle way above a beautiful, also very blue, lake.

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This looks like I took a picture of a mirror, or I rendered it badly in Photoshop, but  trust me, it really does look just like that! The city is worldwide famous for its cake, which – of course – I had to try. Yummy!

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After eating all that sugar we had to find a way to burn it and since there is no good visit to the mountains (here Triglavski National Park) without a good old hike, we had some.

20160607_102514.jpgSlovenia is really an amazing place. All the people I met there (where we lived in Kranska Gora or where we went) were extremely nice. The owner of the house we stayed in (called Smucka – check it out on booking.com) let us use his grill, his own bikes (really nice ones – and advised us to bike to Italy. Doesn’t it sound weird? Like I could literally take a bike and go to Italy… in like two hours. Oh, Europe, you’re great!) and even washed our clothes! We promised to come back and for it we received a nice, handmade candle holder, which stands on my living room shelf till this day!

20160607_115944.jpgUnfortunately, we had to leave Slovenia and head back home, but not until we visited Vienna and a great aquapark next to it. I wanted to see Vienna because I’m very much interested in european royal families and their palaces – both Austria and Poland have some in common, including several kings. We’ve seen both Schonbrunn and Hofberg.

20160609_111330.jpgGerdens in Schonbrunn.

20160608_143003.jpgHofburg Palace, which is quite interestingly just in the middle of the city. Also, I learned a lot about empress Sisi, who is one of the most fascinating royals I’ve ever heard of (not to mention beautiful). Check her out in the website of Sisi Museum in Schonbrunn.

What should any of you do before leaving Vienna? Eat Saher Chocolate Cake, Schnitzel and of course visit the famous Wiener Prater which is an amusement park first opened in 1766!

After Vienna we headed back home with a plan for another EUROTRIP. To be honest we think of doing two: one for western Europe (I want to shop Portugal to Floret since I lived there for a year) and one for the North (Scandinavia).

Since this trip produced so many amazing pictures I decided to start a special chronicle of my trips with Floret. I will share some pieces with you in some of the next posts.

Wish me lack and tell me something about your trips in the comments!

Dorota

 

Terrible thoughts on The Rain.

I’m not an aggressive person. Quite frankly I’m probably one of the calmest flowers on a freaking lake of life, slowly drifting with a current without ever bothering anyone. That is until I turned on the new Netflix series The Rain, and became an enraged bull!

You know this thought process in your head that just because Netflix did Stranger Things and this German series Dark, it cannot do any wrong? I thought so too, I was actually excited when I saw a poster of The Rain on one of the buildings in my city. I pass it everyday on my way to work and I was getting more and more interested until yesterday – obviously because I have to study for my license exam – I watched four episodes – and it got me so pissed, I’m still shaking.

I swear, I got so worked up my boyfriend Floret warned me he will turn the tv off if I keep constantly commenting what’s going on. Obviously, I have to let off steam now when he can’t listen, so buckle up dear readers, because oh boy, this will be a ride!

Let me stop here for a breath of not so fresh big city air and a little preface:

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The idea for this series reminds me highly of The Last of Us game on PS4, which I adore (like all the other products of Naughty Dog – which I will be talking about next week, so I’ll shut up now) and quite frankly this made me even more interested in The Rain. It starts with a family of four, running away from the virus spread by the rain – leading role plays a father who is a scientist working for a company called Apollon (sounds like an Umbrella Corporation to me). They hide in a bunker underground belonging to the firm and are shocked to see that a mysterious virus spreads across the country (in this case Denmark). The father parts ways with the rest of the family in order to “save the world” cliché. Everything until now is fine for me, I watch it interested, I’m not even sipping on wine that stands right in front of me. But then… I can’t really describe it without cussing – sorry guys – so PG 18 alert!

These kids, 11-year-old boy and an 18-year-old girl, are so stupid I can’t watch it sitting down. Their father tells them – it’s dangerous, don’t go out, don’t ever open the door, don’t even think of leaving until I come back, and then what? They open the freaking door! I can’t handle it, seriously, I was just jumping on my couch like: “if your scientist father tells you it’s dangerous outside – it is freaking dangerous outside!”. So sit your ass on the chair and wait.

After opening the door did not go so well, the girl has a sudden realization (literally, I’m not even kidding) “I shouldn’t have opened the door”. No shit, Sherlock.

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So after some time when all their food is gone they decide to leave. Very  smart, to leave just once you have one tiny box of food left. The girl leaves first, in pitch black, during the night. I would think that after some time if you don’t know what’s going on outside you’d probably choose to go out during the day ’cause you could at least see something, but the director of this show had another idea. Smart.

No worries, it goes worse with every second! The brother is probably the most annoying character I’ve seen on TV. He is such a spoiled brat I wished I could get into the series just to smack him across the face. He is whining about everything, I don’t think I’ve seen even one scene when he wasn’t infuriating. Such a little bitch, I swear.

After they meet some additional characters (my theory – there is always someone needed to die in the background) they venture to the city of Copenhagen. For at lest 15 minutes all you hear is that it’s dangerous there, because scavengers roam the city to get everybody’s food. What’s the logical choice to do when you enter the city during virus-apocalypse? Walk in the middle of a 4 lane street and later go to freaking Burger King, eat your packed-bunker-food there and hope nobody is gonna kill you for it. Seriously? SERIOUSLY?! Who the hell directed it?!

I checked by the way, but these are some crazy Danish names and I can’t handle copying it. 

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I just finished the show and it makes no sense whatsoever. I swear, I liked the vibe and the whole series wasn’t all rubbish, but honestly… I would never choose to watch it ever again. They generally ripped a great The Last of Us story, simply changing it from zombie-apocalypse into the virus one, except Ellie is not so damn annoying and you actually feel sad when side characters die. In case of The Rain I felt like… nah, who cares.

To be honest, I’m not saying: “don’t ever watch it”. I’m saying be prepared, because you might get annoyed. Or angry. Or pissed.

Sorry for my ranting tonight, but I really had to get it off my chest!

Dorota

How to stop being broke?

If you’re suffering from lack of money and are wondering why is it that some people always seem to have cash and you’re constantly broke, I think I might have a hint for you – you’re shopping inefficiently!

Please don’t tell me now other people have cash because they earn more. That is a misconception that grew into stereotype, when in reality the difference is: they’re frugal and you’re not. First example: me. I earn quite a lot of money for my age, but at the end of the month I struggle to be able to afford basic domestics. On the other hand, one of my best friends is an aspiring artist who seems to always have cash even though she earns a third of what I do. Since I noticed this phenomenon I became more aware of what I buy and how I manage my money. I hope this post is going to give you some ideas that might help you take care of your budget.

Disclaimer:

i suck at saving money

I really do suck at saving, I don’t think I ever had real savings my entire life. The following tips come from my personal experience, but I have yet to establish how to use them in a long run. Any tips?

  1. Buy only what you really need.

This goes for food, clothes, appliances, electronics and home decor – although if you really want to save money you don’t need anything else than food. Each time you think you need to buy something, immediately drink a glass of water, sit down and simply don’t do it. If you lived for a year without a dishwasher, and you struggle with cash, probably you don’t need the dishwasher that much. If your closet is full of clothes don’t buy another white t-shirt or jeans, rather keep your money for a time, when you’d be needing something important.

In case of food, I heard from various sources how you need a list of groceries to be sure you only buy necessities. That is true, I don’t usually go to the supermarket without a list either, but what you need to keep in mind is that even though you have one, you might still buy a lot of unnecessary items. Example: today I made a list of things I should buy for another three days. I folded it and put it in my purse, but just before I left I went to grab some water from the fridge and realised I listed a lot of things I already had! Hence, whenever you decide to go shopping look through your cupboards, fridge and refrigerator to learn what you really have there and maybe during that routine you might invent dishes that don’t need additional shopping – my favourite: spaghetti alio olio.

Another frugal thing I learned recently is to eat less meat. Meat is expensive – it deteriorates fast and you need to spend a lot of time to prepare it, plus you might feel bloated and tired from excess in your diet – shop smarter and more consciously.

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2. Find additional sources of income.

The best tip to not be broke is to earn more and from various sources. I work full-time for a company in Warsaw, but I also cooperate with other companies just to have additional source of income. If you can’t get another job, think about contacting your supervisor about a raise, or some additional benefits. Another way to do it is to get rid of the things you don’t need anymore, but other people may perceive useful – sell those off e-bay and save the money for later.

3. Look for small saving opportunities.

Don’t spend money on useless crap is more approriate for a title here, but it corresponds too much with point number one, so let me stay with the “look for small saving opportunities”. Generally, don’t spend money on… plastic bags – take some from home, gym membership cards if you’re too lazy to ever practice, paid applications on your iPad or phone – cause you don’t need any of it, even if you think you do, magazines and newspapers – use the Internet instead. Don’t buy bottled water if you have the same one or better in your tap, don’t buy fancy notebooks, pens etc. if you have a lot of them lying around your house. Don’t buy flowers, eat at restaurants, drink at pubs… generally live like a freaking monk for a while, but trust me, you will be rewarded. And, oh boy, it will be worth it!

4. Because the whole reason for saving up is to be able to spend it later on something totally worth it!

Keep your goal in mind and work towards it! If it’s a trip, renting a dream car (looking at you Floret), expensive camera or even paying up your debts. Work hard for it and you’ll finally achieve all your goals! Living life frugaly has to have a purpose, and collecting money is a crappy one, trust me. Money does not bring happiness, unless it’s a mean to achieve what you want. So buckle up on your adventure to whatever it is you need to save money for.

Btw. If anyone of you will tell me you don’t need to save money because you don’t have any debts, but in the same time you have mortgage on your house, credit or your balance on the credit card is not 0, than you are an idiot and you should save money cause you’re drowning in debt! If you are not in debt, you don’t owe money to ANYONE! Simple as that.

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Dorota

A trip to Bieszczady Mountains – for the spirits!

Hello world!

Let me take you along on my last year’s trip to Bieszczady Mountains in Poland, just to show off some of the most amazing places in my country and maybe convince you to visit.

It started off with my best friend M. calling me to ask if I want to tag along with her boyfirend, two other friends and her on a trip for a long weekend. It was in August and my boyfriend Floret and I didn’t have any plans except playing PlayStation all day long (ah, the almighty Uncharted 4).

I immediately agreed and after consulting Floret we packed our stuff and I think the same day (or was it the next day after work, can’t remeber…) we went on a trip. The region of Bieszczady is 7 hours away from where I live in Warsaw, and when we got there it was already around 2 am!

The first thing we did was setting up our tents. At the time it was pitch black and we didn’t see any view nor the surrounding and when we woke up we saw how perfectly we chose a place to stay.

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The tent we chose for this trip, or maybe Floret did, was great. It didn’t let through any moisture, it was rather big for two people, and most importantly easy to assemble. We bought it especially for camping trips since a year earlier we had doubtful pleasure of staying in a tent that was so tiny I had to sleep with my back against the “side”, with moisture all over me. Not to mention we slept in it in the middle of a storm, under olive trees on some Godforsaken Island in Croatia – but that might be a topic for another story.

During the first day we took some time to enjoy Solina Lake.

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It was the first time I ever swam in a like. I know… sounds pathetic, I am 27 years old and I ever swam in a like once almost a year ago. Unfortunately, before… I simply couldn’t swim. Floret tought me how two years ago and it was my first chance to ever try in non-pool conditions.

Later on we went for a campsite, which was one of the most amazing places I’ve seen so far. Full of people, young, very laidback – kind of like a comune.

That day Floret and I decided to skip hiking trip (I didn’t have appropriate shoes so we went to a nearby town Sanok to get some). Fortunately for me, Sanok is a city in which my absolute favourite painter was born – Zdzisław Beksiński – and where his museum is located. After his death – which I might describe along with his work in one of the next posts – he gave all of his paintings to the city and the museum. There I had a pleasure to see my absolute favourite painting of his:

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Which ironically makes me realize I can’t take pictures straight!

When we got back to our camping site we arranged a little celebration. It was the first time I ever was in Bieszczady mountains and Floret (who originally comes from a city nearby) ordered us drinks that nearly killed me. It honestly burnt my throat!

It’s called Bieszczadki Pies (Bieszczady’s dog). It is very similar to a drink called “Mad dog shot” which consists solely of vodka, concentrated raspbetty syrup and tabasco sauce drops. Except in this particular case there is no vodka – because that’s barbarric. There is pure 95% alcohol spirits.

Of course the guys (Floret and Ms boyfriend) did not warn us. Vodka looks exactly the same as spirits so I went for it normally, like a good Polish girl should, and… I lost my breath. I caughted, cried, drank a whole bottle of coke and still had a taste in my mouth. And boy how drunk I got! After one shot I already felt tipsy.

The next day, after my “initiation to Bieszczady Mountains” we went for a 26 km, 9 hour long trip around the Mountains. We chose a trail to Bukowe Berdo and as you can see on pictures below, it was stunning!

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At the end of a trip we reached a road where we waited for a bus that took us back to our camping site. We travelled for many hours and were exhausted. When we reach our tents we took a shower and went for dinner. Let me tell you, everything hurt me. And then, by miracle, I ordered hot wine and the pain just immediately disappeared 🙂 Magic 😉

Sidenote: the main photo of this blog is from there as well:

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Thank you for sharing this trip with me. I hope you feel at least a little bit inspired to visit Bieszczady Mountains and Poland.

Have a great Tuesday!

Dorota

 

Best movies I’ve seen this year

Hello world,

when I was a student I watched a ton of movies ranking them meticulously on a polish equivalent of IMDB. After graduation, when I started working, I didn’t have that much time to go to the cinema or watch movies at home and hence all films that I do see must be somehow selected.

I started by googling various rankings of movies, but all of them considered films I’ve already seen or read terrible reviews of. Then, by accident really, I looked for movies on various blogs, asked my friends, and even random strangers on IMDB.

The following movies are three of the best movies I’ve seen this year:

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“Perfetti sconosciuti” (in English Perfect Strangers) is an Italian movie I’ve seen with my boyfriend (in here nicknamed Floret) some time ago. We got inspired by one of the Polish actresses (Kasia Smutniak) who happens to be an acklaimed leading lady in Italy. The movie focuses on a group of friends who meet for dinner where they decide to play a of putting all their phones on the table and reading all text messages or listening to all phonecalls. You can only imagine what kind of drama arises from such a turn of events, unveiling everyone’s secrets at one table.

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Which leeds me to an epithany, that my texts would probably be the most boring messages to read. I only text a close group of friends, my parents and Floret. My whole life moved to my work phone, which is… I don’t even know how to describe it. I think pictures speak volumes more than words, hence…

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Texting with that amazing piece of technology is literally like moving to a previous century. The only messages I get are notifications of missed calls. And what about you? What messages would your phone reveal?

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Contratiempo (English: Setback) is a Spanish thriller movie, that is a refreshing change to all of the Hollywood pictures. It focuses on a guy, handsome and successful businessman, who is accused of murdering his mistress Laura. He hires a great attorney (amazing role of Ana Wegener) to get him out of trouble. The film focuses on him preparing his statement to the court.

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I know it does not sound very… exciting, but honestly, it’s a must see!

I can’t write more about the plot without spoiling it, but let me just tell you: climate, actors, surrounding, pictures and quite frankly everything fits perfectly. At the beginning I was a little biased, I guessed “who the murderer is” right away, but it was really entertaining.

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Les Petits mouchoirs (English: Little white lies) is a French movie that made me cry like a baby for fifteen minutes. Amazing Marion Cotillard, Francois Cluzet and their friends embark on the summer holidays while their best friend Ludo lies in a coma in the hospital after terrible scooter accident. The movie is both hilarious and terribly sad. I don’t think I ever cried that much while seeing a film (except Disney cartoons  which usually make me cry my heart out).

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It is a warm story of friendship and how such are sometimes very fragile and based on lies and misconseptions. Watch it with a box of tissues aside.

I hope you will enjoy all three. I chose this particular set of movies, since they made an impact on me, and they are not as well recognized as all of the Hollywood productions with which we are constantly flooded with on billboards and ads on YouTube.

Have an amazing Friday!

Dorota