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Blogmas In January? - days 17 through 24

Publié le par Charly C.

Hello all. 

I thought I should finally end the Blogmas 2021 "saga," thing. Let's go!

Day 17

On this day we had the chance to win another premium account, by participating in the contest on Facebook. 

Since I already won, I didn't participate again, even though I want and need one for my review site. But don't worry, there's still time in the future. And at the time i didn't have a good use for it. And others also want and need it, maybe more than me. 

Day 18

On this day, we were supposed to complete our Christmas gifts. I'm going to half-ass the description for this day. I can't really remember what i already said about the gifts i prepared.  

We did find this pig statue with a feather collar. We bought it for Anna's mom. She loved it!

Anna received mostly items decorated with a pink flamingo or red birds. But this piglet statue is fabulous and i can't say anything anymore. :) 

Day 19

For this day, we were supposed to have a positive attitude the whole day. 

What can i say? since i started taking my antidepressants, having a more positive attitude or mindset is far more easy than before. 

However, i don't think on this particular day my attitude was too positive. It's silly and ridiculous to think people can have a certain state of mind on command. Actors might be able to pull it off, as this is their job. 

Day 20

On this day, we were supposed to wear or showcase a Christmas sweater. The platform also offered a 50% sale for its premium account option. 

We don't have Christmas sweaters, but we have many pairs of seasonal socks. Mostly received as Christmas gifts. You can see one of these pairs in this entry.  

We still have and use it, along with any other we will still receive in the future. 

Day 21

On this day, we were supposed to talk about cooking for the holidays. I feel this topic is redundant at this point. I feel as if we already talked about holiday foods twice already. 

One of the stuff to be cooked on this day is the cozonac. We actually ordered ours this year. We also ordered one of the next beauties for Anna's parents. 

cozonac Romanian seasonal dessert

Apparently, it was delicious! The place where we ordered it from usually sells ice cream and it's super popular in summer.  

Day 22

On this day, we had another chance to win a premium account. No more comments here. 

Day 23

On this day, we had to make the life of another better, by donating stuff we don't need anymore. 

I'm actually a member of a local free-cycle group on Facebook. We donate there various items quite often. We also took many things others had no more use of. It saves us quite a bit of money, and people scratch one another's back rather often. 

The variety or value of the items being donated is rather high at times. 

Day 24

On the last day of Blogmas, we had to share good resolutions. And I'm not sure what this means. 

This means i don't have much to say to begin with. And the result is that i finally finished last month's daily challenge set by my platform, Over-Blog. 

I hope you had a good Christmas and New Year's Eve. :)

I think the next entry will be in the first 7 days of February. Until then, check out my site with reviews. At its current URL, the posts appear twice per week, on Mondays and Thursdays!

Until next time!

© Charly Cross 2013 – present. all rights reserved.

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Blogmas In January? - days 12 through 16

Publié le par Charly C.

Hi all!

Let's continue with Blogmas in January. Well, if you were living in Russia, you'd be celebrating Christmas in January, actually. At least there's that, i suppose. 

Once again I'll batch a few days together, mostly because i failed to post it in December, as I mentioned in the previous post. 

Day 12

On the 12th day, we were expected to mention or make a list of our favorite Christmas movies. 

Just like with seasonal music or the wreath, I'm not a fan of such movies. 

I can't remember if we watched any movie in December. I did watch Star Trek The Next Generation. And yes, I'm more of a Trekkie, and definitely not a fan of Star Wars, sorry. :( Currently, I'm watching the Deep Space Nine series. 

Day 13

On this day, we once again had the opportunity to earn a premium or business paid account for our blog or site. 

This time I participated and ....

I actually won!!!! YAAAAAY!!!!! I'm really happy about it! :D 

Nothing more to talk about for this day. 

Day 14

Today's challenge was related to the food we planned for Christmas. If you remember from last year, i may have mentioned we usually have traditional foods we eat for certain celebrations. This link may refresh your memory.

One of the dishes you can expect to see Salad a la Russe. While the recipe is the same year after year, the design will always be different. This is the recipe I use, in case you haven't seen it yet. 

I made probably 3 plates and a casseroles of salad. The casserole went to Anna's parents, as her mother was sick and couldn't stand or sit for too long. As such, we offered to make the salad for them. 

Blogmas In January? - days 12 through 16Blogmas In January? - days 12 through 16Blogmas In January? - days 12 through 16

These are most of the plates i decorated for this Christmas. I'm surprised to see just how clear and crisp the image and colors are. Well, If I'm not mistaken, these were taken with my new iPhone 8, so maybe this is why. 

For this salad, the carrots and almost everything should be cooked or pickled, including the carrots and pieces of red bell pepper. My carrots are boiled, and the peppers are raw. The salad is better with these 2 decor pieces as pickled. 

As a side note, the last image is the salad for Anna's parents.

Day 15

 I don't think I have much to report for this day. The admins of the platform said today's international tea day. or something along these lines. 

They asked if we prefer tea or coffee. Well, i prefer coffee, though I drink quite a bit of tea as well. If you want to know more about tea in Romania, this link can help you out

Day 16

On this day, we're supposed to go to the Christmas market. Last year we didn't have one. This year we did something organized, but it was disappointing. 

For starters, there was an entry fee, we needed proof of being vaccinated, to wear the mask, and it was MUCH smaller. Furthermore, it didn't even really have the usual stands with traditional Christmas food. 

And there was also no Kurtos Kalacz, or chimney cake, either. 

Here are some of the pictures I took at the event: 

Blogmas In January? - days 12 through 16Blogmas In January? - days 12 through 16

Actually, it seems i lost the pictures from the actual market. These stalls are an "unofficial event" taking place in the heart of the city, in Union Square. 

The picture with a few chimney cakes being cooked, is from a several-year-old event happening at yet a different location. 

This year, we didn't buy anything from the Christmas market nor from these vendors. 

©Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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Blogmas In January? - days 7 through 11

Publié le par Charly C.

Hello all! 

Today we continue with the blogmas for 2021. As you can see, I'm a month late with this. I was very busy back in December, and i couldn't finish it on time :( 

I'll try to catch up now, in January, as I'm not inspired to write about anything else. 

Without further ado, here they are!

Day 7

Giving a second life our entries. Hmm, this is something I'll need to think about and possibly write a separate entry. 

I guess, revisiting the entries and re-editing them to sound closer to our current writing style, yes? 

I probably should do this with some. This action is good when considering re-branding. Speaking of rebranding, this entry will tell you more about some other things to consider if you want to re-brand your blog, site, or whatever.

Day 8

For the 8th day, we had to create a wreath. If you remember from 2020's blogmas, on December 15, we had to do this. Except I'm not doing that sort of thing. We don't really care about Christmas in this house, except the gifts.

Instead, I arranged some magnets in a circle. Of course i repeated what i did the year before. This year I have different magnets I found at the dumpster (next to it). I got rid of the old ones, except for 2. The little doll with blond hair is not a magnet.

magnets Dutch clogs Colorful Ladies San Francisco green house blond doll

My favorite magnets are the pink Dutch clogs, the green building, the flamenco dancer, San Francisco Colorful Ladies, and the blue door from Morocco.

Day 9

For the 9th day, we had to enter a contest for a premium account.

I didn't win because I ddin't even enter. I checked the challenge too late. The next day, late. 

There's nothing more to say about this event. 

Day 10

For this day we were asked to write about "zero waste." I wrote something similar in July, called "why isn't all single-use plastic banned" or something among this line. You can read it here, if you haven't seen it yet. 

 I do want to say that i can't see "zero waste" being possible, at least not yet. The idea is actually to reduce the amount of waste we produce daily or weekly. Additionally, we should also reduce the amount of stuff we buy, and buy only if:

  • we really need it 
  • we really like it

Buying less means less waste and more money in our wallets. This is great!

Day 11

For this day, we were asked for Christmas gift ideas. We could also share what we bought to give away as gifts. 

Obviously, back then, I couldn't post what i bought. But now i can. Well, everything i bought was decorated with birds. The majority of the birds i got were flamingos. 

The most spectacular gift was the paper gift bag itself. This is red, with some sparkles. Then, I also got a set of 2 plates. These are also red, decorated with some flowers and birds. I think these 2 were the 

©Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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Blogmas - days 3 through 6? ooops

Publié le par Charly C.

Hello all!

I promised I'd post more often, but one makes plans and God laughs. 

So, on Saturday the 4rd i had to finish a project, and i focused all my efforts towards it. 

Let's complete the challenges!

Day 3

The challenge was to create a playlist for Christmas. 

If there's anything i dislike more around this time of the year, or in general, is Christmas music or songs. All of them. 

Instead, i prefer calming music, the type that allows you to relax and make you feel cozy, warm, and that generally puts me in a better and calmer mood. 

Lately, i listen most of the music the youtube channel "Cappuccino" puts out. I play the songs for autumn the most because .... see above. 

I have no more words. to add here. 

Day 4

For the 4t of December we had to decorate our Christmas trees. I'll just attach a picture of mine. 

It is placed UNDER a table because the space is small and there was no room. In the other room there are cats and i don't trust them NOT to ruin the tree. 

Since it's a small tree, i can't add too much on it. I also removed that santa or snowman thing. It was overbearing the tree and the other decorations. 

Day 5

For the 5th day, the challenge was very easy: we were supposed to relax with our families. 

This is just what i did, since i had just finished a complicated project and I was mentally tired and stressed. 

Day 6

We were asked to redesign our blogs in the colors of Christmas. 

Clearly, this is impossible for some people out there who try hard to keep a steady image. 

Personally, i like my blog the way it is, i don't want to change it for any celebration. I'm not even sure how to do that. Should i write this part in several colors? LOL

 Stay tuned for the rest of the entries tomorrow!

 

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Blogmas 2021 - Day 2

Publié le par Charly C.

Hello!

It's already December, and this means it's Blogmas time! if you don't already know, last year i participated in the blogmas challenge that my blogging platform set up. :D You can read last year's blogmas at this link

If you're wondering why I wasn't present for the past few months, I'll clarify (a bit) after i complete the challenge for the day. 

As you can see, this is day 2. For the first day, we had to enter a contest for a premium account. Which i did but did not win. It's OK, I hope there will be other occasions. 

For the 2nd day, our "challenge" is to write a list of ideal gifts for this year's Christmas. This should be really easy, for anyone. 

Including for me. Or is it? Well, here it goes, in no particular order, though some are more important than others:

  • A new phone
  • The laptop's back to be repaired
  • A bottle of Chanel no 5 perfume
  • To fix my first sewing machine
  • A pair of old/vintage tailors shears
  • A premium account for my blog and site {will be live again starting January ;)}
  • My geraniums to bloom more, the ones in water to grow roots
  • My kalanchoe to bloom again

If you're curious if last year i had a wishlist challenge, I did. You can read it here. And for the curious, I had 5 wishes, and 3 of them came true :) Spoiler alert, not the serger or the "enough money to buy a house," but it's better than nothing. 

 And if you were curious as of why I went MIA ... I was extremely busy. and depressed. I started therapy and treatment.

I'm getting better and i hope to be more active from now on. 

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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Making salad "à la russe"

Publié le par Charly C.

Happy new year! 

I have no idea since when you guys read my ramblings here. But with a quick search in my past entries, you'll see that at the end of each year, for the past 2 or 3 years, i tried to post some "End of the year thoughts". See here, here.

This time i decided against it. I have more reasons:

  • All December I had work to do (my main job)
  • I tried to do/did blogmas (see my recent posts or the link)
  • I have this entry where i drew a bit of a line for 2020.

For blogmas day 10, we were supposed to talk about the Christmas menu. And I did. And i mentioned that, traditionally, in Romania, people like to make salad à la russe. 

made by mother and given to us for new year's

I looked through my shared recipes and i noticed that i haven't shared this one yet, despite having made it quite a few times already. 

Well, now's the time to share the recipe! 

INGREDIENTS

We wanted to make a lot of salad this time around because we really like it. This wasn't the best idea ever but we did it anyway, so here we go.

We used for the salad:

  • 2.5 kg potatoes
  • some 4 carrots
  • 4 -5? pickled cucumbers
  • some salt
  • 1 big jar of peas (already cooked, drained)
  • egg-whites from 1 or 2 boiled eggs

We decided to make our own mayonnaise, but to also buy some, in case I fail at making the mayo. I remember the first time I made mayonnaise - it was thick, yummy, and I was proud of myself. 

Most likely, after that, I was over-confident, as the next other times I made it, it didn't turn out quite the same. Oh, well, we live, practice, and then we become better. 

For the mayo I used:

  • 1 egg yolk (from a boiled egg)
  • 1 raw egg -whole
  • some mustard 
  • some salt
  • oil (as much as needed)

For decoration: (you can use what you have on hand, these are the most common things you'll see in Romania, on this dish)

  • black olives - pitted
  • pickled red peppers
  • pickled cucumbers
  • pickled carrots
  • fresh parsley (not other herbs)
  • hard-boiled egg(s)
METHOD

For this salad, we have to boil the potatoes and the carrots, then dice them. The dice shouldn't be too small, nor too big. You want the dice to be actually smaller, rather than larger, so that the salad would have a smoother appearance. 

If the dice are larger, the salad will look as if you made it with rocks and boulders instead of potatoes.

We decided to boil these 1 day ahead. And as you can see from my pictures, i boiled the potatoes for far too long. They shouldn't crack like that. The potatoes should be cooked, but firm for this salad.

Maybe I should have used red potatoes? I have no idea, but almost every time I try making this dish, I overboil my potatoes and they're far better mashed than diced. 

As you can see, I used larger pieces of carrots. I think by weight, the carrots are half the weight of the potatoes, maybe even less than that.  

Given the quantities, you'll need a very large bowl in which you'll throw everything for mixing. 

I suggest that on the day you want to prepare this, you first make the mayonnaise. If you don't want to make it, you better buy 2 bigger jars of mayo. 

To make things better, get the fancier, more expensive brand. It should taste better. The type and taste of the pickles, as well as that of the mayonnaise, are the secrets to this dish.

These 2 ingredients will make or break the taste of the whole thing and will decide if you like it or not. 

So, to make mayonnaise, you have to mix the hard-boiled egg yolk, the raw egg yolk, some salt, some mustard, with plenty of oil. 

The best tool for mixing, I noticed/learned to be the vertical blender part of your mixer. You add the oil bit by bit, and you might also need to add some salt and mustard from time to time. 

If you think the mayo looks too thick (almost like cream cheese) you can add the raw egg white as well. Try not to add it all at once as you could ruin the result, or it may take some time for the mayo to re-gain a decently thick consistency (yogurt-like). 

Once you figured the mayo out, cover it and put it in the fridge to rest. Now you can start dicing the potatoes, carrots, and pickles.

You throw these in the large pot/container along with the drained peas. For reference, I used the pot in which I boiled the potatoes after cleaning it.  

At the end, you can also throw in a hard-boiled egg you diced. This improves the taste of the salad. Don't forget to add some salt in with everything, or this will be a bit sweet and tasteless. This is not something you want.

As you can see, I diced my potatoes in sizes that are a bit too big. They should have been half that size, thus slightly larger than the peas. I also forgot to add the salt. And that's not the only thing i forgot to add. 

Now, it's time to add in the mayonnaise and to get your hand dirty. Mixing with a spoon is fine, but I feel I have better control over the mixing process if I use my hand. 

Once you're done, you can transfer the salad to other containers or plates, for decoration. I used 2 plates and a big soup bowl - i forgot its name. 

 And then, you'll need to use your imagination on decorating these. Nature-inspired decor (like flowers, or the sun) looks the best - somehow it balances out the heaviness of the mayonnaise. Red, orange, and black give it a nice visual contrast.

Above, you can see the decor I came up with. I had black olives in the fridge, but i forgot about them at first. I added some after, but i didn't take pictures anymore. 

Like i said, this is best eaten the day after you prepare it, so that the flavors mix in a bit more. We eat this usually on its own, but with bread. Extra pickles also work, as there is plenty of mayonnaise to make one nauseous. I think it's served before dishes with meat. 

I hope you can give this salad a go and that if you do, you'll enjoy it as much as we do. 

Bon Appetit! 

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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Blogmas days 19 through 22

Publié le par Charly C.

Hello Everyone!

This entry is a short overview of Blogmas days 19, 20, 21, and 22. The challenges for days 23 and 24 have never been posted. Even the challenges for these 4 days appeared much later. 

With all these aspects taken into account, this will be the last blogmas entry for me, for this year. 

I'm writing this on the 27th, but thanks to some functionalities, I can post this on any previous day I want (as I type this, I'm still trying to decide on which day to post this). Someone who will read this blog for the first time in the future, will not know without this disclosure. 

I just wanted to mention this, so that those of you who visit my blog will not think your brain is playing tricks on you. 

On with the challenges, shall we?

DAYS 19 and 20

I put together these 2 days because they have the same challenge: finish up the gifts for Christmas

I gifted my partner mostly on Hanukkah and on the virtual-pet site we play. You can read more and see here the gift I prepared for them. 

I still prepared another gift for them. This time a satin poncho/wrap/thing that looks as if it could be some pajama top or cover. 

It can be worn anywhere, any time almost. I want to write a blog entry about how I made it and everything, so please keep an eye out for that. I want to post it before the New Year, but we'll see. 

DAY 21

The challenge for the 21st day of blogmas was to draw a line/conclusion from the statistics (of the blog). 

So, i posted  during 10 months out of 12 in 2020. However, i had people visiting my blog every month. I'll share the data here for transparency, as well as for me to find it easier if i ever want to look back on it (in December 2021 for instance). 

statistics
MONTH #posts VISITS VIEWS
january 3 86 111
february 3 43 49
march - 102 143
april 3 219 252
may 2 111 130
june - 81 100
july 2 80 106
august 2 95 127
september 1 125 171
october 2 218 288
november 2 127 167
december 16 174 213
TOTAL 36 1461 1857

The article with most views is "What is tea like in Romania." I posted a total of 36 articles in 2020, this one not included. 

The only thing i can think of that drove more visits was that i was probably more active on various forums where i have links to my blog/site in the signature. 

DAY 22

For the 22nd day of the blogmas, all we had to do was to enter a contest for a free business account for 1 year! And of course i entered. 

and....

I WON! I WON! I WON! 

I can't believe i won! 

The cost of the Business account is 239.88 euro per year. I had an Individual (lower) account that costs 59.88 euro per year. Those who choose to pay every month, have to pay 23.99 euro/month (or 287.88 euro per year) and 5.99 euro/month (or 71.88 euro per year), respectively.

Now I have to post as much as i humanly can, to take advantage of this offer. 

See you next year!

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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Blogmas day 18 - Read the Over-Blog's staff's blog

Publié le par Charly C.

Hello Dear everyone! 

Today's challenge is to read the blog written by the staff of Over-Blog for the bloggers using this platform. 

This blog is in French, and you can access it here

Here is where the staff shares updates for the platform or where new ideas and subjects are posted, for us to develop on, on our own blogs. 

I personally like seeing what others share. However, it is difficult for me to find someone who i enjoy following. Especially in reading. 

You see, i'm a slow reader. I only read only when i have to - for work, tutorials, recipes, or other instructions. Of course, i read some books as well

I just recently discovered a French creator. She runs the blog Les Creations de Cathy M. but she writes in French. She presents sewing-related creations. However, there are pictures for some of the things she makes. Some of the entries have step-by-step pictures, so it's easy to understand if you don't speak the language. 

I recommend using Google Chrome for the option to translate a page on the spot.

If you prefer sewing blogs in English, try the Camden Stitch blog. Jay, its author, also has a Youtube channel, by the same name. She didn't post recently due to some personal problems, but i'm sure she'll be happy to receive some attention. 

See you in the next entry, because I don't know what else to say. <3 :3

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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Blogmas - days 15, 16, and 17

Publié le par Charly C.

Hello everybody!

Today is the 17th day of Blogmas and you perhaps wonder why didn't I post daily as promised, especially lately.

The answer is pretty simple: not all the challenges were created to writing something. Or if I could have written something, it would have been too short. 

Personally, I don't like very short entries - we have Twitter for that. I also don't read very long entries, and I'm pretty sure nobody really is either. 

Let's have a look at the challenges for the missing days!

DAY 15

For blogmas day 15, we were supposed to make a Christmas wreath. You may wonder why, since for the 5th day of blogmas we had to decorate for the holidays. I mean, it does include putting out a wreath as well, right?  

And you may also remember from the same entry that we don't really have any such decors. 

Well, at the time you may be reading this entry, you may not know, but I have some updates for that blogmas day ;) 

However, I also completed the challenge for the 15th day as well. Well, sort of.... 

I had these magnets on the entrance door. and they were placed in a chaotic manner. 

Now, they're arranged (in no particular) order. But they form a circle more or less, that can be reminiscent of a wreath. a very stylized wreath, if you will. 

Can I get a T for "I tried?" ;p 

DAY 16

To be completely honest with you, I haven't even seen the challenge for this day. Like I mentioned, the challenges are posted on Facebook

Even if I did see it, I wouldn't have been able to write anything because I was out and about for most of the day. This involved a lot of walking. 

When we got home I was tired, I had to write for my day job, as well as cook some food. I also decided to write a review for a beer on my BeingObscure.com website

Writing for my blog would have been impossible. 

In any case, when I finally discovered what the challenge was, I realized I couldn't write much about it anyway. The challenge was to "be positive the whole day."

This challenge did make me think of this entry from about 2 and a half years ago. I can't believe it's been so long since I wrote it. 

I believe we'll have to change our perspective on this year and everything that happened. it's been tough, but we made it. Those who didn't ... let's pray for them and let's not forget them if they were close to us. We can only hope their suffering ended and that they are in a better place, I suppose. Let's not take our lives for granted. 

However, to keep in the spirit of the challenge even more, I'll share with you something that manages to make me feel better and more positive: some nice hot coffee.

a cup of matcha latte from maybe may 2018? december 2019? i forgot.

DAY 17

Today's challenge is to update old entries. This is good practice for bloggers. Over-blog suggests a few ways in which we can do this: 

👉 Update your old items regularly
👉 Create an article on a theme that comes back regularly on your blog
👉 Submit a Best-of-Your-Read Best-of-Your-Best-Read Articles
👉 Link your articles
👉 Repost/share old articles on your social media

I, in fact, recently updated an old entry. It's a recipe and you can see it here

Most of my articles have links - either to other entries on my blog or to other sites, as you can see in this entry. 

Well, this is it for now! see you tomorrow!

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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Blogmas days 12, 13, and 14

Publié le par Charly C.

Hello everyone!

Today's entry is another combined entry. And you'll soon learn why, when i talk about the challenges.

DAY 12

For the 12th day of the challenge, we were instructed to watch a movie. 

We didn't watch any movie, but we do watch a Chinese historical drama called, in English, Ruyi Royal Love in the Palace. You can watch this show on youtube for now. 

We are actually kind of binge-watching it because I'm playing about 2 episodes at once. 

Before the show though, i had to work on the project at hand with the deadline on December 31st. The current project is rather boring, and I'm dragging myself to write it, thus wasting quite a lot of time, sadly. 

We also went to the store and bought some stuff, including some minced meat that became meatballs. I have a recipe for meatballs over here

This time, instead of frying the meatballs, i actually cooked them in the oven. This way, i can cook more at once - this time, all of them, thus saving time. They also turn out less oily, which is better. However I didn't take any pictures, so i'm using the old one.

That day I also made doughnuts. You already know the recipe from here

DAY 13

For the 13th day of the challenge, we had another contest at hand. This meant we didn't need to write any entry. 

Due to some events, ahem/procrastination/ahem, this entry was thought of on this day. I wasn't able to finish it on time, sadly. 

Oh, the result of the contest? Again I didn't win. Maybe next time? 

DAY 14

On the 14th day of blogmas, we're supposed to write an ABOUT ME page. 

OOPS. I just realized i don't have such a page, but now i will have to write one. However, i need to think it out well enough, so i can't publish it for now. 

Once the blogmas challenge is done, I will write such a page and it will be linked at the top, like the others. 

Thank you for your patience with no entries for 2 days in a row. I just condensed 3 shorter entries in a single one. 

See you tomorrow. hopefully.

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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