Online shopping haul

Not long ago I promised I would show you guys the stuff I bought online, from a Chinese website called wish.com.

DISCLAIMER: this is not a sponsored post, I bought everything with my own money, and the opinions are my own!

Online shopping is good, as long as you don’t buy clothes, shoes, or expensive electronics. You must pay attention to what others have to say about the seller too, to see if you can trust  – but even then, you can get cheated.

This site wish is easy to use, you can sign up using your gmail account or even your facebook account. I paid with paypal, but I think credit/debit cards are also accepted.

This is what i ordered – a tote, 3 watches (!),  a deck of regular playing cards, and a tarot deck. I also ordered a bra for my friend – it fits her, but i will not show the actual product, and a whetstone to sharpen knives – it never arrived 😦

This is the Shadowscapes Tarot deck, translated into simplified Chinese, i believe. The English card names are at the top of the cards. There is one typing error on one of the cards “nice of cups” instead of “nine of cups, ” which i find quite funny, especially since this is a good card to get in a reading. The typo is barely noticeable, so it doesn’t bother me.

There are 2 extra blank cards included – I guess I can use them in case I lose one. As you can see the cards are quite long, so normal hand shuffling is a bit difficult. Maybe my palms are too short?

My other card deck is a playing one. But the images are with Vampire Knight, as you can see. Vampire Knight is a manga [Japanese comics] by Hino Matsuri. The cards are quite small compared to the tarot. Shuffling them is so easy!

I must admit, when i got them, i thought they’re bigger – before opening them up. I was quite impressed that they were sealed in plastic – the tarot wasn’t. Once i took them in my hand, i thought they’re really cute because of how small they appeared.

I didn’t use them, but I assume in dim light, it will be difficult to tell which card is which, so probably if you ever get your hands on a similar deck, play your games in stronger light.

So these are the watches I got. Why 3? well, i have a small obsession for watches. I have 4 of them in total. One – the first I ever got, is a Michael Kors. [I can’t really remember where it is] I’m not wearing it because it needs a battery and it had a small accident, and lost a decorative plate. I’m pissed about it – I still have it, but I have trouble putting it back with glue it doesn’t stay.

These watches didn’t arrive all at once, though the green ones have been ordered at the same time. The lighter green one was supposed to be more blueish. but the green one looks amazing! The first one to arrive was the one with a black bracelet. It is a mechanical one – the reason I got it. The other 2 cost me $1 each, and $1 shipping for each. I really liked the design, even though they require a battery.

The seller was nice enough to send them with a battery in AND with the hour set for Romania! how cool is that?

The tote is not as big as I thought it would be. I can fit a 15″ laptop in it, if i put it with the narrow side in. And it doesn’t go in all the way – but I rarely take my laptop with me, so that’s fine. It seems well done, though the sewing could have been more straight – in places where it is noticeable.

I like that it has a small inner pocket. The front is purple, and the other side is gray, like the handles and the bottom. The handles are long enough to allow you to wear the bag on the shoulder.

SHIPPING

The mechanical watch was the first to arrive, after some 3 weeks.  I thought i will never get to see my tarot deck nor my playing cards – they arrived quite late. The bag also arrived quite fast, but i forgot how fast. I also forgot how fast the other items came, but the 2 green watches arrived 1 week apart – shipped separately, though the seller was the same.

Speaking of sellers, there are many sellers on wish, just like on ebay or etsy. The prices can change from one day to the other, but they’re generally low. If you know me, you’ll know these items were cheap – since I hate spending money on expensive stuff.

site pictures VS real item pictures

There are slight color differences between the real life items and the image you see provided by the seller. The light green watch was the biggest offender, but since i like green, I’m not complaining. My light, though natural, wasn’t the best to take pictures. The tarot deck is less intense, much more pastel. As for the mechanical watch – just like with the others, several colors were available, that’s why mine is not golden.

Sadly, if you have a problem with your item, the customer support is from wish, and it is not the seller. you might also have the “luck” of talking to someone who doesn’t speak English well. You have 30 days for returns or refunds. This means i lost whatever I paid for my whetstone.

This is all for now. See you again next week!


©2013-2017 TheOwnerTravelsTo. All rights reserved.

Mara Mura – the sweetest looking cafe in Bucharest

On Sunday I was searching for a place to sit at, have a coffee, relax, study more Chinese, and just hope to people watch. However I found more than I was hoping for: a place where relaxation, cuteness, and inspiration go hand in hand.

The place is called Mara Mura, it is hidden on a narrow, one way street. The location of this cafe couldn’t be more fitting: the cafe is rather small, like a treasure that needs to be found. Just look at the picture above showing just a corner of the quiet terrace: I could spend the whole afternoon here doing nothing but relaxing!

The tables had each a small and cute yellow flower decorating them.

I received my menu and instantly I wondered if I made a mistake by sitting there: the menu was much shorter than what I was used to, however it was sweet and to the point. I ordered an espresso [8 lei = US$1.97 or Euro 1.79] and a Rose Lemonade [15 lei = US$3.69 or Euro 3.36]. I didn’t recognize the classic lemonade on the menu, so I ordered a coffee to be able to “better judge” this cafe. Read my post on how order stuff at new places to make sure you’ll like what you get.

The white and pink jar contains sugar. The yellow one was conveniently holding 3 teaspoons. I didn’t ask for sugar, but the presentation of my coffee exceeded my expectations. But look at my coffee cup! In the picture it seems bigger than it actually is! Is this a tea party for dolls? But it’s all good: espresso is served in small cups like this one. But it’s so cute!

And how about the yellow jar in which they brought not 1, not 2, but 3 teaspoons? Isn’t that adorable? It’s still small, but 2 of those teaspoons were small too: to nicely fit into the espresso cup 😉 By the way, I need to buy one too – I need one of those in my life! Don’t you? It’s made of ceramics, just like the cup and its saucer, so if it breaks, it’s gone!

I’ll have one of these, please! What for? To collect dust in them, of course!

The Rose Lemonade came in an unopened glass bottle. But the taste! The taste! It tasted like roses! as is someone made lemonade out of roses! No wonder it was called that! Take a closer look at the bottle – this is not made in Romania, but the owner did us a favor by importing this!

Yea, I drank it all before taking a closer picture of it. ooops!

This is not all! As I was enjoying my coffee, some British chicks came and sat at the next table. Two of them went inside to see what else they had and came out all excited reporting to their other friend “they have all sorts of good stuff!” Naturally, I had to go investigate! 

I didn’t expect to enter Candy Land! But, silly me not to believe the sign on the [other] window!

And the interior! it was amazing! The first thing i saw was these cakes!

OMG! I was salivating! I don’t think my picture taking skills do these desserts any justice! [but I hope this blog entry might] And, Wait! there’s more!

Chocolate! Macarons! Big cake! mini cakes! all the good stuff!

This is not all, because the interior is also nicely decorated. Furthermore, you can buy books too! and possibly other stuff as well, but I didn’t pay much attention to the other exposed merch. But here is just a sample of the art and one of the books! I believe it’s a children’s book, it is rather thin with hard covers. The art is really sweet too!  This book is written in Romanian and costs 35 lei if I remember correctly. That means US$8.62 or Euro7.85, but it’s a cute memento, right?

When I went to pay, I also got a slice of cake to go – I really wanted to enjoy it at home to relax for longer, of course. Want to see what I got?

Apple cake covered in confectioners sugar sold by weight and my piece cost a bit over 8 lei. The manager was beyond nice and gave me 2 choux on the house – I had to explain why was I taking so many pictures of the place. In case you don’t know, many cafes or cake places don’t allow people taking pictures of their shelves. This rule is also reinforced in the malls, stores, and supermarkets. The choux on the left was with coffee, the other one with passion fruit. I liked the one with passion fruit more, perhaps because I could barely feel the coffee in the other one. 

The apple cake! OMG! SO SOFT! and it doesn’t taste like apple pie, but like apple cake! These desserts are sweet but subtle. I generally dislike buying Romanian sweets because I don’t find them sweet.. as if they forget to add the sugar. But these beauties had a reasonable amount of sugar: not overly sweet. I recommend having these with milk-coffee, or with some subtle tasting tea. 

This is the box my cakes were packed in: simple, cute, and elegant at the same time. How nice!

I totally recommend this relaxation oasis to anyone who wants to unwind and enjoy some home-made sweets at the same time. Please go check their website [it’s in Romanian], like them on FaceBook, and follow them on Instagram as well! you won’t regret it!

I forgot to mention there’s a swing in the shop’s window. How cool is that? In any case, now that I know where this treasure is, I’ll go again to buy more sweets 😉 and Rose Lemonade!


©2013-2016 TheOwnerTravelsTo. All rights reserved.

Tips on testing a new cafe

Last week I went out to have a drink and relax. I had no idea where to go and I just wandered around until I found this cafe called The Drunken Lords.

The cafe, or bar -as I’m not entirely sure what its label is- is located in the Historic Center of Bucharest. This area is full of cafes, restaurants, bars, night clubs, and even random shops, especially those selling wedding gowns. I may show some of these stores in a future entry.

I never went here before, and I often go to new places just because. The downside is that I never know how the service or the drinks are.

I came up with a simple and rather sure way of testing out new cafes. I will share my observations with you, because you know, “sharing is caring,” and I started this blog for this particular reason.

Check out the atmosphere of the place.

This means you need to observe “each detail.” For instance, what do the seats and the tables look like? Do they seem comfortable? How many people can they accommodate? What type of decorations are there on the walls? Is there a funny scent, or is it too smoky?

The Drunken Lords had tables for two but tables for 4 or 6 persons as well. The  owner or the designer thought about using a combination of chairs and sofas [or couches] to appeal to the preferences of more people.

I sat on a chair, while my friend used the sofa to sit at the same table.

I really liked the wall decor and this is why I took two pictures of it. One of the walls was completely covered in these old books – most likely nobody would have read them anymore. Among all those books, some really old fashion suitcases were also sprinkled. You can actually see a little bit of one of them in the above picture.

I didn’t take a better picture because it took me minute to realize what was I looking at, and was feeling self conscious taking pictures. On another wall, the designer used the portrait of a gentleman [see below] – too bad my phone and the spotlight were at a bad angle. I really liked how the middle section was left as it was while the upper and the lower sections seem painted over.

Check the bathroom

You may not need to go, but you should still go wash your hands before consuming anything. This is exactly what I also did. Having a look at the cafe’s restroom is a great indicator of the care they put in serving their clients.

Luckily most of the restrooms I went to while being at a cafe, were CLEAN. They might not have someone to clean the place after each person, nor advanced Japanese toilets, but you won’t feel like throwing up while walking in there.

I never sit on the toilet seat, but that’s a different story. This restroom was not only clean, but it was nicely scented too. They have one for the ladies and one for the gents, separated, unlike many other places. 2 people can go in 2 separate stalls at the same time, and there were 2 sinks with soap and paper towel dispensers as well.

Can you tell I was nicely impressed?

Pay attention to the staff

Of course, many people would pay attention to the staff, and notice faster if the staff is rude or not polite enough.

The folks on duty on that evening were all smiles and excited to talk to me and my friend. This made the experience more relaxed and much more pleasant.

There is one slight minus that happens virtually everywhere I go: when the order came, there was no napkin in sight! 0.0 I realized this when it was too late, and took my own out [taken from another cafe. When our waiter noticed, he got upset, but he didn’t say a word. ooopsies]

I should have asked for some, but I’m not sure why I didn’t.

The way your bill is presented at the end is also important. Since you’re going to a more fancy place, you should receive it inside a little something, and not just given in your hand. Different locations have different ways of presenting it: in glasses, inside small fancy looking boxes, or specially created cases.

Place your order

This step is one of the most important one when going to a cafe or restaurant. However you must be prepared ahead of time.

What I like doing is quite simple, and uses common sense [I noticed not many people still have it these days, sadly].

I order some drinks I really like and that are super easy to get right or fail. [Well, I also pay attention to the quantity and the price, to see how ‘fair’ they are or if they’re trying to rip customers off – this is something that happens at times].

We ordered a lemonade and a hot chocolate with a side of a standard drink – Pepsi Cola [hey, Pepsi folks! can I get some change here for advertising your drink? =P LOL]. Pepsi was the last resort if we hated the other two drinks 😉

Lemonade is something REALLY easy to make. And it might sound ridiculous to some of those reading this entry, but I had a few places bringing me a NASTY lemonade. If they don’t know how to make a decent lemonade, how are they going to make other more complicated drinks?

The staff at The Drunken Lords made a nice lemonade for me. Its size was decent too – not too large and not too small either. I also found its price rather fair, so I can’t complain in this regard.

Hot chocolate is something that I had a bad experience with on a few occasions. This one was a good one, and therefore I have no complaints here either. The bad experiences were related to watered down chocolate, and the drink not being hot enough [at the same time too at least once], OR it being a pudding chocolate.

Hot chocolate is supposed to be like hot Nutella and a bit more creamy or liquid when hot. And the barista at The Drunken Lords did just that. YAY! [can I get some cash for advertising Nutella as well?]

All in all, I had a nice time there. I also liked it because at the time it was mostly empty, so it was more quiet.

The music was nice as well. At least in the beginning of my stay, because I can’t remember the whole playlist, but the music was pleasant all the way.

If you’re in Bucharest, you should totally check this place out. This is their website.


©2013-2016 the owner travels to. All rights reserved.

Why does a blogger’s life seem perfect?

It’s been a long time – my offline life changed for a while, now it seems to be back to ‘normal.’ I just want to share a few thoughts and insights regarding the life of a blogger [or a vlogger].

I’m not going to lie here: I read several blogs and follow several vloggers on Youtube. What’s more is that they seem to lead a perfect or ideal life – it most certainly looks better than mine, from my point of view.

But that’s just MY point of view.

However, I did notice how others seem to share this impression, but the reality is different.

The internet is everyone’s tool and chance to become famous.  Or to at least get noticed a little.

Some people are more successful or lucky than others, and they become quite famous online. Some of them use their online fame to make a change in the [offline] world around them.

This is something I also secretly dream of. But I’m not going to put my hopes too high.

In any case, I recently realized that most of us that decided to share our experiences with the world have one thing in common:

We present a chopped, idealized reality.

And we do so because we want to inspire others to be better people and not do the mistakes we make.

You could say we are selling dreams.

Except, not all of us are receiving money for this.

The internet is literally a shopping street, and with the right tools, some of us can show you our dreams while earning some money as well.

I did mention before that some bloggers and vloggers share their experiences and opinions as to inspire others as well. Some of them started their blogs and channels from a passion they had – beauty, fashion, gaming – or because they have a rare life-style – married to people from a different culture, living in a foreign country, so on.

Everyone wants to lead a better life, and some people are simply scared to do what it takes to live their dreams.

All bloggers and vloggers took it upon themselves to show the world that it is not impossible to live a [near] impossible dream.

It just takes a lot of hard work, courage, and will power.

They are showing the world no dream is impossible if enough passion is used while working. Some of them managed to start their own businesses through which they do whatever they can to help other people to follow their dreams for a better life.

A blogger’s life is not perfect, because they are just humans, and there is no perfect human out there. They might have reached the “star” status, but even so, not even “stars” have a perfect life.

Bloggers choose to show the better parts of their life for two reasons:

  1. life is too short and full of negativity and they [we] choose to spread a positive attitude and energy.
  2. one cannot inspire others into become better and more brave by sharing the bad parts in their life.

I hope you can now better understand why the life of a blogger seems perfect, but it actually isn’t.


©2013-2016 the owner travels to. All rights reserved.

March 1st, or the Mărțișor

Hello world~~~

This country is full of traditions. One of them is related to March 1st. It is called Mărțișor and the word itself has 3 language specific letters and sounds that simply drive me crazy, hopefully you can see them as well. But this is a story for another entry.

There are a lot of interesting things to know about this celebration, but it is easier to link you to the page with more information on it, Wikipedia. Don’t worry, this time you can believe what’s being said, hehe.

What you need to know is that women or girls are the ones receiving and wearing this trinket. It can be gifted by men or women. The age of the receiver or of the one giving doesn’t really matter though.

Picture belongs to Andreirusan, on Wikipedia. This is a traditional motif for the Mărțișor

This is what  the Mărțișor usually looks like in real life. As you can see, the Mărțișor is a rather small trinket tied with a red and white string. Clearly, people around here make bigger objects too, like brooches, bracelets, or necklaces.

This celebration, like many others, offers a VERY good excuse for many businesses to sell more. The most popular type of merchandise to sell for Mărțișor is jewelry of any kind. These trinkets are sold almost anywhere and almost anyone can sell them.

Handmade trinkets should be the norm when offering them, but locals are not very opened to the idea of buying unique items for which a person spend a few hours working. They rather buy something made by some machine. As a side note, the majority of the locals look down upon handmade items.

What would you like to receive for Mărțișor?