Friday, September 29, 2017

Ebay experience ~ a bad one.

Hello everyone!!!

As it usually happens, my blog went on vacation during summer. Well, I'm happy to be back at typing and sharing again some thoughts, recipes and things going on in my life.
What I'm going to share with you today is my latest experience with Ebay. I'm sure everybody knows what Ebay is....{well, people like my Mom may not know what it is..} In very poor words, it's a website where you can sell and buy things, used or new. You can find anything! 
I've been on Ebay since 2013, you can check my profile HERE if you want. I have bought a few things at very good prices and sold some things as well. I never had any problems until last month, when I learned something really important: Be Really Careful, Don't Be Stupid. Yep, that's it.
I decided to sell my beloved phone (Samsung Note 4), because it was getting old, my battery wasn't working properly anymore. I listed it for $150 and quickly sold it! I didn't imagine it would sell that fast. To be honest I was going to change the description of my phone, as I had described it as "in great conditions" as it looked brand new. (Here comes my mistake) I was going to specify that it might have a battery problem, but someone bought it right in that moment! My heart started pumping....$150 is a lot of money, at least for me. I wrote a message to the buyer right away, explaining that there might be a problem with the phone and that I could just give him his money back right away. Well, he sounded fine with the phone not working well, that he could have bought a new battery, etc. He asked me to go ahead and send it to him.
I felt relieved and at peace with my conscience. I sent the phone and in the next couple of days I spent all the money, as I badly needed it.
A few days go by and the buyer starts complaining that the phone doesn't work , it was not as described in the listing, blah blah blah.... WHAT???? I specifically wrote to him in private and he told me to send it anyway!!!! That was my innocent and naive (or stupid) reaction. 
He wanted his money back. The problem is...... I didn't have his money anymore! {or any other money...yes, that's how we live, money comes and goes day by day, some days we have a lot, some day we have zero}. 
END OF THE STORY: Ebay held the money from my PayPal account for a couple weeks {through which my transaction was made}, so now I had a negative balance.. they waited for the buyer to send me back the phone and then collected the money straight from my bank!!!! 
That was NOT a nice surprise. Especially when you count every penny in your bank account.
True, I should have not spent that money until I was sure that the customer was happy. The problem is that I was convinced he was ok with it, as I had warned him.
It has been pretty stressful and just so you know.......the buyers on Ebay always win. I have lost because of my ignorance and ingenuity. Well, now I know and I hope never to make that mistake again. And if you are buying something and you are not happy with it, I know you'll get your money back!! But please, don't take advantage of people.

Have you had bad experience selling stuff online? I'd like to know, to learn more about this cyber world out there.

Thanks for listening!

Hugs to you,




Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Sweetest tea party




I've always loved a cup of tea in the afternoon. Today I prepared some scones from scratch for the first time. I had recently bought a jar of clotted cream, as I was so curious to see what it tastes like, and I know it needs to be spread on scones together with delicious jam. 

The scones came out delicious (I followed this RECIPE).

             

The clotted cream can be described as a fluffy, sweet butter. It was fresh, dense and it created a perfect marriage with the jam. I am not deceived but very happy with my purchase. It's a product of England, not easily found in the States unless it's imported.
You can order some HERE .

              xoxo,





Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Experiencing Amazon Flex ~ a job review

Buongiorno everyone!!

Today I'd like to share with you my latest job experience... well, it's actually my husband's job at the moment, but I was able to accompany him and help him out. Have you heard of AMAZON FLEX? It's a service provided by amazon in order to deliver packages quicker. My husband was hired as a driver and yesterday I was his helper.



This is what you need for this job:

  • a good working CAR (and drivers' license)
  • a good working SMART PHONE
  • lots of PATIENCE in traffic

This is how it works:

~You NEED the Amazon Flex App on your phone (it will be given to you once you are approved)

~Everyday you'll receive a notice of available jobs in your area. Choose one if you're available!

~You'll drive to the amazon warehouse at the specific time given, you check-in,  they will give you boxes to deliver in a specific area of your town (or a nearby town).

~You will have a time-slot of 3 hours to deliver all the packages (or most of them).

~During the delivery, your GPS will take you to the different homes, one by one.

~Find the package to deliver, scan the code with your phone and leave it at the people's front door (don't forget to ring the bell!)

~Once the working hours are up you can go home (only if you have delivered everything, if not you have to return the extra packages to the warehouse. You are paid for those specific hours...exactly $54).

This is a great part-time job, maybe for students or if you have time to make some extra bucks. It really depends on your availability. You decide when to work, what day, what time... all you need is checking the app on your phone and decide if you want to make some money or not.

YESTERDAY'S EXPERIENCE:

We had to deliver 49 packages in 3 hours..... it was very difficult!! I can already tell you that we were able to deliver only half of them.
The difficulty was the traffic (we happened to have to deliver packages in a very busy area of Sacramento), apart from the amount of packages in the car! That was actually kind of fun for me, and a good way to help my husband, while he was driving to the place I was able to look for the specific package, searching among the mountain of packages inside our car! (see pictures below)
We would take turns to deliver them at the front doors.
The hardest places for delivery are the apartments! Many times it's difficult to find the number and that can slow you down a bit.
While you drive you feel the pressure to get to the place you need to go as soon as possible. I was wondering what all those packages may contain, maybe something really important, and I was the one delivering it! Such a great task. I felt really bad when I saw we couldn't finish delivering all the packages, but with only 3 hours and that traffic, and that amount of boxes...it was literally impossible.
It's not the same every time. This was yesterday. I liked the experience and I know I will go again because I felt useful and it made it a little easier for my husband who was stressed-out enough just by driving and following the GPS' directions.

INSIDE OUR CAR:





If you are interested in this job and you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments!! Me and my husband will answer you according to our experience. 

Have a great day!!!!


xoxo,

P.S.  Nobody pays me for this post, this is just my experience and my personal thoughts.


Friday, May 12, 2017

Matcha Love ~ Yes or No?

Hello everyone!!

I was wondering if also you have the "matcha fever"..I don't even know if that's a thing, but I have been noticing more and more how popular matcha is becoming. If you are among those who don't know what I'm talking about, you can get instructed through this LINK and wikipedia will magically answer all your questions.

Have you ever tried a "matcha Latte"? It's something looking like this:

Image result for matcha latte
You can find the recipe here from bon appetit


You'll need this for the Latte recipe.


It looks and sounds delicious, a creamy green tea... kind of like a mixture between a tea and a cappuccino! It's on my wish-list of new drinks to try.

My only experience with matcha is the KitKat candy bar!! I was so fortunate to have a friend traveling through Japan, I asked him to buy me one "green KitKat" and he brought me a whole box!! I have been sharing the delicious treats with my husband and kids. I posted a picture on my Instagram and a few people were curious about it...so I decided to share the link where you all can find it without having to go to Japan! You need to try it!


Happy Shopping!!

Please let me know your experience about this new trend!! Have you tried anything matcha? Do you like it? Leave a comment if you like.

xoxo,




Tuesday, April 25, 2017

La La Land ~ movie review


"City of Stars...are you shining just for me?..."
I don't know about you but this is my favorite song from the big time Oscar winner musical "La La Land". Whenever I hear that song it takes me back to Valentine's Day when my husband took me on a date to watch it. I didn't know what to expect as I hadn't yet read any review, I didn't know anything about the plot, I just knew it was a musical.
I love musicals, I have acted in some when I was younger {yes, I love to act and sing}. Not many musicals have touched my heart as much as this one. I love the story, the slow and calm flow of the plot, as if it were an old movie from the 50's. It really seems that it was performed in that era, for the way the characters were dressed and also how "clean" and non-provocative the romance is portrayed. Instead there are some elements such as cellphones, remote controls and electrical keyboards that show the times of today. Was it the intention of the director to combine the two different eras? I don't know, but it's a detail that I really liked.
I don't want to give any spoilers, so I won't speak about the story, the only thing I want to say in particular is that the end left me with some bitterness...maybe because I'm very romantic and I was hoping for a different, maybe more cliche' ending, but it was not the case. Would I change the end? Probably not, because that's one of the elements that makes this movie so unique.
My absolute favorite thing about this musical is of course...the music!! I listen to the songs almost everyday. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone have amazing voices and great talent, even at dancing! The tap-dancing scene is my favorite..I wish I could dance like that. Also the scenery, the amazing views and panoramas, the whole thing just makes you dream. It really depicts well a "la la land", so far from reality, where all of us like to escape when life becomes heavy. I think it's okay every now and then to dream, the important thing is to know how to wake-up.

xoxo,
Picture is from this website

You can purchase the movie soundtrack clicking on my amazon affiliate link:

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Madeleines Cookie Recipe

Bonjour!!!
Yes, this is the proper way to start this blog-post as today I'm going to share with you one of my signature recipes.... the Madeleines Cookies, those delicious French little pastries, or soft cookies; I love them so much and they are a big success every time I have guests.
I made them this morning and I took pictures to give you a step-by-step photo-recipe. Are you ready?

Here it is!


Recipe for 12 cookies

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 EGGS
  • 2 tbsp SUGAR
  • 2 tbsp POWDER SUGAR
  • 1 tsp VANILLA EXTRACT
  • 1 tsp ALMOND EXTRACT
  • 1/4 cup SELF-RAISING FLOUR
  • 1/4 cup regular FLOUR
  • 6 tbsp BUTTER
  • 1 tbsp HOT WATER
  • extra powder sugar for dusting


 
Mix eggs, both sugars and extracts until smooth.

 
Add both flours, sifted together, and keep mixing.

 Melt the butter and slowly add it to the batter, also the water.

 
Pour the batter into a Madeleines` pan. After having carefully buttered and floured it.

 
Cook in preheated oven at 400 F degrees for 10 minutes.



You will see that a little dome will form on top of the cookie...that's a perfect result! They are so good with a cup of tea or coffee. The only indispensable tool is the Madeleines' pan, if you don't have one you can find it here:



Let me know how they come out!!!

xoxo,


This recipe is my own and as an amazon affiliate, I will receive a small commission if you click and buy from my links. Thank you!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

My Ricotta Cake

Goodmorning!!
it's Spring Break and my children are all home. They are still all asleep, I was able to wake-up early to sip my big cup of caffe'-latte while reading the news and catching-up on my instagram feed, I love checking everybody's pictures and new posts, it gives me a lot of inspiration.
So, in this time of peace and calm I'll take advantage to share with you a delicious cake I made a few days ago. In Italy it's a classic: the Ricotta Cake. I used to make it all the time, then somehow I forgot about it, maybe because here in the States I never eat ricotta, as it's very different from the one I was used to eat. I saw a recipe online and I suddenly remembered the taste and how soft and tender that cake was. I had to make it!! I adapted the recipe to my taste and memories.
Here it is.

MY RICOTTA CAKE


Ingredients:

  • 3 EGGS (whites and yolks separated)
  • 1 cup of SUGAR
  • 7 tbsp of BUTTER (melted)
  • 1 cup of RICOTTA
  • 1 cup of FLOUR
  • 1 tsp of BAKING POWDER
  • LEMON ZEST (1 lemon)
  • 1 cup of CHOCOLATE CHIPS (semi-sweet)
  • POWDER SUGAR for dusting
  1. Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until fluffy and pale yellow. 
  2. Add the ricotta and keep mixing until smooth and the melted butter.
  3. Sift-in the flour together with the baking powder.
  4. Beat the egg whites until firm and gently add them to the batter, mixing softly, making sure they don't get flat.
  5. Gently mix-in also the lemon zest and at last the chocolate chips.
  6. Grease and flour dust a cake pan (9 inches), add the batter and put in preheated oven at 350 F degrees for 30-35 minutes. (Always insert a tooth-pick in the cake to check if it's well cooked. If it comes out clean, it means the cake is done). 
  7. Dust your cake with powder sugar and serve.
It's a very simple recipe and you'll see how good it is!! Everyone will love it! My children were a little skeptical at first but they ate it all! I hope you'll enjoy it as well.

xoxo,






Friday, March 31, 2017

Lemon Bundt Cake Recipe ~ Ciambellone recipe

Hello Everyone!!!

I noticed it has been a while since I have shared a recipe on this blog. I cook a lot everyday, of course I need to feed my five children and husband, but I mostly do it because I love it. Yes, I cook lunch and dinner....and "merenda" everyday. Merenda is the Italian word for "snack-time", you know, the little snack children need after school. I usually bake a cake. The one I want to share with you is from a recipe I learned last year from a very good friend. It's called "ciambellone" {pron. CHAM-BELL-OH-NAY}...meaning "big donut". It's absolutely not a donut, it just has the same shape. :) Here it is:



CIAMBELLONE recipe {or LEMON BUNDT CAKE}

Ingredients:
  • 1 -1/4 cup of SUGAR
  • 3 EGGS
  • 1/2 cup of VEGETABLE OIL
  • 1 cup MILK
  • 1-1/4 cup of  FLOUR
  • 1 LEMON (zest + juice)
  • 1 tsp BAKING POWDER

  1. Mix well the eggs with the sugar until fluffy.
  2. Add slowly the oil, the flour, baking powder and milk.
  3. Grate the zest of the lemon, then add its juice.
  4. Pour the batter in a greased bundt cake mold.
  5. Cook in oven at 180 degrees for 30 minutes. 

Please enjoy!!! My family loves it, it's usually all gone quickly. Let me know if you make it and how it comes out!! 


xoxo,




Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Mother's Day Gift Ideas


Hi!!
I know we are not that close to Mother's Day yet, but it's already almost Easter and it will be shortly after that! Sunday May 14th to be exact.
I was surfing around the internet and I found this quote:

Image result for mother quotes

To all the mamas out there....don't you agree?? :)) It's true that some days I have barely enough energy to do the work of one...but most of the days this is the reality! I don't know about you, but I don't remember ever seen my mom just sitting down doing nothing. It must be in our veins, stuff needs to be done! For the love of our husbands and children... and our sanity. ;)
So, I decided to make a list of things that our Moms {or yourself, if you are a mom} would love as a present for Mother's Day. These are things that I would be happy to receive...

{a click on the images will take you to its link}


FOR THE COOKING MOM:

          

FOR THE TEA LOVER:


FOR THE COFFEE MOM:



FOR THE CRAFTY MOM:



FOR THE GLAM MOM:



As I said, these are just ideas... I had fun looking for different gifts. In the end, Mom would be probably happy even with just a hug and "I love you". 


xoxo,