Travel Tips

Thursday, July 23, 2015


All summer long, we have been traveling. We have (literally) been living out of our suitcases. We're not complaining though because we love traveling! Whether you are traveling by plane, car, or any other method of transportation, we bet you can agree that while traveling is fun, it can certainly get hectic at times. That's why we have compiled some (hopefully) helpful tips for you today!
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Start packing early
We cannot emphasize this enough! We are definitely guilty of saving our packing for the night before an early morning flight. We become rushed and try to figure everything out last-minute which is not a pretty situation. If you start packing for a trip a few days in advance, you will feel less stressed and will still have a peice of mind at the end of the day.


Make sure you take your passport, ticket, and other documents
You do not want to be the person that gets to the airport and realizes that you have forgotten to take perhaps the most important items with you. We recommend that you have a specific place in your bag for your passport, documents, and airplane ticket. You could also put them in a big ziploc bag or small wallet so you have everything in one place.

Checklist for what to do before you leave for an international vacation.


Make a checklist
Write a checklist of things you don't want to forget when packing. Print out an extra as well to use when your leaving from your trip. This way you'll know exactly what you brought and you can make sure you haven't left anything behind!

Packing Tips: International Carry On Checklist

Look at multiple websites when booking a flight or trip
Ticket and hotel prices can vary from one website to another so it's good to always check all of your options! You could be missing out on a cheaper flight or hotel if you stop yourself on the first website you look at! *The earlier you book your flight or trip, the better. You will be able to get cheaper prices and you will have more time to look at options.

Use a ‘Fake’ Location to Get Cheaper Plane Tickets >> I have done this and it definitely does work!

Pack snacks for your flight
We tend to not like the food served by airlines, especially when we are flying overseas and they offer dinner. That's why we opt to pack our own snacks for flights. Always go for packaged food items or things that don't get easily smashed, as they don't make a big mess. Things like trail mix, granola, dried fruit, candy and sandwiches are good options for plane munchies.


Plan out your time + know your gate and terminal
If you have connecting flights, make sure to keep in mind how much time you have at each airport. Knowing what terminal and gate you need to get to will save you major time. It can become very stressful if you have a short stay at each airport but don't panick! Just create a plan of action. Also, don't be embarrassed if you have to do some running through the airport. Catching your flight is more important than what people think of you. Trust us when we say that you will not be the first person to be rushing through an airport.



We hope these tips have been helpful. We are in no way traveling experts, but we travel frequently enough to understand a thing or two about airports, planes, and packing. We hope you will keep these things in mind next time you find yourself traveling.


All photos courtesy of Pinterest and Google Images


xoxo

Qaskin Black Personal Use


Updates on Simply Semisweet

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


Hey everyone! I hope you are all liking this blog! We have been ecstatic about all the page views and viewers we have been getting lately. Thank you for the attention! We hope this blog can live up to not only our expectations, but everyone else's as well. We just wanted to write a quick blog post talking about some recent changes we have made to the blog. 

We have been working very hard these past couple of days on updating and making big changes to this blog. You may notice that we changed the design and layout of this blog. We wanted to give it a new, more professional look. For two twins who know little to nothing about web design and technology tricks in general, we think we did a pretty good job. We are very pleased with the outcome of all our hard work, and we hope you guys are too! We changed up the theme and made other design/layout changes. Also, the sidebar has now been changed a bit as well. We are still working on it, but for now we have included things like what networks we have joined, our social media contacts (click the buttons in the sidebar to be directed to our social media pages), and even a Daily Horoscope gadget for anyone who is interested. Both of us are obsessed (and we do not put this lightly) with horoscopes and zodiac signs. Believe what you will, but this subject has become of great interest to us. Anyways, back to the point, you can click on your sign to receive and read your daily horoscope. We just wanted you guys to be aware of these changes and would love your feedback!

We have also taken liberty in creating a Contact Us page on the navigation bar up top on our blog. Feel free to send us an email if you have any questions, comments, or even if you just want to chat. We'd love to connect more with our readers! Also, don't forget to give us a follow on any one of our social media pages. 

We are sorry we have not been able to post as much as we would like to. Our summer has been surprisingly hectic and busy-but productive. We have done a lot of traveling and also have taken up an online class which has kept us busy all summer. But no excuses, we will try to be more consistent! We have a lot of new ideas for blog posts which we are excited to start writing! Again, feel free to email or direct message any one of us on our social media's if you want us to write about any specific topic. We love you all!


Qaskin Black Personal Use




Travel Diaries // Stavros, Greece

Monday, July 20, 2015

Hey everyone! We started our Travel Diaries series to document all the trips we go on because it is safe to say we are avid travelers. We have been blessed with the opportunity to get to explore many beautiful places, and we continue to travel and see even more places around the world. We have done a lot of traveling this summer (some of which we have yet to share with you) and marked a few places off our bucket lists! We just traveled to Greece and marked it off of our bucket list, so we had to share this experience with you guys!


We visited a cute village called Stavros, Greece. Unfortunately, this is the only place we got to thoroughly explore in Greece as we were short on time, but we still enjoyed every minute of it! The town was mainly made for tourists and vacationers looking to spend some sunny and relaxing days at the beach and wander around a typical Greek village. There were people from all nationalities vacationing in Stavros, and we heard many different languages being spoken. It is always interesting for both of us to be a part of such an international mix of people. Fortunately we are fluent in both English and Bulgarian and got around just fine! We also realized how much we are looking forward to "Greek life" in college when we had no trouble reading most of the Greek letters on signs. Of course, there's always the situation where cute boys try and talk to you but complications arise when you can't seem to find a common language between the two of you, but those are minor details.  

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We report with great enthusiasm that the beaches in Greece did not disappoint! The water was a beautiful blue with minimal waves, and pretty rocks of all shapes, sizes, and colors instead of seashells. The water also sparkled like you wouldn't believe. The pictures up above should give you guys an idea of just how magical it was. Furthermore, the sand was fine and super soft beneath our feet making the beach even more enjoyable. Did we mention the water was pleasantly warm? We swam at least a kilometer into the sea without getting cold! The view was also one for the books! We are certain there are even prettier places in Greece, but this beach still had an amazing view. Looking to our left and right side we saw mountains with beautiful, green forestation. Up ahead in the ocean was a dock where fishermen park their small boats and fish all day. Also, the endless outstretch of the sea made it seem never-ending. It truly was breathtaking and something you'd have to see to believe. 

Gyros in Stavros, Greece
Of course, what's a trip to a new place without trying their famous cuisine and popular treats? Greece is very famous for their Gyros-which we obviously sat down and tried- and we give them our approval. They were very delicious! A Gyro is a Greek dish made with meat that is roasted on a vertical spit and is served in pita bread with tomatoes, onions, tzatziki sauce, and other condiments. We asked for Gyros with chicken, since we are not fans of other types of meat. We also asked them to hold the onions, but we are sure they would be good with onions included as well. The overall combination of all ingredients made for a  mouth-watering meal. They also usually put french fries on top. We took them off, since we don't like french fries, but we still give the Gyros a 10/10! We also ate some Baklava for dessert. Baklava has been one of our favorite desserts since we were young since it is a traditional dessert in Bulgaria as well, but Greek Baklava is by far our favorite kind. We also ate some really yummy white lemon gelato (which is not exactly Greek, but still amazing just the same.) 

So now, we wave goodbye to this lovely trip. We were both very impressed with the beauty Greece had to offer! Also, even with the current situation in Greece, all the personnel still managed to be upbeat and happy, which impressed us even more. Everyone was very hospitable and welcoming, looking to cater to our needs as best as they could. It was an unforgettable experience filled with many laughs and wonderful memories. 

Bye Greece! "Sea" you later! Please laugh at our pun. Okay, thanks.


Qaskin Black Personal Use

Rainy Day To-Do List

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


Have you ever found yourself stuck indoors on a rainy day and you're bored out of your mind? Or maybe you just never even got out of your bed that morning because the rain made you tired and all of the sudden its five o'clock in the afternoon and you've achieved absolutely nothing? Do not worry because I am here today to give you some ideas for what to do on a rainy day!


Put your skills in food preparation to the test- Put on an apron and make something homemade. This is a good rainy day activity because you can eat whatever you've made when your done! Personally, I could scroll through my Pinterest for hours and more often than not, I find myself scrolling through delicious looking recipes. A  rainy day could be just what I need to finally try out one of those recipes.

Organize- Rainy days are the perfect time to catch up on cleaning. If you really put your mind to it, your living space could be nice and clean within half a day or so. Listening to music always really helps me when I am cleaning since it makes the ordeal a little less painful.

Crafting- Crafting definitely requires some time and effort if you want good results so this activity is a pretty solid option for when you're cooped up inside for a day.

Lazy Day- This could be the perfect opportunity for you to catch up on your favorite TV shows or watch a good movie with a nice cup of warm tea. Maybe you've been stressed out a lot and this could come as a much needed de-stressor!

Invite some friends over for a Girls Night In- Take out your favorite board games, create a homemade indoor spa, or just sit down to have a life chat with your friends. You won't regret opting for some girl time on this otherwise boring day- I promise! 

Book a trip- Do you need to book a trip to somewhere and it either keeps slipping your mind or there's simply just other stuff to be done? The rainy weather that has you holed up inside could provide you with the perfect opportunity to get this done!

xoxo


Summer Playlist 2015

Saturday, July 11, 2015


Summer Playlist 2015

July 11, 2015


Hey everyone! Recently we have been listening to a lot of music (okay, lets be honest, when do we not?) and we wanted to share some of our favorite songs of this summer with you guys.We like to listen to a wide variety of music, therefore have conjured up a random-seeming playlist for you guys, but we promise it is good! This playlist includes all different styles of music and songs-some old and some new- and we hope you can find a few to start listening to! Disclaimer: Yes, we are aware that this list is pretty long, but as we have already mentioned, we listen to A LOT of music. 

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(Click the titles for the lyric videos)

Bottle It Up// Sara Bareilles

Piano// Ariana Grande

50 Ways to Say Goodbye// Train

Pony (It's Okay) // Erin McCarley

Shut Up and Dance// Walk The Moon

Uncharted// Sara Bareilles

Shot Me in the Heart// Christina Perri 

Everybody// Ingrid Michaelson

Listen// Beyonce

Hurt// Christina Aguilera

Drops of Jupiter// Train

Ghost// Ella Henderson

Bartender// Lady Antebellum

Black Horse and the Cherry Tree// KT Tunstall

Brighter Than the Sun// Colbie Caillat

Can't Take My Eyes Off You// Frankie Valli

Honey Honey// ABBA

Vienna// Billy Joel

Everything// Michael Buble

Use Somebody// Kings of Leon

Drop in the Ocean// Ron Pope

Happy Ending// MIKA

Hero// Enrique Iglesias



Qaskin Black Personal Use

Summer Reads

Sunday, July 05, 2015



Image result for books header


So if you're anything like us, having a good book to read on the beach is a must. Even if you aren't at the beach (and wish you were), having a good book on hand is always a good idea during the summer. Recently with all of the traveling we've been doing and the many hours we've spent in a car, having great books is one of the only reason we don't mind being cooped up in a car for hours on end.


Some of our favorite summer reads:
(click on the book title for a book description/summary)

Looking for Alaska- We just read this John Green classic, and although we may have been a little bit late doing so, we enjoyed the book all the same. This gripping story about love, finding yourself, and going outside of your comfort zone, made the story very exciting to read.

Where Things Come Back- We hadn't heard of this book before we were given a copy of the book to read on our excursions. Set in the made-up town of Lily, Arkansas, this book has a lot of small town charm. Whether it be the surprising return of a bird that hadn't been seen in town for more than a while or the mysterious disappearance of the main character's brother, this book is full of humor and lessons as well as a hint of sadness and regret.

Cleopatra's Moon- If you're interested in Cleopatra and her story, this page turner is for you. Centered around the daughter of Cleopatra and Mark Antony, Selene, this story is shared beautifully.

Before I Fall- For Samantha, a popular girl at school, February 12th is just another party night. Everything is all good. That is until she dies that night in a terrible accident. Will she be able to change the outcome of her life while she lives the last day of her life all over again... SEVEN times?

Between Shades of Gray- When Soviet officers barge into the home of Lina's family, they tear the family from the comfortable life they've known. Lina, her mother, and her brother are seperated from the man that is both a father and husband in their household.  They are taken to a work camp in the coldest parts of Siberia. Pick up this book to find out what happens to this family.

Eleanor and Park- "Two misfits. One extraordinary love... Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try." - Goodreads 

Unwind- Have you ever wondered what would happen if your parents could choose to "unwind" you when you turned thirteen? Two kids-Connor and Risa- have been chosen to be unwound by their family and feel betrayed. And Lev is a thite, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, these three may have a chance to survive.


Here comes the collection of Sarah Dessen novels (no joke!)

What Happened to Goodbye

Along for the Ride

Just Listen

All of Sarah Dessen's novels are extremely well written. There is no way to not immerse yourself into the stories. Her vivid use of character description is pure gold. We are Sarah Dessen fans for sure! If your looking for a refreshing summer read, definetely go check out her novels.

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These are all of the books we have for you today, but if you want more ideas, here are some good ones.

This summer reading list also gives some good ideas for anyone looking for interesting young adult reads.

Happy reading!


Qaskin Black Personal Use

Festive Pie for the Fourth of July

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Oh say can you see, by the dawns early light, that the Fourth of July is quickly approaching and we have the perfect, (somewhat) healthier version of a fun and festive pie recipe to share with you!

The ingredients are super simple. Basically, you start by making a Graham Cracker crust (you could always use another pie crust of your liking.) We did use the Graham Cracker crust, though, and it turned out delicious. 

To make this crust you will need:
Graham Crackers
Butter (melted)
Sugar (optional, for added sweetness)
A pinch of cinnamon and other spices to your liking.

This is all up to preference, so feel free to add whatever you want. All you need to do is combine all the ingredients in a food processor and you have your crust! We eyeballed the proportions but if you want a more exact recipe, here is a great one.

The filling is even more simple to make than the pie crust. We used Fage Vanilla Greek Yogurt which is a healthier substitute to pudding or any other pie filling. That's all you need for the filling because the Vanilla Greek Yogurt should be just sweet enough. You can always sweeten it by adding honey/agave nectar/powdered sugar if you want more sweetness. If you don't want to use the Vanilla Greek yogurt then there are other alternatives. Below is another great yogurt filling recipe.

To make this filling you will need:
Plain Greek or regular yogurt
Freshly squeezed lemon juice 
Powdered sugar, honey, or other sweeteners to make it sweeter

This filling is just as good as using the Vanilla Greek Yogurt. If you are using regular yogurt instead of Greek yogurt, we recommend you strain it before putting it into the pie crust so the crust doesn't get too soggy and wet. Also, if you are not a fan of yogurt at all, you could always use vanilla pudding instead.

Now for the fun part: Decorating! We decorated it with berries on top, making the pie prettier and nicer to look at. It really gives it something extra to have the bright colors on top. We used strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries on top and neatly arranged them.



Voila! Here is the finished product. It is definitely worth a try, especially for the Fourth of July. The yogurt is white, the strawberries are red, and the blueberries are blue. It really is the perfect recipe for this festive holiday! It satisfies your sweet tooth, but is not overwhelmingly sweet. We hope you enjoy this recipe and have a great 4th of July!


xoxo

Qaskin Black Personal Use

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