Ce-mi place. Links of love (3)

December 11, 2015 § 2 Comments

Dupa articolul de ieri in care parca ne-am cocotat pe niste tocuri de 10cm de unde am spus niste chestii (vag) serioase, e momentul pentru ceva mai lejer si relaxat, nu?

Am zis lejer si relaxat?

Domnul acesta este unul dintre cei mai faimosi ultra-maratonisti ai tuturor timpurilor. De mult nu mi s-a mai intamplat sa urmaresc un documentar cu sufletul la gura. Jur ca timp de o ora nici apa nu am baut, ceea ce e mare lucru pentru mine. Dar mai mult decat orice, Yanis Kouros m-a facut sa inteleg ca alergatul, si mai mult, ultra-alergatul nu este despre a forta limitele fizicului, ci despre a fi in meta-fizic, mai précis in spiritual. Kouros este un fel de zeu intr-un corp super fibros de grec de 1.65cm.

Christine Paper Design. Pentru ca imi plac florile in parul doamnelor si domnisoarelor. Am mai zis ca ma marit la anu’, da? Iar imaginea asta imi da idei multe, multe… 🙂

Va intrebati unde ma intalnesc eu cu lucrurile astea faine? Pai sa vedeti. Eu n-am cine stie ce idei in materie de design interior, dar de cand am dat peste site-ul Decorette asta parca s-a facut lumina si la mine in cap. Andreea scrie lejer si relaxat despre case, idei de decorare, descoperiri mici si mari. Candva curand voi avea o casa si in casa isi va gasi cu siguranta loc o soba sau un semineu. Tot pe Decorette am citit despre creatiile Amrita si sunt indragostita pana peste cap. Aruncati un ochi aici.

soba 2

Oi fi eu minimalista cand e vorba de design interior, dar  cu anumite obiecte de décor tot rezonez. De exemplu, clopoteii si ingerasii de Ceramic Sparrow m-au lasat fara glas. Aruncati un ochi, cu siguranta veti gasi ceva minunat de daruit cuiva drag sau de ce nu… sufletului vostru?

Voi ce minunatii ati gustat, vazut, citit, descoperit in ultima vreme?

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The NOW WHAT

December 10, 2015 § 2 Comments

It was when I told my client that we must rise above our circumstances that he seemed startled. But what started as surprise soon turned into full-blown irritation and he retorted that I have no right to pass judgement about his personal circumstances. And boom! that was the end of that conversation.
I’m a big believer that the input matters less than your reaction to it. In other words, life always gives you a bunch of stuff to work with – some of that is good and some of it is a disaster; proportions of these two elements will be different for everyone. But what really sets us apart is what we decide to do with what is laid before us.
Before you start thinking this is a self-help lecture, let me just say this: I’m opposed to victimisation because I felt like a victim for a long time and I know it’s a hollow, boring place to be. When I see someone justifying their life based on the ugly stuff that happened to them I get a bit agitated, if not frustrated.
I’ve dwelled in some shape or form of suffering for quite some time and the signpost of that is the question ‘Why me?’. However at some point I decided I don’t want to be an inhabitant of Victimhood anymore and made a move to the Now What land.
I know this sounds a bit wacky, but stay with me…

Suffering doesn’t just go away in the Now What world, but it is transformed. When you leave Victimhood you start looking at your life from several different perspectives. One of them is Ownership and it starts when you stop making other people responsible for the crap you’re experiencing. I love Ownership, because it makes me feel empowered. Living with Ownership is a chance to make the world your kingdom and live according to your rules, perhaps even see if the others are happy to dance to your tune.
Another perspective is Commitment – this is a great anchor and a sure way for you to always come back to what really matters. I see it as a tank that is always full for you and where you can replenish your resources to make things happen.
I also love the Vulnerable perspective: here you are sure to remain raw, exposed and sweetly so. It’s also where you know it is okay – all okay.
Acceptance – this one is big for me as for a long time I rebelled against so much stuff! Most of it was around me feeling like I was not loved or appreciated, like I was not good enough or simply… like I was not enough. Acceptance means letting go and working with what is. It’s also a huge leap of confidence – trusting that whatever there is, it is as it should be. I’m still learning this one. 😉
You see, for me Now What means taking the bad, and terrible, and ugly and making it into pure-quality gold. It calls on so many of our qualities as humans and here’s where the rubber meets the road for me: I feel like we are here to learn, to serve and to practice certain qualities. Life doesn’t just happen to us, we somehow make it a reality, and if that reality doesn’t work for us, we have a choice: to accept it or to transform it. Letting life walk all over you is not a choice, it’s the consequence of signing out and giving up.

So say YES! Say yes to working towards that dream, to comfort with discomfort, to some degree of ambiguity. Two things in life seem immutably true: (1) we are all headed towards death and (2) we are all scholars of life.

And if you’re a scholar of life, what are you here to learn?

How to surive and even LOVE Christmas baking

December 9, 2015 § 6 Comments

I’ve been meaning to do a cook-athon for Christmas forever. My ideal life includes a house big enough to have lots of family and friends over for Christmas.We’re still working towards that big house but this year I made the cook-athon a reality. You gotta start somewhere and I started from cookies. 🙂

We had scheduled a Christmas dinner with many of our Romanian friends and I used that as an opportunity to offer them a bag of cookies. Since the dinner was just before St. Niklas, the context could not have been more perfect. This time of the year is incredibly busy for everyone and I’m no exception. A lot of people asked me how I managed to bake dozens of cookies while travelling, working full-time and dealing with a nasty stomach bug (with all that entails).So for everyone who asked, here’s what I put in place to make that happen:

1.Know why you’re doing it – intention is really important when you are undertaking a complex project; there will be moments when you want to abort ship and that is when you need to go back to your intention. Trust me, between a million bowls to wash, a conference call and unyielding to-do lists, you will want to go back often to why you’re doing what you’re doing. For me, it was easy: I wanted to give joy.

cookies

2.Know your volumes: start from how many people you’re baking for and determine how many cookies everyone will receive. That will give you a good indication of how many ingredients you need. Write that down on your shopping list.

3. Stock up: speaking of ingredients, I can’t say this enough… but please make sure you do your shopping well ahead of time. It’s terrible to realise you’ve ran out of powedered sugar exactly when you need it most. Make sure your kitchen is well stocked with supplies

4. Find and print your favourite recipes – I didn’t exactly follow my own advice here. I made three kind of cookies, and they were all new to me. I took a major risk and this time it was a success, but I don’t think I’d do this again. The part about printing your recipes? It’s just that you don’t want your ipad between the eggs and the flour, that’s all… :

5. START WELL AHEAD: OK, I can’t recommend this enough. I think the number one reason why baking hundreds of cookies for holidays is feasible is because you can actually start ahead on this crazy task! In fact, the more you allow the cookies to sit, the better they will taste. To make this happen, I simply blocked out in my calendar when I would need to do what and worked around the other tasks on my agenda to make sure I don’t start feeling overwhelmed.

6. Divide and conquer: Baking a ton can feel overwhelming so you will want to take baby steps. I made the dough the evening before and baked the cookies first thing next morning. This way everything felt a bit more manageable and the recipes actually recommended that you let the dough sit for a few hours. At some point I was also baking in batches and going shoe shopping in between… 🙂

c3

7. Enlist help. Again, here I need to take my own advice because I did 95% of this by myself. Cookie baking can be done with others and it certainly can be done with kids, who would love it.

8. Have FUN with it! Remember often that you love the process. Put on some Christmas music, light a candle, get comfy and zone out.  If you create a ritual or a game around this I guarantee it will feel amazing.

9. Storing: make sure you keep the cookies in an air-tight container. I used tinfoil to separate the different kinds of cookies and they kept really well. I then put them in individual baggies the evening before the dinner and wrapped them minimally.

c5

10. Watch the reactions! By and large, my friends were really surprised with the gift and I dare say that the cookies were well appreciated. I really think there is nothing more wonderful that home-made food gifts. There is something sweet and caring about offering someone the fruit of your labour. I imagined my friends savouring the cookies with a glass of milk in the morning and… I’m ready to do this again next year on an even bigger scale. 🙂

Why I love working from home

December 5, 2015 § 6 Comments

In my opinion working from home is the future for most businesses. In my job I am lucky to be able to work in multiple offices, at the client’s site, or in an airport or café or… from home. I don’t think I could work solely from home or be tied to the same office desk every single day, as I need quite a bit of variety to feel challenged. But give me a laptop and a good internet connection and I’m a happy camper. If I also have a good coffee I can almost guarantee my work day will be extremely productive.

Without further ado, here are the reasons why I think working from home can be extremely beneficial and why employers may consider this scheme:

  1. It’s a serious time-saver – this is a no brainer. Although my commute to work is only 30 minutes door to door, that makes it one hour per day when I could be doing something else. I can imagine things get even more complicated when kids are added to this equation and you need to factor in dropping them off at school and picking them up while rushing to get to or from the office. Logistics gets easier when you don’t have to be in so many places.
  2. Comfort – there have been days when I’m really not feeling my best and going out in the world takes a huge effort. Take this weel for example when I’m fighting a nasty stomach bug – going to the office would be a nightmare. On such days working from the comfort of my own home is a blessing since I can still be productive while taking care of myself.
  3. Discipline – tele-working can be a blessing, as well as a curse, especially if you find yourself drawn to your couch or bed when instead you should be on a conference call. Personally I find that working in the silence of my own home allows me to focus better, be more efficient and sometimes even get ahead on challenging tasks.
  4. Flexibility – if we’re honest very few people can truly say they deliver 100% during the 8-9 hours while they are in the office. The majority of us will find a distraction or slack off from time to time. While it’s natural to be wanting to take a break, working from home allows you to relax while still being productive. Doing the dishes, taking the trash out or sorting the mail only take 5 minutes, but these add up and at the end of the day you will have accomplished some of the daily chores as well.
  5. Saving money. No gas, no paying for public transportation and eating home-cooked meals. Doesn’t get cheaper than that. 🙂

Having said all this, working from home is not for everyone. If you need to really separate working from being at home, combining the two will be challenging. Some people also need a transition time and commuting can do just that – you can use that time on the tram or bus to read a book, catch up on the news or simply let go of what happened at work.

For me, most of the time I can easily sway from doing business to ‘being at home’ while staying in the same physical space.  I work when I need to and go where I need to go, keeping in mind that business will always take priority when it needs to but I can easily work around it to make room for ‘home’ or my personal life.

How about you? Do you prefer working in an office or working from home?

Cum am simplificat bagajele de calatorie

December 3, 2015 § 11 Comments

 

Pentru ca ne pregatim de mai multe calatorii iarna aceasta, dintre care una de aproximativ 3 saptamani jumatate, m-am gandit ca ar fi util sa trec in revista niste tips and tricks care mie mi-au facut viata mult mai usoara, mai ales in ultimii ani de cand calatoresc intens.

Inceputul

Pentru ca tata este mare specialist in bagaje (e si asta o arta) el a fost responsabil multi ani cu facutul bagajelor pentru noi, fetele. De la el am invatat prima oara conceptul de lista. Apoi cand am inceput sa plec in tabere mama m-a invatat sa numar exact cate obiecte includ in bagaj la plecare si atunci cand imi fac bagajul de intoarcere sa le numar din n0u pentru a ma asigura ca nu am uitat nimic. Buna si strategia asta, rareori am ratacit ceva prin excursii.

Apoi am inceput sa calatoresc singura prin strainatate. Capatand o oarecare autonomie in facutul bagajelor, includeam cel putin o tinuta pe zi (de cele mai multe ori, alta). Asta inseamna ca geamantanul meu semana cu un sifonier pe roti. 🙂 Dar, cine era cea mai chic turista sau participanta la diverse seminarii si conferinte? 🙂 Sa spunem ca eram dispusa sa car zeci de kilograme de bagaje de dragul de a arata frumos mereu.

Pana cand… am avut o experienta mai nefericita pe drumul de intoarcere din Polonia. Imi luasem din Romania un geamantan burdusit cu rochii, fuste si sandale, iar din Cracovia m-am intors inclusiv cu bere si alte bunatati pentru familie. Va imaginati cum m-am simtit cand m-am trezit data jos din tren intr-o gara anonima din Ungaria, fara moneda locala, cu bateria la telefon pe terminate si mai ales, fara sa vorbesc limba. Un american din tren care m-a ajutat sa cobor geamantanul chiar m-a intrebat ‘Doamne, dar ce cari aici, un cadavru?!!!’ Intamplarea aceasta mi se pare acum amuzanta, dar atunci a fost chiar traumatizant.

Experienta asta si altele au determinat o schimbare in mentalitatea mea. Totusi, a trebuit sa mai treaca niste ani  pentru ca eu sa incep sa simplific cu adevarat continutul bagajelor.

Ce s-a schimbat

Dupa niste zeci de calatorii cu diverse mijloace de transport, am pur si simplu oroare de bagajele mari, care am impresia ca ma tin pe loc. Bagajul trebuie sa poate fie facut si desfacut foarte rapid. Nu imi iau cele mai pretioase lucruri si nici zeci de ‘tinute’, ci doar cateva piese-cheie.

Top tips and tricks

  • Eficientizare – fiecare bagaj are un ‘core element’ care va fi acolo mereu. De exemplu la mine este trusa de igiena personala, pe care o tin intr-un port-fard separat si o utilizez de fiecare data cand calatoresc. Dar la fel este si trusa de medicamente. Astfel, avand aceste kit-uri deja organizate va fi mult mai usor sa le incluzi in bagaj data viitoare. Pentru domnisoare si doamne, in loc de crème chiar si in tuburi mici imi strang in timp asa-numitele mostre, pe care le folosesc doar in deplasari.
  • Incepem din timp – nimic nu mi se pare mai neplacut decat sa lasi facutul bagajelor pe ultima suta de metri, cand probabil ai inca 10000 de lucruri pe cap. Asadar, fac o lista din timp unde includ tot ce trebuie sa iau in geamantan si in acest fel ma asigur ca nu am scapat nimic din vedere. Ma gandesc la orice situatie posibila si incerc sa simplific bagajul.
  • Trec la actiune – atunci cand am o calatorie importanta sau mai lunga incep sa fac bagajul din timp, pe masura ce imi amintesc de lucruri. De exemplu, pentru calatoria in Noua Zeelanda pe care o pregatim acum am luat un sac negru (da, de gunoi) in care am inceput sa adaug tot ceea ce stiu ca va trebui sa pun in geamantan.Pur si simplu cand imi aduc aminte de un obiect, il caut prin casa si il adaug in sacul negru. In acest fel sper sa reduc stresul bagajelor in zilele de dinainte. Daca stiu ca merg intr-o delegatie importanta, imi verific din timp hainele sa vad daca trebuie sa duc ceva la curatatorie sau sa inlocuiesc vreun item.
  • Piese-cheie – nu mai port o rochie sau o fusta diferita in fiecare zi intr-o calatorie de 2 saptamani, dar chic tot vreau sa fiu. Asa ca mi-am definit o ‘capsula de travel’ unde includ piese care stiu sigur ca imi vin bine, ca pot fi accesorizate diferit pentru a crea tinute diferite. Asa-numitele piese-statement – de ele am mereu grija sa fie in stare buna. Ah, si tocurile de 10cm probabil nu au ce sa caute intr-o excursie (nu ma intrebati cum am dedus asta)
  • Chestii pretentioase – ceva din vechiul meu sistem se mai pastreaza si in zilele noastre: imi plac in continuare materialele pretioase, dar greu de intretinut si usor de sifonat. Totusi, in timp am invatat sa aleg haine care vor rezista bine la transport si vor arata decent cand ajung la locul faptei. Dar daca am totusi haine de in sau matase, care se sifoneaza usor, a le agata pe umeras in baie si a le expune la aburul dusului s-ar putea sa rezolve partial problema. Alte piese de imbracaminte pot fi rulate sau impachetate in mai multe folii de hartie de cadou (in genul hartiei pe care o primim la magazine) ca sa reziste bine.
  • Merg la cumparaturi din timp – e foarte posibil sa imi lipseasca ceva: o haina, un cadou pentru cineva, un medicament, un produs de igiena personala. Facand o analiza din timp pot identifica usor ce imi lipseste, asa ca in pre-ziua plecarii nu o sa alerg pe la magazine pierzand timpul pentru a decide ‘ce e mai bun si mai ieftin si mai…?’

Urmeaza si un articol despre cum sa ne facem viata mai usoara si chiar placuta in timpul unei calatorii, dar pana atunci, voi ce ponturi aveti pentru bagaje fara stress?

Mi-e dor

December 2, 2015 § Leave a comment

frisca

Sa am ‘timp si spatiu’ sa ma bucur cu adevarat de toate. Sa traiesc pe indelete, savurand momentele. Sa nu fie totul la foc automat. Sa nu adorm enumerand in cap liste intregi cu TO DOs, responsabilitati, planificare, deadlineuri si alte idei marete. Sa nu simt ca daca acum stau si savurez ceasca de cafea cu frisca sigur o sa platesc mai tarziu pentru ‘lenea’ asta. Sa aprind o lumanare si sa asez o coronita de brad pe masa. Sa coc zeci de prajiturele cu placere si un zambet mare pe fata, nu cu ochii pe ceas si mintea cu 3-4 pasi inainte.

As vrea cateva zile de tihna, fara presiune ca trebuie sa ma vad cu cutare, sa trimit nu stiu ce colet, sa am grija de stie ce plata, sa raspund la vreun mail si mai ales, sa scriu rapoarte peste rapoarte.

Astept sa se aseze toate in liniste, sa se limpezeasca, sa ma bucur in tihna de o mandarina si poate chiar de un fursec cu nuca. Pana atunci beau o cafea (fara frisca) si atac lunga lista…:)

 

The 1st 10k. Definitely not the last

December 1, 2015 § 6 Comments

bibPreamble

I’ve never been much of a runner. In fact until 4 years ago I did not run at all. After a successful Silvesterlauf (5k) in Innsbruck 3 years ago I pretty much let go of running. I was on and off, but more off than on. Running was painful, it bothered and frustrated me. Yet somewhere inside, something in me ticked with every run I completed. A few months ago, despite persistent pains in my calves (which I later learned was called periostitis) I decided to challenge myself and run a 10k.

The story

This was my first attempt at running a 10k course. In fact despite my training I had never run 10k in one go. Periostitis has given me a really hard time these past few months sidelining me for days at a time. But I had promised myself to try it out, without any expectations other than finishing the race. I ran alone, which in hindsight is not so great because there will come a time when you will need encouragement. My training plan did not include many runs, but I cross-trained quite a bit by playing squash and mixing cardio with weights. That helped a lot. Another thing that helped was running in sub-optimal conditions – cold, dark nights, rainy afternoons, and some early mornings. I ran even when I really didn’t feel like it. I managed to delay gratification 7 times out of 10 and I am so grateful to myself I did! I watched motivational videos of famous runners and most importantly, I visualized myself finishing that run strong.

The first 10k

I chose Foulees autumnales de Meyrin because it was a local race and I knew the familiarity of the places would help ease the anxiety. Running through my neighborhood was really great and the proximity to home was wonderful. I was not extremely hungry the morning of the run (guess it was the nerves) but I got really caffeinated. 🙂 Luckily the weather was absolutely gorgeous – sunny and warm. I got my race bib really quickly and then proceeded to warm up. At this point I started to feel a bit lonely but I spent my time watching the other runners doing their drills – after all, I was there to learn. Soon we were crowding in front of the starting line. My cohort only started running 4 minutes or so after the initial shot gun.

My strategy was to start slow and ease into the discomfort by finding the right rhythm. I was not wearing a watch and the music I listened to was the cadence of the other runners – what a sweet melody! The first moment when I became a bit discouraged was when I saw the 2k mark-up, I would’ve estimated at least 4k – this only goes to prove I had not trained enough to get a good sense of distances. I kept going and ran up the hills without stopping. My training had included running hills without stopping, and that helped a lot.

parcours

Throughout the 10k I stopped a few times, but it was more out of sheer desperation or what felt like boredom than out of pain. I didn’t know how far I’d have to go and didn’t have anyone to crack a joke with. There were not a lot of volunteers along the course and when I did meet them, they were mostly silent (which kinda irritates me, because why volunteer for such a thing if it doesn’t make you excited?).  I really, really missed having someone to talk to! But running through familiar scenery made it better and indeed eased my discomfort. Soon I was passing the 8k mark-up and could.not.believe.it.

I started to relax, knowing the 1 hour finish time was probably long gone. I walked a bit, and ran a bit. As soon as I saw the finish line I started pushing myself again. Seeing Elvin there was like hitting home. I wanted to cry a bit when I was done, but I didn’t. I sipped a bit of sweet tea, got my ‘gift’ and walked back home with Elvin. Simple, just as I had always wanted this to be.

Lessons learned

Training is v i t a l. Proper resting, nutrition and hidration are vital. Warming-up and stretching/foam rolling after a run are vital. Learning how to breathe properly, and finding out what works for you. Acquiring an efficient posture and running technique – this is not very obvious, nor is it natural. At some point I could tell I was not lifting my legs off the ground enough, so I consciously corrected that. Same for running tall, gazing ahead, fingers only slightly touching as if holding a paper between them.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that any kind of run requires dedication, preparation and having your mind in the game. At some point my mind started a chatter that went along these lines: this is the last time I’m doing this! what was I thinking? God this is boring! I’m never going to finish etc etc etc. Learning to quiet the mind and get rid of the saboteurs quickly is essential. This is very much work in progress for me. My mantra in those trying moments was: it’s only when you start thinking you can’t go on anymore that you are really starting to tap into your potential. This really helped and it’s so true!

Why running this 10k was important

It’s still taking time for all this to sync in, but as soon as I passed that finish line I felt a huge wave of energy and pride surging in me. I proved to myself that I am much more capable than I thought. Quieting the mind, tapping into my body’s resources and continuing through the discomfort – this is what I learned. Completing this run gave me permission to dream and imagine of everything else I could achieve.

What’s next

I’m not 100% sure but I think I’d like to attempt running a half. I know I have a long way to go but I also know this is doable. And I love running – it allows me to spend time with myself, get in resonance with my body and… my God, you do see a lot of stuff while running! 😀 I also really love fitness and training and need goals in my life to train towards. Finally, I love dreaming and thinking about what is possible. Then I like to take that dream and make it a reality while having fun with it. 🙂

 

 

 

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