Despre frumusete

February 20, 2017 § 1 Comment

Poate prin natura zodiei (sunt o Balanta veritabila) am o inclinatie puternica spre tot ceea ce e frumos. Sigur ca simtul meu estetic e in continua modificare – cand eram in gimnaziu imi placeau incaltarile alea gen tanc pe care le purtau fetele pe atunci. 🙂 Aveau talpa groasa, aratau ca niste senile. Acum, cu cat mai subtire si inalt e tocul, cu atat imi place mai mult. Poate chiar am sa fac o poza cu unele dintre cele mai ‘nebune’ tocuri ale mele. :))

1

Spuneam in alta insemnare ca multi ani nu m-a interesat moda, pe care o consideram frivola – si din care nu intelegeam mare lucru. 🙂 In adolescenta eram complet absorbita de filosofie si literatura si mancam Depeche Mode pe paine. Mergeam la teatru, ba chiar am jucat eu insami in Pescarusul, piesa scrisa de J. Livingston. Scriam mult… poate chiar mai mult decat scriu acum. Si cantam in fiecare sambata dimineata in corul orasului. Pictura nu m-a atras niciodata, din pacate nu am pic de talent in ceea ce priveste artele plastice, ba chiar ma plictiseste de moarte bricolajul.

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Cumva, conceptia mea despre ce e frumos s-a schimbat foarte mult in timp. Cat am locuit la Londra nu am frecventat mult salile de spectacol, chestie pe care acum o regret teribil. As fi mers mai degraba la Muzeul de Stiinta decat la Tate Modern. Devenisem aplicata, cinica, logica mea exacerbata nu lasa loc de creativitate.

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Apoi au urmat niste ani in care daca mi-ai fi pomenit despre arta sau frumusete ti-as fi ras in nas. 🙂 Eram mult prea ocupata sa supravietuiesc unui sir de joburi care mai de care. 🙂 Si cu asta dau dreptate celui care a spus ca pentru a te bucura de arta e nevoie ca nevoile tale de baza sa fie acoperite. Inclusiv nevoia de liniste, or asta lipsea la mine cu desavarsire.

3

Astazi locuiesc intr-un oras in care muzeele ori nu exista, ori sunt plictisitoare. Dar culmea, gasesc frumusete mult mai des: in linistea padurii si a muntilor, in fantele de lumina dintre nori dupa ploaie, in buzele carnoase ale unei negrese rujate care trece razant pe strada, in combinatia gri-galben, in hainele fine, bine croite, elegante. Gasesc frumusete in albul ochilor cuiva si in gropitele de grasime ale unui bebelus. Frumusetea este in spatiile goale si curate, in ordinea lucrurilor, in liniste.

2

Cand ma gandesc la lucruri, situatii si stari frumoase, asta ma duce intr-un spatiu minunat, unde inima mea se simte mangaiata, aproape gadilata. Cata tandrete exista in frumusete! As vrea sa imi antrenez si mai mult ochiul sa detecteze frumosul din lume, si mainile si inima sa amplifice acest frumos.

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Voi unde gasiti frumusete?

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Jurnal de multumire (1)

August 18, 2016 § 4 Comments

Am mai spus eu si cu alte ocazii ca sunt o rasfatata a soartei. Dar intamplari din ultima vreme, mai mici sau mai mari, mi-au facut viata si mai frumoasa:

  • Ieri dimineata stabilisem cu E. sa mergem la ferma sa culegem mure inainte sa incepem programul la serviciu. Doar ca dimineata eu am dormit bustean si cand am deschis ochii… ce sa vezi, in partea dreapta a patului pijamaua lui statea frumos impaturita. Imi spun in gand ‘fir-ar sa fie, a plecat mai devreme la birou, a uitat de mure’. Si ma apuc si eu constiincioasa de treaba. Doar ca, ce sa vezi, in vreo 30 de minute cine intra pe usa cu o casoleta maaare mare de mure grase si zemoase? Si cu ardei si castraveti si rosii de la ferma? Da, sotul meu. Am fost foarte fericita.
  • Budinca de cozonac cu banane si sirop de artar de la Ioana. Cand fac ceva bun, imi place sa impart cu altii, dar se pare ca si altora le place sa imparta cu noi. Budinca asta e cremoasa, cu un gust pronuntat de banane si crocanta datorita nucilor. E drept ca e mai potrivita pentru zile reci si cetoase, dar cateva lingurite dimineata au mers si acum.
  • Saptamana trecuta am fost la Londra pentru un training. Intr-una dintre seri sora mea m-a invitat la un restaurant israelian absolut fantastic. Si desi nu eram in cea mai buna forma, mancarea si atmosfera de la Palomar m-au cucerit. Nu am facut poze, dar a fost una dintre cele mai bune mese din viata mea.De-abia astept sa ma intorc acolo, data viitoare si cu E. Si cu ocazia asta mi-am amintit de excursia noastra in Israel si toate aventurile – a se repeta, candva.
  • Sunt fericita ca e August. Ca au aparut strugurii, smochinele, ca se coc vinete care vor intra la congelator (observati, va rog, diateza pasiva :)) si viata e buna si inca blanda cu noi.
  • Orhideea primita la nunta. In sfarsit am si eu o floare in ghiveci care rezista la noi in casa. 🙂 Am observat ca orhideea nu este foarte pretentioasa, rezista bine si fara multa lumina si fara apa si isi pastreaza aceeasi tinuta. E clar, uneori as vrea sa fiu orhidee. 🙂

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… 🙂

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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.

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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. 🙂

Our week-end in review

November 11, 2015 § 2 Comments

Lately our week-ends have been packed. When we’re not travelling, we have guests or are entertaining or are planning a trip or get-together… you get the point. I can’t remember the last time we sat around doing nothing (which arguably I’m not very good at anyway!). The past week-end was jam-packed with activities and I don’t regret it in the least.

Saturday started bright and early with brownie baking. Yes, you read that right I was baking brownies on Saturday at 8am. Very unusual start of the day for me but the brownies were a major hit with all of our friends and I even managed to freeze a few pieces. The recipe is incredibly easy to put together, in fact I whipped up the batter the night before and left it in the fridge. I promise to give you the recipe soon, this is a winner for sure.

brownie

After dropping some brownies to our friends’ house we drove to Gland, where wine-tasting was in order at the Caves Luis Vinzel. The weather was absolutely gorgeous and people were flocking around the wineyards taking sips left and right. Basically, the way this works is that you pay 15CHF which includes a glass and any amount of wine you can sip from the different wineyards. The event was very well organized – from the train station in Gland a bus or mini-car would drop you off to the different wineries which participated. We were done early but I guess the whole atmosphere becomes much more jazzed up later in the day. 🙂

wine 1 wine 2 wine 3 wine 4

We got hungry pretty soon and made a pit-stop at one of the restaurants in Vinzel called Malakoff. The place serves these wonderful dishes based on… you guessed it: cheese. Malakoff is basically a fried piece of bread with cheese on top. I loved it but couldn’t down more than 2, as it’s quite heavy stuff. The views from the restaurant were amazing though and the restaurant serves really great food – highly recommended.

mal 2 malakoff 1

 

Sunday is for resting, right? Well, not if you live in Switzerland and the weather is gorgeous in mid-November. On Sunday morning we woke up to perfectly clear skies and 20C temperature. We decided to tackle an easy hike in St Cergue with our friends. It was more than perfect and I stripped down to my tank top. The views were incredible and we stopped often only to take pictures. St Cergue is such an incredible area and we plan to go back this winter for some snow-shoeing.

munte 1 munte 2 munte 3

We went to bed early that evening as I had an early morning train ride to Zurich. We have some more travel planned for this week but I already want to go back to the mountains… Countdown to Christmas you said? 🙂

November. What I’m looking forward to

November 6, 2015 § 5 Comments

The countdown to the year end has begun (actually it never stopped…) Here’s a list of things I’m looking forward to:

  • A good running race – whether it will be the one at the end of November, or the one beginning of December I know for sure that I won’t let this year go by without completing a race. Because they’re so much fun!
  • Many more squash games. We have one scheduled for tonight, yay!
  • Some Christmas shopping and gift-making. This year I am actually planning to bake some cookies for friends. I love that I can start doing this early on and don’t need to leave it last minute.
  • Listening to Christmas carols and drinking some hot chocolate until… we take off for New Zealand. Which I’m hoping will be warm and nice.
  • Speaking of New Zealand here are my top 3 things to look forward to: hiking in Fiordland (supposed to be a-ma-zing!), meeting with my beloved penguins (fingers crossed!) and drinking endless cups of coffee (Kiwis are famous for the good quality java they make and I.can’t.wait)
  • Reading some more – I’m currently deep in ‘On the move’ by my beloved O.Sacks and ‘Rising strong’ by Brene Brown – she is such an incredible writer.

Here’s a cute pic – a house in Gex at the end of October.

gex

What are you looking forward to?

Intrerupte si calde

October 19, 2015 § 2 Comments

iarnaLa Praga am adulmecat iarna. Asa cum in unele zile de vara eu simt adierea toamnei, asa si toamna simt zvon de iarna. Sa-I spunem previziune meteo? Imi plac zilele gri – iar astazi se intampla sa fie una dintre ele. Cand e gri, ai doua optiuni: ori te inconjori de crizanteme parfumate, aprinzi o lumanare, doua, trei si pui pe foc o supa sau… te bagi la loc sub plapuma cu inca o cafea fierbinte si visezi.

christmas

La ce visez eu? La o iarna ca in povesti. Imi place iarna mai mult decat vreau sa recunosc. Imi place sa adulmec zapada inca de dinainte sa cada. Imi plac puloverele de lana sau de casmir, cizmele comode si confortabile, confortul unei paturi groase si a botosilor impletiti de mainile miraculoase ale mamaitei, mirosul de portocale sau mandarine, serile cu prieteni si vin fiert si cate o placinta. Iarna parca alung gandurile negre si fac planuri pentru: ghetute de Mos Nicolae, un cadou razlet, o punguta cu bunatati daruita unui om nevoias, o bataie cu zapada, o zi la ski.

Iarna inseamna pentru mine Rusia – nu mi-e clar de ce, pentru ca nu am ajuns pana acum in Rusia, dar probabil o asociez cu un frig napraznic. Inseamna cozonac pus la dospit si toate amintirile mele despre cum mamaia a copt niste sute de cozonaci la viata ei. Mers prin zapada care scartaie sub apasarea pasilor, ici-colo cate un petec verde intr-0 mare de alb. Covrigi. Ciocolata calda si colinde. Un somn greu, profund si taitei cu lapte si scortisoara la trezire.

Chiar sunt o rasfatata a vietii si multumesc pentru asta.

tren

The magic of Prague (1)

October 18, 2015 § 2 Comments

Last year for Christmas we decided to offer each other a different type of gift: plane tickets to a secret destination. Elvin embraced this idea immediately as he hates shopping for any occasion. He surprised me with a trip to Portugal in June and I… well, I got us tickets for Prague, in October. An absolute win-win!

It’s easy to understand why I chose Prague: very similar to Vienna (which we both love!), a well preserved historical city and oh, so very romantic, especially in autumn. Also, I would lie if I said the amazing food scene didn’t make a difference in this choice.

Over time, I developed a strategy for fun, intelligent travel: as soon as I stumble on a random recommendation while I’m perusing the internet, I save it in a dedicated folder. For example, I recently came across an article with recommendations about Finland, so now I have a special folder for this which I know will come in handy at some point. I did the same with Prague over the last few months and it saved me a lot of hassle.

Here’s what I used this time around:

  • Accommodation recos – I was so happy that I took the advice of the wonderful couple at Le Blog Piquant. The hotel they recommended was perfect
  • What to visit – it’s easy to want to see and experiment everything when visiting a new place, but I like targeted, customized visits. I love using travel guides, but only for orientation. Andra’s website is the best place for off the beaten track recommendations and I love her style
  • The best of Prague – truly a comprehensive guide about the best places to eat, drink and have fun. This served us so, so well and I’m always grateful to find readily available information on ‘secret’ places
  • Friends – this goes without saying, I guess. Word of mouth recommendations rock. This time around we had a native Czech friend tell us about her favourite music clubs and restaurants – the girl clearly knows her stuff!

We stayed at Dahlia Inn, a lovely boutique hotel (only one floor) very close to the city center. This place is great on so many levels – easily accessible from the airport as it is 5 minutes away from Pavlova metro station and so well connected – tram #22 which is just outside of the building takes you to the city centre in a matter of minutes. The staff were incredibly nice and let us check in at the crazy hour of 10am (we’d had a super early flight in from Geneva). Our room was clean, cozy and warm. And the best part? At 49 EUR per night, this place is incredibly cheap. Definitely recommended and we’d go there again any time!

Prague has a very efficient transportation system – the trams and metro are reliable, fast and… good value for money. We bought a 3-day pass at the airport and it covered all matter of transportation, including to the city and back to the airport. By the way, travelling to and from the airport was so easy and probably one of the quickest trips we experienced when visiting a city. Elvin was such a pro at navigating the different maps and we found our way around very easily.

I’ll be back with a recap of the things we did and places we went to, but for now I leave you with two of my favourite photos from Prague.

ceas strada

 

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