Monday, September 8, 2014

Real talk: Paris bound

It is really hard to believe that it's been already a week since my brother got married. In my mind's eye, the wedding is still a happy blur of twirling on the dancefloor, meeting our new extended family, spending a wonderful time with some of the funniest, kindest and most gentlemanly guys I've ever met, and generally having an incredible amount of fun. The best proof? I took almost no photos at all! My camera was left in my hotel room, and my phone laid forgotten in my purse the whole time, and I can honestly say that not once did I think of checking it, or my emails, or any of the social media, for that matter. Pure bliss. Seeing my brother so happy was the best part of the entire weekend, and I know I'll be cherishing those moments and memories forever. Now, if only the wedding photographer would hurry up - I'm beyond excited to dedicate one entire photo album to that wonderful weekend!

Of course, the Monday morning reality check pretty much kicked my butt, and this past week has been a whirlwind of catching up on the work emails, advancing a few of our current projects and trying to do as much as I could before my departure for Paris. That's true: I'm leaving for my second home / favorite city in the world this afternoon, and to say that I'm beyond excited would be a massive understatement. I can hardly wait for my plane to land at the CDG airport! The prospect of shutting down my computer and ignoring my work emails & Facebook for a week pretty much sums up my current idea of heaven. I'm even leaving my iPad behind - I'm that serious about going internet-free for a week! I know I'm probably going to regret this decision next Monday, when I'll be back in the office, but for now, a week away from everything is exactly what I need.

I've been so crazy busy for the past few weeks that I didn't even have time to plan any Parisian adventures. To gather some last minute inspiration, I've pulled my previous Paris-related posts from the depths of my archives, and it got me even more excited, if that's even possible. You can find my favorite things to do in Paris right here: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. I'm signing off with a few of the pictures I took in the City of Lights over the past few years, and I'm looking forward to seeing you back here next week. Until then, bonne semaine & bisous!

Oh, and I'll most definitely be bringing a box of these beauties with me back home! Can't wait!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Real talk: September challenge(s)

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A month ago, when I started my very first 30-day challenge, I didn't really know what I was signing up for. The idea of keeping up with one activity (keeping a journal in my case) for a month seemed like an easy one to follow. What I didn't anticipate was how much I would love sitting down with my pen & notebook each night. How happy it would actually make me and how I would cherish those quiet moments all by myself, with only my thoughts and musings to keep me company.

I think that keeping a journal is something we all wish we had more time for, without realizing that it's actually up to us to make time for it. All those nights when I switched off my computer at a decent hour, when I closed down the Facebook messenger, and when instead of mindlessly browsing the internet, I took time to put my thoughts down on paper, I really felt like a better version of me. I went to bed calmer, with a clear mind and without all those thoughts swirling and buzzing in my brain like a swarm of bees. I have a lifelong tendency to overthink things, and keeping a journal has indeed helped me gain more clarity when it comes to a bunch of issues currenlty going on in my life. And I couldn't recommend it enough to all my fellow worriers out there.

All in all, it was such a great and inspiring experience, that I'm feeling even more motivated to kick off another 30-day challenge for September. No, scratch that, I'm going for two 30-day challenges this month! I've been thinking about it for a few days, and I've decided that this September I'm going to take a few steps to a healthier me.

The first thing is going alcohol-free for 30 days. I'm not a huge drinker to begin with, but I love myself some wine. After all, I used to live in France, and French do take their wine really seriously. I have also drunk my fair share of beer over the summer and I feel like my body is telling me that skipping the alcohol for a few weeks would be a great idea. I'm really curious to see how it goes - maybe I'll get to a point where I'll save the best wine for the best occasions. Or, more likely, on the 1st of October, I'll drink an entire bottle of Chardonnay all by myself :) We'll see.   

The second challenge will be much easier to follow: I've promised myself to walk back home from the office every single day. When I lived in Paris, I used to walk literally everywhere. But ever since I came back home, I picked up the bad habit of using the car to run even the smallest of errands. It's been annoying me quite a lot lately and walking back home from the office seems like the best idea. If nothing else, I'll rediscover the use of my own two feet again.

I can honestly tell you that I'm really excited for this new month to begin. Thank you for following me in my adventures! And if you've decided to follow your own 30-day challenge, be sure to share your experience in the comments. I would love to read about it!

Have a wonderful September!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Real talk: Closing the gap

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take a while. It’s normal to take a while. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

                                                                                                     - Ira Glass

I read this quote over the weekend and I couldn't stop thinking about it ever since. I'm sure that this is something every creative person can relate to, and I find these words immensely inspiring and encouraging. It is true that often I am my own worst critic. I wouldn't go as far as calling myself a perfectionist, but I'm sure about my taste and I have a pretty specific set of standards that I measure my work against. And I'll go ahead and admit that I'm not always completely satisfied with the results of my efforts, especially when it comes to this blog. Raise your hands if you ever went a few days without publishing a single post because no idea that you'd come up with, written down or photographed seemed good enough to go online. (*raising my hand sheepishly*) I'm struggling with this more often than I care to admit.

But you know what? That's completely fine. I'm still learning my craft. And I never want to stop learning. To me, learning, making mistakes, scratching my work completely, deleting my words and starting all over again is the ultimate sign that I'm moving forward. That I'm evolving into a person that I'd love to become. That I'd rather step outside my comfort zone, challenge myself over and over again, stumble and fall, and then get up and try again, than stay safe and comfortable in my own little corner.

And I have Ira Glass to thank for reminding me that great successes and achievements aren't due to magic. We owe them to our own hard work, to the countless hours dedicated to honing our skills and to the refusal to give up. It may seem pretty obvious, but I'm the first to admit that it can be so easily forgotten in our world filled with picture-perfect Instagram photos, envy-inducing Facebook statuses and flawless blog posts.

This is one quote that I'll make sure to keep in mind whenever I doubt myself or my work. I hope we all can do the same.

I wish you all a successful, productive and happy week!

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