Thursday, October 1, 2015

My September 2015 chic list

I think I've never been this happy to see September and fall finally arrive. Things have slowed a tiny bit in the work department (which is a great thing, honestly), and I have some fun plans including traveling, concerts, seeing friends and just chilling lined up for the upcoming weeks. And because my last few months have been so crazy and hectic they almost turned into a blur, I've decided to revive this series, just to remind myself of all the wonderful things, experiences and details that made my life more beautiful and enjoyable. Here's what went down in September. I was...

Decorating: with gladiolas. I've been known to steal flowers from my mother's garden on a regular basis, and this past month has been no exception. This summer, Mom has planted a gorgeous gladiola patch, and I've been consistently sneaking around. hoping to scavenge the prettiest and the most colorful ones. Boy, was I lucky and spoiled! Gladiolas have quickly become my favorite blooms: they exude elegance and sophistication, towering stately over all the other flowers. I rarely use them in flower arrangements - in my opinion they look best all by themselves, living in huge vase on my coffee table. A constant source of joy and happiness.

Drinking: J.P.Chenet's Chardonnay. This has been my drink of choice as of late. It's surprisingly complex, flavorful, but lighter than my usual Merlot, and it makes for a perfect companion for a casual dinner with friends around homemade pizza.

Shopping: for books. In August and September, my favorite bookstore celebrated its 25th anniversary, with a humongous sale. What else could I do than go on an equally humongous book shopping spree? Needless to say, I have received way too many packages in the past few weeks, and now I'm in a dire need of a proper storage space, since all my books are currently living on the floor of my living room (oops). Anyway, unlike clothes and beauty products, books are something I'm never feeling guilty splurging on - they'll never go out of style and are worth every single penny. Plus, I really love the idea of  someday transferring my love for books and reading to my own kids and grand-kids.

Watching: Mr. Selfridge. I stumbled upon this British TV series almost by accident, but I immediately fell under its spell. The well-crafted story of an american self-made businessman who came to London to build one of the most important and mythic stores of London's Oxford street is equally enchanting, funny and inspiring. I'll be diving into the Season 2 very soon!

Listening: to Enrique Iglesias. No judgment, please :) Lately I've been taking full advantage of my Spotify account, discovering new music to listen to, and rediscovering the old favorites. Like Enrique. There's no good denying it, I can really be a sentimental sap sometimes, and this music reminds me of someone very special and close to my heart. I'm not pretending each song is a masterpiece, but this one, for example, never fails to give me chills.

Loving: Diptyque Doson. I've purchased this perfume two years ago, but it got lost in the big move, and I've only recently rediscovered it again. I almost forgot how lovely and unique this fragrance is. If there ever was a contestant for my signature scent, this would be it.

Trying out: L'Oréal Paris Revitalift Volume Filler. As I edge closer to the big 3-0, I've made a resolution to take better care of my skin. I secretly hope that I was gifted in the genes department (my mom has almost no wrinkles, and the same was true for my grandma), but considering that my lifestyle and environment is really different (Constant stress? check. Pollution? check. A love for good wine? check. Not enough time spent outdoors? check.) I'd rather be safe than sorry. I'm a huge L'Oréal Paris fan - I think their skincare is consistently top notch and delivering on its promises, and I love discovering their new products and innovations. I've been using this serum for a few weeks, so it's too soon to make any definitive conclusions, but I really love the lightweight formula, the subtle scent, and the fact that my skin feels tighter and rejuvenated each time I use it. Definitely something I would buy again.

Learning: Italian. After talking about it for longer than I care to admit (this even made it to my fall bucket list), I've finally bitten the bullet this month, and signed up for an Italian course. So far I fell like my head is going to explode with all the new information, vocabulary and grammar rules, but I'm also utterly in love with this lovely, melodic language and all the new horizons it opens up for me. Mi piace molto!

Reading: The Martian, by Andy WeirDo yourself a favor, and if you haven't already, by all means read. this. book. now. I'm not a sci-fi fan by a longest stretch, and I kind of picked this on a random whim, but it's one of the best books I've read in a decade. Yes, decade! I'm not sure whether it's the perfect flow of the writing, of the incredible sense of humor of the main character, or the gripping story (it's probably the combination of them all), but I devoured this book in one day. then promptly passed it on to my mother who read it in two days, and I'm already thinking about reading it once more. It's just so darn good. Now I'm really curious to see what the movie will be like.

Being inspired: by September issues. This year, Harper's Bazaar really nailed it. I loved every single page!

Enjoying: impromptu shopping trips. Weekends spent all by myself in my apartment have become few and far between in the past few weeks. And I must admit that I miss them very much - "me time" is something that I cherish and value very much, and I'm doing my best to save one weekend a month for staying home, and doing anything that strikes my fancy. I wake up when I want to, enjoy my first cup of coffee in bed, I go through my stacks of books and magazines, and spend hours in the kitchen, experimenting with new recipes. And if, by any chance, I'm feeling a little bit restless, I usually jump in the car, and drive to the mall, for a little impromptu shopping session. The last time I did, I went home with two beautiful ponchos, several new beauty products to try and (surprise, surprise), more books to add to my ever growing collection. I just love that feeling of freedom the complete reign over my schedule gives me on these weekends!

Burning: scented candles. I'm so so happy that the candle-appropriate weather is back! Of course, there's nothing wrong with lighting your favorite scented candle on a random summer night, but really, I can hardly imagine better time to do so when the days begin to grow shorter, when the evenings get chillier, and when all I want to do is curl up on the couch with an engrossing book, with a mug of hot chocolate (or a glass of Chardonnay) in hand and a lovely fragrance wafting from a beautiful container. This one has been burning on my coffee table just as I type these words.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Real talk: Taking my 2015 back

Image via Oh so beautiful paper

When I was watching the midnight fireworks on the New Year's Eve, I kept wishing for one thing. Not for money, not for a boyfriend, not for a new beginning. I kept wishing for the time to slow down, for my days and weeks to stop rushing by so fast. I kept wishing for me to slow down and enjoy my time better and more fully. And guess what. I'm sitting here today, wondering how the heck it's almost the end of September already. September! Seriously. This needs to stop. Right here, right now. How did it even happen? When did my Moleskine daily planner stop being my best ally, and became my worst enemy?

I haven't seen some of my friends for months. I practically missed the anniversary of me becoming an entrepreneur (again!). I can't remember the last time I took a few days off work and did nothing but relax and recuperate. That's a pretty miserable conclusion, even for someone who loves and values her job as much as I do. And I blame it on the "busy". And the "hustle". Those two words that are supposed to be every entrepreneur's best friends, but which sometimes become the bane of our existence.Work-life balance issues, anyone?

So, my dear calendar, I'm telling you here and now, that I'm taking my 2015 back! I'm not going to sit here on the 31st of December and ask myself "where the hell did the 2015 go? What did I do with the whole year?" and not know the answers. I recently watched this Matt Cutts' TED talk, and it inspired me to try my own 30-day challenges. I already have a mile-long list of things and activities I want to try, but if there's one that really stands out from the crowd, it's keeping a daily journal. I've been writing into this little notebook for the past year and it's been so much fun, but I kept telling myself that 6 lines simply weren't enough for me. There are so many things that happen to me every day, so many people I encounter, so many little things that merit to be remembered, so many memories I want to keep and cherish forever. So I started to type everything down on my iCalendar. And it's an improvement, but it still doesn't feel ideal. I've always been (and always will be) a pen-and-paper kind of gal and it simply doesn't feel right. I don't think I trust my iPhone enough with all my secrets when it can be so easily stolen or broken down.

Something that truly inspired me to rekindle my love of journaling was my recent rediscovery of my old journals from high school. I spent an entire afternoon perusing those 15-year old entries, sometimes laughing out loud, sometimes cringing, sometimes suppressing a snort of derision, sometimes becoming plain old nostalgic. All those stories about meeting my first boyfriend. Breaking up with him. Having my heart broken in return. Falling in love again... Can you believe that I used to write down every single text message I got from the boys? All of them. And I'm not even ashamed to admit it! I'm so glad I did because none of my old cell phones work anymore, and I would have lost all those funny, witty, tacky and romantic memories. How wonderful that my trusted pen and paper have never failed me!

Feeling beyond inspired, I went all out and bought too many beautiful notebooks to even count (Rifle Paper Co. and Sugar Paper, I'm looking at you!) and I'm planning to dedicate a few moments each night to jotting down the best (and also the worst) about my day-to-day life. I'm pretty sure that if I rediscover those journals in 10-20 years I will be just as delighted, sentimental and thankful (and maybe a tiny bit embarrassed, too) as I am now! Watch me, you crazy calendar!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Fall 2015 bucket list

Happy first day of autumn, lovelies! I'm so incredibly excited to see my favorite season of all finally arrive. Especially because work-wise, this year I experienced one of the craziest summers of my life (and since summer is usually the busiest season of our business, that's really saying something). I'm so ready to finally turn the page, slow down a little bit and find the time to enjoy all those little things that make fall so special: turning leaves, the slight morning chill that begs for a colorful scarf, market stalls overflowing with pumpkins and apples, evening spent indoors under a warm blanket, with a good book and a glass of merlot in hand. I'll never get tired of that promise of new beginnings that autumn brings around. Nothing sums this feeling up quite like one of my favorite quotes from F.Scott Fitzgerald above, and it always inspires me to sit down and put together a bucket list of things and activities I'd love to enjoy in the upcoming months. So without further ado, this is my 2015 fall bucket list, and I would love to hear what's on yours. Are you as excited about fall as I am? What do you love most about it? Please, do share!

Image via

1. Update my home decor for a new season. I'm going to invest in a plush blanket and a couple of throw pillows, to make those evenings spent reading even more enjoyable.

2. Pick a new TV show to get lost in. Any tips are highly welcome!

3. Read. Read. Read.

4. Try out different at-home workouts and pick the one that will suit me best.

5. Make time to watch at least one movie per week.

6. Enroll in an Italian language class.

7. Finally try my hand at making homemade apple cider. 

8. Pick a new season-appropriate scented candle to give my home a new fragrance.

9. Splurge on school supplies. Who cares that I'm not in school anymore? It still makes me happy!

10. Take early morning walks on weekends.

11. Reorganize my closet - store away summer clothes and bring all my favorite sweaters, scarves and jackets back to life.

12. Knit a new scarf for winter.

13. Experiment in the kitchen with fall produce. This means the eternal classics like apples and pumpkins, but also getting out of my comfort zone with some new-to-me items.

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