Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Advent bucket list

Images via: one // two // three // four

It's not going to be groundbreaking when I say that Christmas is my favorite time of year. I never used to be one of those blasé people who hate Christmas just because this attitude sets them apart from everyone else. Nor do I buy that nonsense that it's the most stressful, anxiety-packed holiday of all. It most definitely is not, not in and of itself. Just like pretty much anything else, it's what you make of it. If you get yourself in a frenzied state of "oh-my-God-how-am-I-going-to-bake-all-those-cookies-and-clean-out-that-house-and-buy-all-those-perfect-presents", then, no doubt, your Christmas will be full of stress and unmet expectations.

But if you rather decide to be kinder to yourself (and to your loved ones), when you focus on your relationships instead of the mad gift giving, when you stop and smell the gingerbread, then you can enjoy this time to its fullest without any necessary pressure. Give yourself some grace and don't expect the perfection. So what if your windows aren't sparkling clean? What if you haven't baked 50 different kinds of cookies? What if, instead, you decided to take your parents (or any other family members) to a Christmas markets and sampled every single stand with mulled wine? Or what if you used this time of year to give back to people who aren't as fortunate as you are?

There are countless ways you can spend the following four weeks, but I urge you to pick those that will bring you joy, rather than stress. And if you need any more inspiration, below are the activities I'm most looking forward to during Advent. Here's to a happy and joyful December!

Bake a gingerbread house. This has quickly become a holiday tradition - this will be my fourth year of house building, and I'm already brainstorming ideas, floor plans and the number of chimneys :)

Watch all my favorite Christmas movies. Love Actually, The Holiday, Home Alone, While you were sleeping, A Christmas carol...and the list goes on.

Bake an assortment of pretty and delicious Christmas cookies. And organize a cookie swap with my mom and aunt.

Make my own mix of mulling spices and perfect my signature mulled wine recipe. And get shamelessly tipsy when sampling it.

Images via: one // two // three// four

Make a paper wreath for my front door. I've seen countless inspiration on Pinterest, and my hands are itching to get back into DIY projects.

Bake a gingerbread Christmas tree.

Visit Christmas markets, buy the mistletoe and all the honey I can carry. And sample Christmas punch, and mulled wine, and eat a sausage and just enjoy this lovely moment with my parents.

Start a collection of unique ornaments. I've had my eyes on Swarovski annual star ornament for ages, and I think it's time I bit the bullet and started my very own collection of sparkling beautiful Christmas ornaments.

Images via: one // two // three // four

Make my own Christmas cards and send them out on time this year. This is the one thing I always want to do, but never quite seem to manage on time. Being organized is key, apparently!

Make time to read the Nativity scenes from the Bible. And amid all the shopping and baking bonanza, take some time to reflect on the true meaning of this time of year.

Make DIY ornaments. I have my Fimo clay ready!

Pick a new scented candle for Christmas time. I love the idea of a seasonal signature scent. I seem to have a strong olfactive memory - remembering periods of my life when smelling particular scents. Right now, I'm on the lookout for the perfect candle that will remind me of my first Christmas in my new apartment.

Make spiked eggnog and share it with my mom. This is one of our oldest shared traditions, and it simply doesn't feel like Christmas time, until we share the first batch of our legendary spiked eggnog.

Images via: one // two // three // four

Put together a Christmas playlist on Spotify, turn the volume up and sing along. After all, I'm living alone, so I can do this shamelessly whenever I want :)

Sew new Christmas tablecloths and napkins for my dining table. I have already picked up the pretty fabrics, now it's time to pull my Singer out of the storage.

Make my own wrapping paper with kraft paper. This is another Pinterest project I've been eyeing for ages! I have my kraft paper, colors, stamps, twine and scissors ready, now it's time to get creative.

Make edible gifts for family and friends. Infused sugar and salt, mulling spices, cookies in a jar, homemade vanilla extract, herbal tea...too many ideas, too little time!

Create a new holiday tradition for our family. I'm still thinking about this one. What about you? Do you have any special family traditions that you cherish and keep up? Let me know!

Monday, November 30, 2015

November chic list

This month I was:

Listening to 25  by Adele. Ever since I first listened to Hello, I was anxiously awaiting Adele's new album. And it surely did not disappoint. Her voice still gives me chills and her ability to communicate strong emotions through lyrics is unbeatable. She's amazing.

Watching Spectre. It's Bond, after all. I must admit, I wasn't as taken with the movie as I'd expected: I found it a little bit too long. But still, Daniel Craig was sexy as hell, Léa Seydoux was incredibly stunning, and the action-packed scenes were fun to watch. Oh, and I think Q is hilarious. And adorable.

I also went to see The Mockingjay Part II., and that was another story. The movie was incredibly well made, as true to the original story as possible and it provided the perfect closure to the whole saga. It was amazing.

Visiting Munich and Neuschwanstein Castle. I only spent 4 days in Bavaria, but it was so much fun! I could rediscover a city I last visited 13 years ago, shopped my weight in Lindt chocolates and visited the fairytalesque castle of Neuschwanstein that had been on my bucket list for ages. All in all, it was a wonderful opportunity to get away from all the stress, even if only for a while.

Eating twice my weight in Bavarian food. Schweinshaxe, spaetzle, sauerkraut, wurst & pretzels, and too much beer...my poor stomach aches just thinking about it. It was epic. Just read this hilarious post, and you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.

Lighting the first Advent candle. I still can't believe we're already counting down the days till Christmas, but it's time to face the truth: tomorrow is the fist day of December, and the last month of 2015 will probably fly by with the speed of sound. I guess it's time to start wrapping those presents up!

(Still) learning Italian. I have reached the point where I think that the more I learn, the less I know. I know it's probably only in my head, but it still feels like one giant jumbled mess. I kind of hope that I'll be able to put some order in it over Christmas, when the life slows down a little bit. #wishfulthinking

Reading through my November list. The best book I read this month was hands down Jennifer Niven's All the bright places. I devoured it in two evenings, loved every single chapter and in the end, I cried so much! It's a beautiful, honest, thought provoking and heartbreaking story, and I'll be recommending it to everyone and anyone who would listen.

Loving the new Glitter Guide. Huge thumbs up to Taylor and the whole team, because they did such a wonderful job! The new site is beautiful, more grown up and much easier to navigate. Gathering inspiration never looked prettier!

Shopping for books. I went to the biggest book fair in Slovakia at the beginning of this month, and per usual, I bought too many books to count. I always say that books are the only thing I never feel guilty splurging on, since they pack so much lasting value and keep on bringing me joy day after day. Let the Christmas reading begin!

Reaching 30km mark on my bike. And feeling so darn proud. #enoughsaid

Now it's your turn to tell me about your November highlights. What did you like / love / discover? Do share!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Weekend notes & link love #26

Image via Trendenser

I'm going to repeat myself and say that I'm extremely happy to see this past week end. Between my work schedule, health issues and a few personal hiccups, I wasn't really being my best & true self, and I'm ready to make a new start on Monday. Also, anyone else out there is feeling completely stumped by the fact that today is the first Advent Sunday, and that December starts on Tuesday? I mean, WTF? I've been watching this year fly by, but this is getting ridiculous! I'm really not ready to see 2015 end! My ramblings are pointless, of course, so all I can do is focus on making the most of this last month and enjoy it to the fullest. And I wish you all the same! Happy Sunday!

A few life lessons learned during a sabbatical in Paris. I identified with so many of Ashley's thoughts and I love how she made the most of her time in the incredible City of Lights. Her advice to become an observer is my favorite! (via The Glitter Guide)

Do you ever struggle with procrastination? I certainly do, and could use any help I can get in this department. This simple trick sounds almost too good to be true, but I'm certainly willing to give it a try! (via Byrdie)

Why Richard Branson and I always carry a notebook. (via Forbes)

Michele's post on becoming human spam really stopped me in my tracks. I especially love the part about going back to the core, since it's something I've been thinking about a lot since starting blogging again. I wanted to remember why I started doing it in the first place, what brought me most joy and fulfillment and revive all those feelings in order to bring you the best Macarons & Pearls possible. Time to get out my notebook and write it all down! (via The Bamboo Project)

6 ways keeping a journal can help your career. This one really struck a chord, because for the past few weeks I've been trying to journal daily (in form of logbook), in order to record all the good & bad that's happening in my life every day. It's quite a revealing and educational experience, and now I'd love to apply the same principles to my career evolution. Keeping a career journal seems like a great way to start! Do you keep one? If so, how does it work for you? (via Forbes)

Everything I need to know I learned from Hermione Granger. Because I'm a die hard Harry Potter fan. And because I think Hermione has always been awesome. Duh. (via Hello Giggles)

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