Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Real talk: On challenges and being uncomfortable

 You guys, I didn't plan on going all MIA on you, and I apologize for that. Time management is still something I'm working on with my new entrepreneurial schedule in sight, and it takes quite some adjusting. There are a bunch of deadlines breathing down my neck and a few events I'm attending this week, that's why I'm taking a (very) short blogging break. 

However, I wanted to share this quote with you. I read it yesterday on Cassandra's blog, and it really struck a chord with me. I was in the train, returning from a conference about and with other women entrepreneurs. And no other quote could describe my state of mind better at that moment. With all the entrepreneurs popping up in the blogging world it may sometimes seem that running your own business is a breeze. That being passionate about something and wanting it really badly is enough. Well, let me tell you: it's more complicated than that. Being passionate about your subject really helps, but it isn't enough. In order to succeed, you have to have a vision, a bullet-proof strategy, a good plan that you follow step by step. You also need a generous dose of willpower that will help you overcome the problems and setbacks that will inevitably arise. And you have to be willing to step out of your comfort zone, or you will never grow.

The funny thing is, I'm not a very adventurous person by nature: I don’t need adrenaline shots to feel alive, and I like to feel comfortable (I mean, who doesn’t?). In fact, the previous four years of my life were all about being comfortable: living with the Prince Charming, having a good, but not overly challenging job, planning a short, I was just cruising. And then, BAM! Prince Charming turned into frog, my job suddenly bore me to death, and I hated the country I was living in. Changing all that required a lot of efforts and energy and testing my inner strength (and yeah, it is possible to dump or be dumped by your fiancé, move to another country and start a new career in a matter of one week). And that’s when, after so much time, I felt alive again. I was scared to death, I hated the uncertainty, I craved my comfort and wanted it back. But I accepted the challenge, moved on and started all over again. And I believe that this was the experience that gave me the confidence to start my own business. If I didn't go through all those tough times, I might never have been able to venture into the world of business all by myself.

Now, don't get me wrong. I still have my "moments" when I don't even want to get out of my bed in the morning. But I make a conscious effort to put myself through more challenges: it may be uncomfortable, but it is necessary. Comfortable doesn’t make me move forward. Challenge does.

And  I know I promised I would be honest with you, so I feel compelled to tell you this: don't believe those who tell you that when you work on something you're truly passionate about, it doesn't even feel like work. Running your own business is always hard work. It doesn't happen with a flick of your fingers. But here's the difference: when you're working on something you truly love, it is all worth the efforts.

Thank you so much for listening to my ramblings. I hope I'll be back to normal schedule next Monday. Until then, have a fabulous, successful and challenging week!

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Beauty: Summer wish list

As a self confessed beauty junkie, I am always on the lookout for the new products to try, new routines to adopt, new colors to experiment with. That's why new makeup collections always make me positively giddy. And this summer is no exception (although it will be hard to beat Dior's spring Chérie Bow - probably my favorite collection ever!) Chanel, Dior, Clarins, Estée Lauder, oh my! It is extremely hard to pick just a few favorites, but I've tried! I have my eyes set on the entire Clarins set: I mean, how fabulous is that bronzer, eyeshadow palette and shimmering body oil? And despite my already ridiculously extensive nail polish collection, I wouldn't mind adding a new color (or three) to the mix. All in all, all these items present an extensive danger to my bank statement.
Are you tempted by any of these products? Are you planning to add any new summer trends to your daily beauty routine?

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

I ♥ Bratislava (but only with the right people!)

Image via

I am the first to admit that I'm not a huge fan of Bratislava, the capital of my home country. It's rather small (but after living in Paris, all the cities seem rather small to me :) and it could have used the services of a good architect in the past. Somehow I always felt that it lacked in charm. That being said, I realized one important thing over the weekend: with the right guide, even Bratislava can transform into a city full of little gems and pleasant surprises! And I was lucky enough to have the perfect guide: my wonderful friend Z, who seems to have a knack for discovering all the perfect places. We spent two days wandering around the old town (the most charming part of the city), visiting cozy and inviting cafés (mostly those inspired by France) and stylish boutiques, sampling the city's macarons, indulging in one too many sweet treats and sipping fresh lemonades. It was such an easy and blissful time, I almost didn't want to go home! I can hardly wait for another such getaway, and I feel like I'm ready to give my capital another chance!

These are the things that inspired me the most, and that I'm planning to incorporate into my everyday life:

 Macarons, obviously. And other sweet treats. You know what they say: life's too short. Eat dessert first.

Friday night was devoted to The Great Gatsby, which we both adored. I mean, how handsome and dapper was Leonardo? And how fabulous was Carey's wardrobe? And don't even get me started on the Tiffany & Co. jewelry - my birthday is already gone, but I would gladly accept that stunning headpiece as a "just like that" present anytime! 

And thanks to this movie, I'm going to experiment with beautiful scarves in my hair more often. Carey / Daisy looks splendid in this photo, doesn't she? Oh, and more than ever I'm willing to give 20's fashion and style a try!

On Saturday afternoon, we visited the art nouveau exhibit, featuring one of my all-time favorite artists, Alfons Mucha, and a few very talented Slovak painters and sculptors. Alfons Mucha was the first artist that my parents made me discover as a kid, and I feel forever inspired by his glamorous posters, highlighting the beauty of a woman. And now I want to wear my hear in nothing else than elaborate wavy updos!

After visiting a charming little orchid flower shop, I feel inspired to experiment more with flower display in my home. How gorgeous are these tiny flower arrangements displayed on a tiered cake stand?

After visiting one dainty little orchid flower shop, I want to find new, creative ways to display flowers in my home. I mean, how gorgeous and original are these floral arrangements displayed on a cake stand?

I'm planning to enjoy smoked salmon salad on the terrace, and savor homemade lemonades and ice teas all summer long!

Oh, and I finally purchased Sheryl Sandberg's book, and I'm really excited to dive into this inspiring, and a little bit controversial read. Any thoughts?

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Monday, May 20, 2013

Weekend notes & link love #4

Image via Parcel Post

 I'm still getting back to normal working mode after my fabulous whirlwind trip to Bratislava. That's why I'm a little bit behind  on schedule, posting my favorite reads from last week only this morning. I'll be sharing my photos and inspirations from the weekend tomorrow, so be sure to check back. Until then, enjoy these great reads!

This gorgeous Carmel wedding combines all my favorite colors. A dream. (via 100 Layer Cake)

How fabulous is this "new job jar" DIY? An idea to steal, absolutely! (via Oh Happy Day)

Monogrammed anything is the best. Flower monograms? Even better! (via Parcel Post)

This living room transformation blew my mind. Obviously. (via Breakfast at Toast)

 I've never been more tempted to try my hand at homemade beeswax candles! (via The Sweetest Occasion)

As if I needed another proof that Jennifer Lawrence is the most hilarious and adorable person ever. I think I'm in love with her! (via Glamour UK)

Like so many other women, I was very moved and touched by Angelina Jolie's honesty. What a tough, but brave decision to make! (via New York Times)

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Friday, May 17, 2013

Words to live by

I've just started to read the Happiness project book this week (finally!), and right there, in the introduction, there was this quote that really struck a chord with me and that's been haunting me ever since. I have just realized that we're halfway through May, and I'm completely flabbergasted by the fact that the days have been rushing past at such a quick pace. Don't you sometimes have the impression that life's somehow slipping through your fingers? Like there are so many things out there you'd like to do, try, experience, but there simple aren't enough hours in a day? Well, I do. And I certainly don't want Colette's quote to describe my life. That's why I'm signing off early this week, and I'm off to spend the weekend in Bratislava, with one of my amazing girlfriends. 

We're planning to hit the theater tonight, to enjoy The Great Gatsby in 3D (I bet that will be an unforgettable experience!). There will be coffee, delicious cakes and decadent macarons involved. We're going to see an art nouveau exhibition tomorrow and enjoy some beauty and home decor shopping. And I couldn't be more excited at the prospect of spending a few days away from my computer and my usual mundane tasks. And I'm counting on coming back home with tons of new ideas and inspirations. What could be better?

I wish you all an equally fabulous weekend!

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

From my kitchen: Cantuccini


My love affair with Italian cuisine is still going strong. After trying my hand on focaccia and getting my first experiences with homemade pasta, I picked something sweet this time. Cantuccini (also known as biscotti) are quite an old Tuscan recipe that makes for a perfect afternoon treat (no, scratch that, they make for a perfect sweet treat at any time). They say that they're wonderful in winter, since they're supposed to be dunked in a sweet mulled wine. But I'm not usually one to practice patience when it comes to desserts: when the inspiration strikes, I have to follow it immediately. I mean, what's the point of waiting? You only live once, so you may as well have the dessert first!


You'll need:

* 2 eggs
* 250g caster sugar
* 125g almonds
* 250g hazelnuts
* 250g smooth flour
* 2tbsp baking powder
* grated lemon peel

1) Beat together eggs and sugar, until you get a foamy, smooth mixture.
2. Dump in the almonds, hazelnuts and baking powder and mix gently with wooden spoon. 
3. Little by little, sift in the flour and blend together with wooden spoon or your own hands.
4. Divide the batter in two and form two flat rolls. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let rest while you preheat the oven to 180°C.
5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, but watch carefully. The rolls should be golden brown (and they could burn easily).
6. Let them cool down only a little bit (5 minutes at most, otherwise they would fall apart when you cut them), then cut them into even slices (1-2cm wide). Place on cooling rack and now let cool down completely.  
7. Normally, you should let them rest for a few days, but I certainly don't dispose with that kind of patience. So just do as I did: dunk them into a cup of café au lait, or a mug of tea (haven't tried the wine version yet, but I certainly will!) and enjoy!

Bon appétit!

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Inspired by: The Great Glamour

Images via Madame Figaro

The Great Gatsby fever is rising. Daisy, Jay and Nick are practically everywhere, and there's no reason Macarons and Pearls should be an exception. After all, what's not to love? I only recently read the book for the first time, and I loved it so much! Baz Luhrmann is one of my favorite directors (Moulin Rouge is still my favorite movie of all times) and I believe he is the perfect fit to turn this classic novel into a breathtaking movie. His collaboration with Miuccia Prada is a match made in sartorial heaven. And this editorial was just too good not to share.

I've been feeling really inspired by 20's fashion lately. I've always had a faiblesse for sparkle and glamour, but I'm also sensible to the deeper associations these years evoke: what's with the women being finally able to assume their independence and live a life they wanted (minus the heavy smoking, perhaps, which is so not chic at any time). Now let's be honest: I'm not going to go all flapper on you anytime soon. Flapper dresses will never look great on my hourglass shape: they're looking that much more fabulous on boyish figures. Plus, costumes and carnavals have never been my thing, and I'm not one to walk around in a complete disguise. I'm all for adopting new (or old) trends, but moderation is key. A touch of glitter here, a pair of art deco earrings there or a decorative box clutch to add a vintage feel to my little black dress. I would also gladly adopt this patterned pencil skit, pairing it with a simple silk blouse, or a classic white tee for a more relaxed vibe. In the end, it's all about making a trend work for you, not the other way round.

Will you be adding a touch of 20's glamour to your own wardrobe? 

Shop the story

1. Asos Frock and Frill sequin embellished dress // 2. Jimmy Choo Crystal sandals // 3. Guess Oblong faceted stone art deco ring
4. Dorothy Perkins deco print pencil skirt // 5. Kenneth Jay Lane Deco teardrop post earrings // 6. Asos deco plate waist belt
7. Lipsy deco sequin vest // 8. Yves Saint Laurent La laque couture in Gris Deco // 9. Kenneth Jay Lane tear deco pendant necklace 
10. Anne Klein Deco'ed out thin enamel bangles // 11. Laura Mercier Creme smooth lip color in Mango
12. Dorothy Perkins coral deco bar box clutch // 13. Asos Frock and Frill white dress // 14. Modcloth 'S Marvelous heel
 15. Lipsy 2 in 1 dress with deco sequins // 16. Nina "Kiera" Czech crystal bracelet

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Monday, May 13, 2013

My style: Black & blue

Dress: Galeries Lafayette, Blazer: H&M, Clutch: H&M, Shoes: Deichmann, Jewelry: Peerless Charm
After a long weekend spent celebrating my birthday and meeting family and friends, the return to normal working mode feels particularly hard. I was thoroughly spoiled by my mom, enjoyed one of the best meals of my life and had a surprise birthday party (aren't those just the best?) I was also very touched by all your sweet and kind birthday wishes: you truly are the best readers and friends a girl could wish for!

Have a fantastic and successful new week!

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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Weekend notes & link love #5

Image via Green Wedding Shoes
A bunch of helpful tips on how to keep your office desk tidy and organized. (via Lauren Conrad)

Romantic pictures of Paris always make me melt.(via Wish Wish Wish)

Miuccia Prada, Baz Luhrmann and The Great Gatsby? That's a match made in heaven! (via Prada)

Probably the most hilarious recap of the Met Ball fashion. Erin always nails it! As for me, no matter how I slice it, this year's punk theme was just one big hot mess! (via Elements of Style)

I've never thought of purple as a wedding color, but this ceremony makes me reconsider it. (via Table for two)

The Suitors seems like such a great summer read. Plus, I love the dinner party etiquette advice! (via The Tory Blog)

I'm kind of obsessed with Roman Coppola's and Wes Anderson's series for Prada Candy L'Eau. The most darling ads ever! Watch the episodes one, two and three.

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