Thursday, July 24, 2014

Etsy finds: Pretty photo albums

Image via: WatermarkBindery cherry branch photo album

This past Tuesday, I gathered all my courage and set about to sorting out a bunch of boxes full of old clothes, notebooks, magazines and just stuff in general. Admittedly, it's not the most fun and enjoyable activity you can do on a random afternoon, but I find the act of getting rid of old things oddly soothing and relieving. Don't you?

And what's more, even among all those useless dust-gathering things, I managed to find a few hidden gems (hello, my high school journals). I fell upon a few boxes filled to the brim with photographs, letters and postcards. And browsing through them made me feel kind of nostalgic, in the best possible way.

With our lives proudly displayed on social media these days it can be hard to believe, but I really belong to a generation that wasn't born with a smart phone clutched tightly in the hands. I can still remember those times in high school when we used landline phone to set up dates (with our parents usually lurking nearby), when we had our photos developed (and not stored on Facebook and Instagram), and when we used to send each other (gasp!) letters and postcards.

Don't get me wrong. I'm just as dependent on my iPhone and addicted to Instagram these days as the next girl. But there's something so wonderfully old-fashioned about the slightly faded ink of the photographs. And don't even get me started on all the happy (and sometimes bittersweet) memories that it evokes.

And since making photo albums again was one of the items on my summer bucket list, this was just the perfect incentive for me to start hunting down that perfect blank albums. Per usual, I turned to my trusted Etsy, and I sure wasn't disappointed. Below is just a small portion of my current favorites, and while I'm trying to pick the winner(s), I would love to know: do you ever have your photos developed? Do you make your own photo albums? If so, where do you buy them? Any tricks of the trade you'd like to share?




Saturday, July 19, 2014

Weekend notes & link love #15

Image via ThePaintedShoeArt

This was one of those weeks that's left me drained both physically and emotionally; but also kind of elated and proud of everything I accomplished. Isn't that a weird combination? Does it ever happen to you, too?

My workload was as crazy as ever - with my dad being away from the family business for a week, I've had to take upon some of his responsibilities. I'm most definitely not complaining - being thrown in the deep water is the best training in running a small business I could ask for, and I'm infinitely grateful for such an opportunity. But there seems to be little time left for work-unrelated activities in my life right now, and I've been craving more of that elusive work-life balance. Do you have any tips or strategies on handling such a situation? They'd be more than welcome!

I'm planning to do pretty much nothing serious this weekend. You could find me sprawled on the couch watching Tour de France (it makes me so nostalgic for my years spent in France!), or maybe in the kitchen, baking something delicious with peaches and blueberries. I'm also planning to avoid the heat wave that's hit the country, to catch up on my favorite blogs and maybe, just maybe, to put some order into my editorial calendar. Sounds like a plan to me.

I'm signing off for the weekend with a few of my favorite links from around the web, and I'm wishing you all the most relaxing, beautiful and fun-packed weekend! xx

one: I love pretty much everything in Aditi's Etsy shop. She is so incredibly talented! And have I mentioned that her Instagram account is pure eye candy? Stunning. (via Etsy)

two: “I believe in plenty of optimism and white paint, comfortable chairs with lights beside them, open fires on the hearth and flowers wherever they ‘belong,’ mirrors and sunshine in all rooms.” - A fascinating story of Elsie de Wolfe (via The New Yorker)

three: I think I could never pull off an all-white house, but that doesn't prevent me from swooning over these gorgeous and stunning pictures of Monika Hibbs' home. Wow. (via Style me Pretty Living)

four: Is multitasking messing with your productivity? I'll be the first to admit that I'm often guilty of having too many excess open browser tabs. I'm definitely going to give Anne's tips a try, just to see if I'm still recuperable! (via Clementine Daily)

five: I love Camille's perspective on turning 30 so much! I still have a couple of years before I reach this milestone, but I'm already planning on incorporationg some of her philosophies into my life! (via Camille Styles)

six: Raspberry Peach Prosecco Punch. It sounds just as delicious as it looks! (via Table for Two)

seven: Dying to get my hands on a copy of Heather Christo's cookbook! (via BookDepository)

eight: Career advice from 22 amazing and successful women. So much wisdom going on around here! (via The Zoe Report)

nine: Hands down the prettiest Caprese salad I've seen so far. (via Love and Lemons)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Inspired by: French-inspired kitchen

Photos by Olivia Leigh, via Style Me Pretty Living

Our family summer house has been under reconstruction since February, so lately there's been a lot of dreaming, inspiration gathering, planning and decorating on my mind. I have to confess that at the beginning, I wasn't particularly happy about the whole idea. I used to hate that old house. It was really old-fashioned, too dark, too shabby, and not even remotely welcoming. Plus, it was too far from the city, with no internet connection, and there was only a huge garden to "entertain" me. But now that we threw out tons of stuff, stripped the carpets down and switched them for a new wooden flooring and painted the walls bright white, with different accent walls for every room, the old house has gained a whole new appeal. And the funny thing is, the things that used to irk me the most (no wifi, location)  are the things I've grown to appreciate. I would never swap living in the city for a country house, but the weekends spent in the tranquility, calm and fresh air of the countryside can be truly amazing.

That being said, bare walls, even if they're painted in bright colors, aren't particularly fun. And that's where the best part - decorating - has its turn. I'm especially excited at the prospect of having two kitchens at my disposal (of course, if mom lets me use hers from time to time!). I've been dreaming of having a beautiful French country-inspired kitchen for years, so when I first saw this extraordinary place on Style me Pretty Living, I couldn't help but marvel at its perfection. Captured by the lens of Olivia Leigh, this beautiful kitchen breathes French charm and a kind of old romantic vibe that makes my heart melt. The only question that remains is, when can I move in?

I have saved every. single. picture to my inspiration folder, and these are the elements that inspire me the most while designing our own kitchen:
 

 

I'm somewhat fascinated by kitchen islands, and this one is pure perfection. Not only it offers plenty of work surface and storage space, it also looks beyond fabulous and can host all five members of the family. What's not to love?


As much as I love the idea of open shelves, it's not the most practical thing. Plus, I really hate the idea of having to wash all unused my plates and mugs every week just to get rid of the dust. Call me lazy, but I'll always pick spacious wooden cabinets over open shelves.


Granite countertops look both sturdy and glamorous, and they are the perfect backdrop for all the necessary odds and ends, like fresh herbs, stylish coffee machine and simple pots and jars.


How amazing is the decal placed above the stove? I would probably pick an inscription in French, and I'm sure it'd make me happy every time I'd cooked.



These pretty little sugar containers are beyond adorable.




I'm not particularly fond of white sinks - they seem too hard to keep clean (or am I mistaken?), but this one is really striking. Especially with the pops of green coming from the little topiaries and fresh basil leaves.

 

...and a few pretty finishing touches. All in all, I'm really smitten. What about you?


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Shopping: Asos summer sale


Summer sales. These two words mean nothing but a catastrophe for my bank account. Although I've been trying to be reasonable, and avoid the sale temptation altogether, when it comes to Asos, I'm powerless. I only wanted to browse the sale section for blog research purposes (oh well, who am I kidding, right?), but before I knew what hit me, my shopping cart was brimming with all these can't-live-without pieces.

I've been on a midi skirt kick lately, and this lace one and this sheer burnout one would make for nice additions to my growing collection. I've also been on the lookout for a classic beige tote (perfect for a transition from a business meeting to a shopping spree), and this Aldo shopper fits the bill just perfectly. But I'm also hesitating over this oxblood bag that would be perfect for fall. Decisions, decisions!  

I would love to know: which of these pieces would be worth biting the bullet for you?

one: Ted Baker midi dress in bright floral print
two: Ted Baker skinny jeans in summer bloom print
three: Asos midi skirt in pleated lace
four: Aldo Bodner shopper bag
five: Asos midi dress in animal print
six: Asos midi skirt in sheer burnout
seven: Pieces Eileen tote bag
eight: Asos midi dress with full skirt
nine: Ted Baker jumper with embellishment
ten: River Island red diamond quilted bag (in the meantime, this bag has disappeared from Asos, but it's still available at River Island. See? They go fast!)
eleven: Asos Premium full midi skirt

Friday, July 4, 2014

Summer 2014 bucket list


Like so many bloggers before me, I have fallen under the spell of seasonal bucket lists. It is perfectly truth that my last one didn't work out all that well, because I spent all winter long doing nothing but working...and working. But since I'm the eternal optimist, I'm hoping for the best this summer. These are the things I'm planning to accomplish in the upcoming weeks:


one: Wake up 30 minutes earlier every day, and use this time for whatever activity strikes that my fancy. Working out, reading a few pages of a book, listening to new music, blogging...the options are endless. I'm particularly drawn to the possibility of having a "me" time, with no emails, no obligations and no one talking to me! (image via)

two: Play tourist in my own country. I traveled halfway around the world to see the Empire State building. I visit Paris so often that I still call it my second home. I ate the best waffles in Brussels. I drank the best tea in London. Seeing how much I love traveling and discovering new places, it's quite appalling to admit how little I actually know Slovakia. I'm guilty of thinking that grass is greener elsewhere, but I'm determined to use this summer to give my home country, its cities, monuments and countryside their proper credit. My camera always in hand, of course! (image via)

three: Sort out my photos and start making real photo albums again. I used to spend hours browsing through my photos, picking the best ones to print out, creating scrapbook-like albums with precise inscriptions of dates, places and people never to forget. And then Instagram happened. And I got lazy. And my photographs kept piling up on my computer... Not anymore. I've been searching high and low for the prettiest photo albums available and I have my pencils, glue and scissors ready. All I have to do now is sort through a few thousands of photos. Should be a piece of cake, right? (image via)

four: Try a new recipe every weekend. We're already halfway through the renovation of our summer house, which means I have a sparkling new, all-white, too-beautiful-for-words kitchen at my disposal. Which, in turn, means that I have no excuse left not to cook and bake my head off during every single summer weekend. I'm quite looking forward to it. And my ever growing pile of food magazines is the witness to my resolve. (image via)

five: Write every single day. Blog, journal, jot down my random thoughts. No matter the subject or the medium used. I have recently reignited my passion for writing, and I want to use every moment available to hone my skills, become a better writer, and share the results of my efforts here on the blog. (image via)

six: Visit Paris again. This one is easy, really. I have already booked my tickets for the beginning of September, and I'm excited like a little kid at Hamleys. Enough said. (image via)

seven: Read every book on my summer reading list. I should probably clarify that my current reading list is mile-long and still growing. I am going to share an abridged version sometimes next week and I would love to get your recommendations on which books I shouldn't miss for nothing in the world. Care to share? (image via)

eight: Enjoy as many outdoor barbecue parties as possible. And always try new recipes. Seeing how much I love summer barbecues, this one is a no-brainer. (image via)

nine: Start learning Italian. For real, this time. I've already had a few false starts with this beautiful language, but this time I have a really special means to keep me motivated. I'm dying to visit Amalfi Coast next summer and I would love to work my way through this charming part of Italy by being able to order my Caprese, read the morning newspaper while sipping on a cappuccino, and who knows? Maybe strike up a conversation with a charming Italiano. A girl can dream, right? (image via)

Now, I would love to know. Do you create your own seasonal bucket list? If so, what's on yours for this summer?

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Etsy finds: Chanel art prints

ThePaperWing Chanel Nail polish poster




When it comes to discovering and collecting beautiful prints and illustrations (something I'm really passionate about), there's no place like Etsy. Building an art collection may seem a little intimidating at times, but when it comes to art, I've always championed the idea that you should buy the one that grabs your heart, captures your imagination, transports you to places hitherto unknown or brings back happy memories. But above all, art should inspire you and make you dream. You really can do no wrong when following your intuition. 

That being said, sometimes my own intuition leads me towards the most whimsy, feminine and frivolous pieces. And I love it. Take the Chanel purse. Right now, buying one would be an absolute dream, but also an utter madness - especially because I'm saving money to buy an apartment. But I can still hang one above my desk, to remind me to never give up on a dream. And inspired by that, I've rounded up my other favorite Chanel-inspired prints that I'd love to add to my collection - which one would you pick?




Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Travel: Wanderlust

Image via

For the past few weeks I've been having the severest case of wanderlust. Whether I'm in the office, at home, awake or half-asleep, I find myself daydreaming of colorful rooftops of Positano, fragrant lavender fields of Provence, hustle and bustle of New York, and sunsets over Seine in Paris. And that's only a small portion of my list. Even new, when I should be focusing on my work and to-do list, all I want to do is pack my suitcase and disappear, even if just for a few days. 

To me, traveling has always been one of the most important sources of inspiration, whether it comes to fashion and style, beauty secrets, culinary inspirations or living the life in general. 
I have learned so many valuable life lessons while traveling and living abroad: the importance of my own independence, the value of friendship that lasts no matter the distance, the beauty of serendipity. Being away from home also taught me to never give up, even if it can be the toughest thing to do.

These are just a few destinations currently on my "must visit" list, and I would love to know: where would you go, if money, time and work were no object? Which destination would you pick first? Or would you rather take a trip around the world? 

Image via

Prague, Czech Republic

Image via

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Image via

Santorini, Greece

Image via

Lake Como, Italy

Image via

New York

Image via

London

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Real talk: Hello again!



I've been thinking of writing this post for such a long time, and yet here I am, sitting behind my computer, struggling to find the right words to say. I've never intended to put my blog on a 4-month hiatus, it just sort of happened. Truth be told, I used to put so much pressure on my editorial calendar, on the perfect use of affiliate links, on the flawless photo editing, that somewhere along the road I simply lost the joy and happiness that blogging used to bring me. And when I realized that, I knew it was time to take a step back, reconsider and reevaluate my motivations, realign my values and priorities, and only then start all over again, with a fresh perspective.

So here I am, hitting my keyboard again, with tons of inspiration in my head and notebook, but also a tiny bit of apprehension. Starting all over again can be so scary sometimes! I've given a great deal of thought to the direction I want this blog to have, and all this time, one thought kept flashing in my mind: beware of perfection!

I think there's been so much unnecessary pressure to make everything look picture-perfect in the blogging world. To me, everything started sort of blend together - all those flawlessly styled apartments, harmonious relationships, effortless careers, perfectly styled kids and huge engagement rings... After a moment, they all started to look the same, interchangeable, unoriginal. Aspirational, not inspirational. But that's not what life is all about. Life can get messy and complicated. It has its quirks and its flaws that make it that much more interesting. And that's why what I'm really striving for this little internet corner of mine to be, is real.

Don't get me wrong. I'm still that girl who falls down the rabbit hole of Pinterest every other day. Who gets overly excited over a brand new cookbook. Who can buy three dresses at once, just because she can't decide on which pattern she loves the most. And who swoons over pictures of pretty pink blooms, of Paris, of gorgeous homes.

But I'm also a woman who deals with joys and drawbacks of running a family business day in & day out. Who is saving pennies to buy her first "adult" apartment all by herself. Who still believes that a Prince Charming is somewhere out there, although rather late to the party. Who gets angry and frustrated when things don't go her way.

In short, I'm no picture-perfect Pinterest creature. I'm a real woman and I want my blog to reflect that. That's why the only thing I want this blog to be, is genuine. I'll still be sharing beautiful photos, inspiring stories and mouthwatering recipes with you, but I'm also planning to bring back the real talk and all those tough questions we all have to face at one point in time. I hope that you can relate to this and I'm so looking forward to seeing you around again!

Cheers to the new beginnings!


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