Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Real talk: Au revoir, 2014

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The end of year always makes me slightly nostalgic and contemplative. I've always loved the new beginnings, but I also love taking trips down the memory lane, to take stock of how much my life has changed over the past few years. If 2012 was the year of big bang and 2013 the year of adjusting, 2014 can only be qualified as the year of challenges and new beginnings. And I wanted to take a moment to reflect upon them quietly, before the work and life madness begins all over again on January 2nd.

2014, that's quickly coming to a close, has been one of the most challenging, fast-paced, jam-packed and busiest years I've ever experienced. But to me it has also been a year of an incredible growth as a person and entrepreneur. It was the year of work and business, no doubt about that. Our family business consumed almost all my waking hours, weekends included, oftentimes even waking me up at night. I learned innumerable lessons in running a small business, managing and living up to client expectations, managing employees and getting people to do what I wanted.

Thanks to an opportunity to run the company all by myslef for one year, I learned a lot about making it happen. But I also learned a ton about my own limitations. I had to accept the fact that there are only so many hours in a day. And that my body can only take so much workload before going on strike. 2014 was the year when I totally neglected this blog, and all the wonderful relationships and friendships it brought about. And I'm not proud of that. I've been struggling with feelings of guilt, because I wasn't able to do it all. I was missing my creative outlet. I was missing creating original content. I felt inadequate. And then one day, I had an epiphany. I was focusing on all the wrong things, for all the wrong reasons. Instead of giving myself credit for what I accomplished, I was beating myself up for what I couldn't do. Such a huge mistake! All my biggest successes in 2014 happened away from the public eye, but that doesn't make them any less important and valuable. My own self-worth is not calculated in number of likes, repins and comments. I shall never forget this lesson.

For the past four years I've been evolving in this fast-paced and inspiring world of blogging, and seeing all those talented, creative and resourceful women juggle businesses, families, perfectly-styled homes and delicious home-cooked meals 24/7, I came to believe that we really can do it all. And have it all. But it's not entirely true. The blogging world can be quite deceiving: most of time it only shows you its pretty, shiny and sparkly face. And it hides the ugly and the exhausting behind the closed doors. I don't want to fall into that trap anymore. I don't want to focus on things that didn't work. And I don't want to play the comparison game. We all have our own fears, insecurities and problems, even if we don't put them on display all over the internet. That's another truth I should never forget.

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In other, slightly less serious news, this was the year when I finally let my guard down and allowed myself to fall in love again. To jump once again on that emotional rollercoaster, It taught me a lot about myself, my own expectations and hopes, my virtues but also my shortcomings. This was also the year I didn't listen to my intuition and for this I paid the price. I have come to understand that my inner compass truly knows what's best for me. It's when I try to ignore it that shit happens. I hope it'll make me wiser.

2014 was a year of tears, both sad and happy. I lost a person that was very close to my heart. Someone who I'll miss forever. But I also watched my brother get married on one sunny summer Saturday that I'll forever cherish as one of the happiest days of my life. I traveled to Paris again, and for the first time in years I truly unplugged - no computer, no emails, very litte phone. It was priceless. In 2014 I drank too much wine and even more coffee. I stepped out of my comfort zone, I played toursit in my own country and reminded myself daily how lucky I was to live a life that gives me a sense of fulfillment.

And last but not least, I will forever remember 2014 as the year in which I brought one of my biggest dreams to life. After 2 years of saving up money, after a year of scouring the real estate market, after countless visits, hopes and disappointments, I have finally made the leap and bought my first apartment. The one that reflected all my wishes. The one that I kept visualizing throughout the year, even if people around me kept telling me to lower my expectations. I knew what I wanted and I refused to settle. And I was right. It's like I willed that apartment into existence. And I couldn't be happier and more excited. And proud, too. There will be so much renovating, hard work but also decorating in my near future, and I'm so looking forward to it! It's the biggest step towards independence I've taken in years, and while the prospect of doing it all by myself is a little bit scary, it's also the most exciting challenge I can imagine. Please, keep your fingers crossed for me!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Shopping: 2015 Desk calendars, illustrated

Image via KTFDesign

I might have waxed poetic about photography desk calendars in my last post, but clearly I'm not done searching for the perfect one just yet. I'm a sucker for great photography, that's for sure, but I'm equally drawn to beautiful illustrations, especially since I've always dreamed of being able to paint and draw myself (something that's still on my bucket list). So I've spent another evening browsing Etsy shops and putting together round 2 of my favorite picks. And as I'm looking at their number, I begin to suspect that I'll need at least 5 different desks for 2015 to accomodate all my favorites (indecisive, much?). Which one would you pick, if you could get only one? I would love to know!

Flowers (via Printable Wisdom)

Parisian couples (via Le Papier Studio)

Colorful and fun (via Pen and Paint)

Confetti (via Pretty Things Store)

Floral (via Katherine Lenius)

Floral with a stand. (via KTFDesign)

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Shopping: 2015 Desk calendars

Image via Eye Poetry Photography

I might be a tiniest bit behind my schedule with this post, but the idea of picking up a new desk calendar has definitely been an entertining one. With a cup of coffee in hand, I've scoured Etsy high and low, to find pretty and useful calendars tha would really speak to me in terms of aesthetics and emotios.

You may have noticed that I have a strong penchant for beautiful photography and my love for the three of my favorite cities: Paris, New York and London, knows no boundaries. It comes as no surprise then, that I immediately zoomed on the works of Georgianna Lane and Eye Poetry Photography. Their photographs are simply exquisite! 

All these calendars fit the bill perfectly. Because while they'd surely keep me focused on the deadlines that need to be met and the work that needs to be accomplished, they'd also allow me to escape occasionally into the wonderful world of travels and daydreams. What more could I ask for?

This one is an all-time favorite. Paris, always. (via Georgianna Lane)

Paris & London (via Eye Poetry Photography)

Dream destinations (via Georgianna Lane)

Empire state of mind. (via Eye Poetry Photography)

Paris peonies. (via Georgianna Lane)

Paris, je t'aime. (via Eye Poetry Photography)

Which one is your favorite?

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Noel, Noel

I wish you all Merry Christmas, filled with love, laughter and happiness. May you spend it with those you love most! 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Last minute Christmas inspiration

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One day before the Christmas Eve I have finally managed to leave my work behind, I have almost all my Christmas baking done, our tree is decorated and the eggnog is chilling in the fridge. I have watched Love Actually for a hundreth time and for the first time this year (no kidding!), it feels that I'm slowing down. And it's so good! I will probably spend the following days sprawled on the couch, doing absolutely nothing, but if I ever get bored, I have a bunch of last minute ideas and inspirations lined up here on the blog. This is what I'm planning for the upcoming Christmas days (aside from stuffing my face with Christmas cookies, obviously):

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1) Make a bunch of garlands while watching my favorite holiday movies. I could get a head start for next Christmas! (just kidding here).

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2) Attempt to make these adorable snowman cookies.

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3) Dip clementines in dark chocolate, sprinkle with sea salt and indulge.

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4) I may or may not have already gone gingerbread crazy, but I'd still love to try my hand at these two gorgeous projects - mini gingerbread house mug toppers and gingerbread Eiffel tower. Parfait!

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5) There's something so special about handmade ornaments. I love these two ideas so much!

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6) Add star-shaped apple sliced to my homemade apple cider.

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7) Dress up our Christmas table in the most glamorous style.

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8) Work my way through my stock of homemade Christmas cookies. Yum!

What are you planning to do on Christmas?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas inspiration (and a little bit of real talk)

Images via Style at Home

Let's be honest and real for a moment, shall we? This morning I realized that we're exactly one week away from the Christmas Eve. Groundbreaking, I know. By now, all the Pinterest-perfect bloggers have no doubt their pads cleaned through and through, their Christmas cookies are all stored in color-coordinated tins, their Chrismas menu is all set and tested twice and everything is ready and full of holiday spirit.

Me? Not so much. For the past few months (for the past year, actually), I have been so swamped with work, family and personal duties that I haven't even realized that December was well halfway through. until I was told so by a morning radio program. And my pace isn't showing any signs of slowing down. That means that our house is rather a mess, I haven't even picked my Christmas decor colors, and I've yet to bake all my Christmas cookies (and I'm not even talking about my traditional gingerbread house). No freaking idea what I'm going to do about all this.

Thank goodness for online shopping, otherwise all my loved ones would probably have to go gift-free this year. There's at least one thing that went according to the plan - I made a large batch of Christmas eggnog with mom, and I'm powering my way through it with rather alarming speed (but shh, don't tell). I wouldn't miss that for anything in the world! As for the other Christmas joys and duties, I guess I'll just have to improvise. Anyone else around here who can relate, or am I in this alone?

My pre-Christmas confession being over, now I'll just keep staring at these beautiful photos and pretend that my place is this tidy and beautifully decorated. Or I'll just go an pour myself another glass of eggnog. Happy hump day!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Shopping: Etsy finds

With Christmas quickly approaching, I've been spending quite some time browsing my favorite online stores for great gift ideas. Of course, there's always this big risk that I'm going to find nothing but 50 items that I'd like to have! These are just a few things currently living on my Etsy wish list, and I'd love to know, what's on yours? Where do you shop for the most unique and one of a kind gifts?
Although I've already purchased three prints from Aditi's stunning and glamorous selection, I have my eyes set on a few more. This one is number one on my wish list! (by ThePaintedShoeArt)

I have a strong feeling that there's a polka dot clutch missing in my closet. Maybe it's time to remedy that? (by byMART)

With Christmas baking madness in full swing, I couldn't help but fall in love with these adorable rolling pins. What fun I could have with these in my kitchen! (by BoomHomeware)

A perfect pop of color for any winter outfit. Not that I don't already own approximately a gazilion necklaces. (by stellacreations)

My to do list being longer that ever before, I could use a gentle reminder from now and then to prioritize and cross only the most important things off. Could this pretty memo pad help? (by GreenTieStudio)

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