Monday, July 28, 2014

Your Life Like a Chanel Dress - The Luxury Approach to Life



In the last two months I have taken more time for myself and for activities which make me happier and complete, as a person, for activities which enrich my soul and stimulate my senses and, not to forget, for activities which engage my brain more and the whole process of deeper thinking. This happened mainly because I saw myself analyzing people around me and noticing how shallow our lives have become.

One thing that has drawn my attention to luxury products was never the high price people see at a first glance, but rather the well structured concept behind them, the craftsmanship (and the idea of high quality work) as well as the tradition. An haute couture dress by Chanel is not just a high priced dress by a well-renowned designer made from expensive fabric, it's a story, of women who are passionate about fabrics and needles, who treat every piece of material with respect and who present the final product like a child of their own, whom they are very proud of, it's a story from the idea, the sketch to the runway show, it's a product which receives life from the hands of highly skilled crafts(wo)men... If you are not really seeing the picture, I recommend this document called Signe Chanel, which will open your eyes on a whole new perspective about the luxury industry. It will show you that behind a product there are a lot of beautiful people (and I am referring to inner beauty) who do everything passionately. They live for what they do!

Going back to my analysis of people around me in the last months, I am sad to say that I consider life nowadays too fast-paced, in order for it to have a deeper meaning. Most of us can refer to their lives as to a fast-food dinner, rather than to a 3 Michelin starred gourmet dinner, in which all your senses are required and stimulated.

People just run-run-run and I am wondering: where are we all rushing to? Browsing through Facebook's Timeline instead of calling up your friends to find out what is new, is a shallow way to engage in social relationships. Eating micro-wave dishes instead of going to the market and being attracted by the colours and the smells there, and imagining what to cook, this is also a wrong take on life (at least from my perspective).

From this point of view, even if they had less horizons to set their sight on or less opportunities, our parents were more fortunate. They used to have TIME for themselves and for the people and things that mattered in their lives. They used to spend a lot of time reading BOOKS instead of tweets, and they would meet friends and discuss ideas, not only facebook status updates of others.
Sure, an H and M dress can make you happy (or at least for a period in time),...I have lots of those. But just like that dress, there are many more around the world, they are not unique, and they donnot tell a story. Or at least, not your story, and for sure, not a story of passion and love of life.

So I decided to take a moment and a deep breath and to refuse that fast-food similar life, but to try my best at reaching the gourmet one. I don't say it's easy...it's rather more difficult and more work is needed to gain those 3 Michelin stars, than just to wrap a kebab or a burger. Also that Chanel dress takes a lot of work, many...manyyy hours of work. But in the end, the result will make me more happy, I am sure of that. I have read more books in the last month than in the last year and I am positive I have more new ideas now than I would have with even one year more passing of my life without reading this much. I have met up with more friends than in the last 6 months and have seen their views on life, their worries and the small things which make them happy, and I notice that I am not alone in this world with my wish for a better and a complete life. A life full of texture and colour and music and scent...so that all my senses can be engaged at the same time. Because,...no matter what life you choose, fact is, we only live once, and we have to make the best of our time here. And there is no single recipe of how to live which can apply to two people at a time. But if you put more emphasis on quality, rather than quantity, if you care more about being than on having, you are on the right track for completing that Chanel dress, your life!


(Picture source: above - http://lachanelphile.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/fwch11i2.jpg and below - http://www.elle.com/cm/elle/images/up/elle-lagerfeld-chanel-sketch-3-de.jpg)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Day in Strasbourg - Part II



In part one of my Strasbourg post you saw some pictures of this small but beautiful city and I told you what I would consider a must-see. Now here are some things you should do and should enjoy in Strasbourg:

M U S T - D O :
Walk-Walk-Walk!!!
Yes, look at your city map to see all the places you want to go to...you'll notice, that you will soon check them off your list...and then just start walking around these streets...get lost and get charmed by the places there. I walked several times along the river from Palais Rohan up to the heart of Petite France. It was so peaceful, like a whole week of vacation wrapped in a day. Repeat the same by night-time, the city is particularly attractive by night as well.









Batorama - City Tour by Boat. Also next to the Palais Rohan you find the boats with a curved glass ceiling - perfect for city tours, even on rainy days. Take the long tour, the one for 5 minutes, because this is how you will be sure to visit the Quartier Européen as well.











M U S T - E A T :
  • Tarte flambee or Flammkuchen
  • Choucrute, the Alsatian sauerkraut.
  • Foie gras
  • French breakfast
  • Kougelhopf.
Also try a local beer or a local wine.



If these are not enough reasons to visit Strasbourg,...then I don't know what is! :) 

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Day in Strasbourg - Part I


After almost two years of having this city on my "To-Visit-List", I have finally made it to little Strasbourg in Alsace. It was a day-trip, I reached there on a Saturday noon and stayed until Sunday noon. First day with rain, but absolutely worth visiting, even in such a weather.

M U S T - S E E :
The Cathedral. It is a really astonishing building, not  just by its size, but by the feeling you are overwhelmed with when entering it. The stained glass windows inside are so beautiful, and the warmth from all the lit candles embraces you whereas the hugeness of the cathedral makes you feel so small, so insignificant in this world,..and still...such small people built this greatness. There is without a doubt something or someone powerful watching over and helping us.







La Petite France. Probably the most photographed area of Strasbourg - these houses are very beautiful. I was particularly delighted by the contrast which exists in many: old and traditional on the outside and new and modern, some even funky, on the inside.
I think I walked by 3-4 times, at different times of the day, on Saturday, in rain, and in the evening without the rain.And the next morning with sun....even if it is so small, this neighborhood changes its charm according to the weather and time of the day. Worth seeing and taking lots of pictures. And a nice place to just sit, look at the water, relax, and let the time stand still for a second.





The "Quartier Européen".  With the European Council and the European Parliament. Of course, it's a plus if you have someone to show you around. Otherwise, just do a boat-tour through it.

I leave you now with some of the pictures I took and will be back with more details in a second post.







Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Glamour of Italian Fashion at London's V&A Museum



Every time I go to London, I plan to visit/see something new (not a problem in this city, which has so much to offer), and/or to meet friends I seldom see.

This is why about a week before I travel, I start looking up websites from various museums, to see what new temporary exhibitions they are offering. I always check Victoria and Albert museum's site, because most of their exhibitions are linked to luxury and fashion, and so is  "The Glamour of Italian Fashion" exhibition, open till the 27th of July 2014.

I had the opportunity to see it in July and I can only recommend it for those interested in history, craftsmanship, luxury, tailoring, the "Made in Italy" label, some well-known fashion designers or some clothes/shoes/jewelry worn by celebrities. The exhibition is a bit of time-travel and while going through it, you can compare some of the couture to our modern days.

It also leaves room for interpreting the future of Italian fashion, so a must-see for everyone in the industry (but also for those who understand that fashion is part of the past, the present and the future and who understand that history and our daily life influence both the glamour and the functionality of clothes).

Enjoy your visit at the V&A Glamour of Italian Fashion exhibition.

(Picture source: http://www.vam.ac.uk/__data/assets/image/0005/238415/italian_fashion_header_1b.jpg)

Monday, July 7, 2014

ISRAEL - I now understand the Berlin Wall


...or at least, I have also experienced that feeling of controlled separation in a country, controlled by check points and guns, walls artificially built up to separate people from people, barbed wire and young (very young) soldiers holding guns (while some were still talking on their phones with pink and blingy covers).

A world of so much contrast, something totally new for me.

In my student semester in Berlin I lived in a student home in the Eastern part of the city, next to the East Side Gallery, a remaining of what used to be the Berlin Wall, the witness of history. It was interesting and of historic value, but it never had the same impact as driving along a wall which still retained its function, like the one in Israel, close to Jerusalem. It didn't give me the same feeling mixture of fear combined with immense sadness and constant question: WHY? Why does it have to be like this.

Then I remembered a the photographic and social project called "Face 2 Face" by French artist JR in Israel and realized the boldness of it: take a look at this video and think....we are not that different...there are more things we have in common than things which set us apart. So why put barriers between us? And why point at each-other with guns when we can just smile and make the world a better place...together.

(picture source: http://www.jr-art.net/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/photos/0.jpg)


Monday, June 9, 2014

The Red Thread Blessing

"You aren't wealthy until you have something money can't buy."-Garth Brooks
On my way to the Western Wall, yesterday, in Jerusalem, I saw a lot of people offering red threads. I approached a man, who seemed to be the only one who was not pushy to "sell" me this thread, and asked about its significance. He calmly answered it's a blessing, and asked about my name, wrapped it around my left wrist (I later read, that the right side/hand is considered the spiritually receiving side), held his hands abovey head and blessed me. Even if I belong to another religion, the moment felt amazingly right, the simplicity and his calmness gave me a feeling of inner peace...and I smiled. I later read, that this thread is supposed to protect against the evil eye (funny enough, in Romania red is considered as well to protect against the evil eye), and that the initial coloring was given by a simple worm, so simple that it would symbolize humility. And I feel it does. This is one of the many experiences I will never forget from Jerusalem!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

A Lot of New Experiences

My dear readers,
A lot of new experiences I am taking in at the moment in beautiful Israel.
With only one phone, limited time to visit new places and so much to "digest" and process, I can only post little from this fascinating adventure of mine, but will surely post more once I get back.
I've been only here for 2 days now, but it feels like 4 or 5.
Tel Aviv, the desert, camels, the Dead Sea, Beduin style Eating, the Wall between the people of this country, military,...all is just something I need to tell you more in detail.
Soon, on the blog :)
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