Monday, December 16, 2013

Change is the Law of Life

So I said to myself on Saturday morning, and after I took a stroll through the historic part of Bucharest with my sister to book the New Year's Eve 2014 party location and had a quick brunch with her, we made our way to the hairdresser I had booked for a haircut. No need to tell you how long I have looked for the right person to do this job, but I have have found her! So I leave you with the pictures of my transformation and some quotes about change... For me this was a great change, but I feel amazing ever since. What will you do to feel the same?

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
Mahatma Gandhi

Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.
Barack Obama

All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.
Anatole France

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.
George Bernard Shaw

To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.
Winston Churchill

Thursday, November 7, 2013

PEARLS at the V&A, London

"A woman needs ropes and ropes of pearls" Coco Chanel

Or at least look once at such "ropes", and what better place to do that now, than at London's V&A Museum. Together with the Qatar Museums Authority and sponsored by Shell, the V&A museum presents until the 19th of January 2014 an exhibition around the topic "pearls". These are one of my favourite items of jewelry, however, I have not just admired them, but I have had the chance to learn a lot on my visit there: history, art, biology, conchology, struggle for survival, symbolism, fashion, can touch all these topics while admiring some of nature's most wonderful gifts to us.

(Photos taken by me at the V&A museum London)

What I regret most was, however, that you are not allowed to take pictures or even sketch drawings, however, there is a great video online which shows you a lot from the exhibition I encourage you to visit while you still have the chance.

Enjoy the wonderful voice of Zoe Wanamaker while you sit back, relax and watch this video, before getting out of the house to see the real deal at London's Victoria and Albert Museum.

(Video source:

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

zChocolat - Share the Joy

Although we tend to live in a fast-paced world, where capitalism drives traditions into becoming commercial acts, such as seeing Christmas decorations in shops in mid September, like I was "lucky" to see in Stuttgart this year...or Easter bunnies hopping all over starting February...there is still a part of us that expects those holidays because they mean more, if you want to! They bring happiness, joy and smiles on so many faces, because holidays and traditions especially are meant to bring the loved ones together.

It is also a time when we tend to relax, slow down the pace, lay back and ...why not...relish...
So what better time than to receive another amazing package from zChocolat?!

I have mentioned zChocolat in the past as well on my blog, for their summer offering, and will quote the most important from that post: 

The chocolates are handcrafted in France by the World Champion Chocolatier and Meilleur Ouvrier, Pascal Caffet. For him, chocolate is an experience, which you will surely understand once you taste one of his 26 recipes created especially for ZChocolat, for which he uses no preservatives, no artificial colouring, 100% pure cocoa butter, modest sugar, high cocoa content, no alcohol, and only the best choice for the other ingredients as well, such as Piedmont hazelnuts, Iranian pistaccio, violets, raspberry, Sri Lankan coconut etc. However, not only choosing the best chocolate was a priority for this brand, but offering a customizable service of offering was also top of the list. The handmade packaging can be chosen as well, and it can be personalized with messages, just like my box was. You can choose the name of the receiver to be attached to the box, to give it the ultimate personal feel, you can also have an image put there, choose the personal assortment which will be, for example, sealed in the box with a coded heart-shaped lock...just let your imagination wander,...and ZChocolat will offer you the service

For the winter holidays, zChocolat has another seasonal line to offer: the holiday zBox, basswood or mahogany box collection. I got lucky and received the amazing mahogany Holiday Ruby box. What a delight - to finally hold the entire collection and taste all those different creations!

I took some days to do this, because THIS chocolate is not something you just eat,...but one praline is enough to fill your entire day with joy, taste, colour, music. It is amazing how many stories you can cover/go through by just one bite. It is time to close one's eyes and disappear...enjoy the experiences!
So here are mine - decided to let you in on just some I hadn't presented last time (see previous post), because THOSE were particularly amazing and the best reason to explain WHY this box is just the PERFECT seasonal gift ... This small box helped me travel through time and space and helped me reunite with people and moments which are set a long time in the past. Enjoy!

#22 - immediate beaming to distant places - the citrus and coriander combination embraced by Ivory Coast milk chocolate seamed a rather strange one, however I have immediately fallen in love with it. It's not that cold outside, but one does need a sweater and a warm jacket when you go out...but I didn't need to go all that trouble because my mind was already in warm climate countries thanks to this amazing chocolate. Even 10 minutes after tasting it, my palate was still embracing those distant places

#21 - I must admit, if I had to choose between white, milk and dark chocolate - the latter would always win my heart - so #21 is one of my favorites - dark with dark with almonds and roses...mmmmmm...the flowery note just adds that little something which was missing to perfection. I would order a box only with this one. I most specially adore the creaminess of it all - almost like a pleasant sin.

#19 - crunchy texture wrapped by smooth dark chocolate, a fine combination of contrasts. Best for those who cannot decide if they are tough or soft :)

#15 - dark chocolate delight with a fresh citrus note. I would compare it to a good night's sleep and to the refreshing start into the next day...relaxing but also offering new energy

#12 - this one would fit perfectly with #22 - sesamy, crunchyness, all these make me think of oriental deserts or even amazingly tasting salty main dishes. It's like I've been to a feast with only one bite.

#0 – crunchy, nutty… There used to be a time when gifts for Christmas consisted also in hazelnuts – and this praline wrapped in Ivory Coast chocolate is exactly as those type of gifts.

#1 – reminded me of my year spent on the Cote d’Azur, especially of the flower market Sunday in Nice. Although Provence is well-known for lavender, it was in Nice that I used to buy it. This vanilla-lavender filling in the 70% dark Venezuelan chocolate is again a time and space travel for me. All the good moments I associate with lavender just exploded in my mind once I let this praline melt on my tongue. Amazing how flowers are not just nice to look, not just nice to smell, but also give a distinct taste, a strong personality to things they mix with.

#4 – peanuts – remind me of parties and get-togethers with good family friends, where peanuts wouldn’t miss. It’s normal for me/us to serve something for guests, even if it’s just a small snack to go with drinks, but peanuts would never miss. It seems just normal that once I tasted this praline with peanuts and covered in 40% Ivory Coast milk chocolate, that I would feel so familiar and that I would think of all the loved ones.

#5 – dark. Inside and out! Sinful! Perfect

#6 – mmmm! Like a wafer in a small deluxe dark packaging.

#7 – this one was a strong one. Like a shot of espresso coffee, but crunchy and chocolaty! And very international: coffee beans from Kenya and Nicaragua and 70% Venezuelan dark chocolate.

(Photos taken by me)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Fight the Grey Outside With Green Interior Design

After a short weekend in one of Europe's biggest capital cities, I stopped to wonder how a person living in such a city can "fight" the grey surrounding, can make their life more peaceful and green. Luckily, today, while browsing for "cool new it-things" and "designer-gadgets", I stumbled upon a really interesting website called CoolThings, from which I am now sharing some ideas:

1. Aquaponics Fish Garden (pictures 1-3) is a combination of a mini indoor-garden with a mini self-cleaning fish-tank. Ideal for someone who needs a green spot and a relaxation-spot, but does not have all that time for cleaning, nor doesn't want to take the effort. This solution comes at ThinkGeek for the price of $59.99.

2. The table lamp incorporating a terrarium/garden/display case is a place efficient use of the table-lamp and is also very decorative. You can use it to create a terrarium for a small lizard - although I am sure it will not be as easy to maintain as the fish-tank above,  You can also just put in some plants who don't need a lot of watering...or simply use it as a display case for whatever you find interesting enough to put in there. I suppose while cleaning/watering, you have to remove the upper part - I did not find the exact description for this. All in all - I find this lamp a superb design piece - which does come at a price - to be found on Etsy for $210.

3. The Mono Hanging Bowls are also in the range of designer-items - I would see them hanging above a  dinner table - my ideal place for them, just below the hanging lamp - so that they are beautifully displayed and so they can ad an extra touch of green to your dinners. These are also not cheap, having a starting price of 102 Euros.

4. Now this is an option for something I thing should not be missing from any kitchen - a herb garden. Fresh basil, rosemary, sage, thyme, mint...picked directly from your small kitchen garden - always add an extra freshness flavour to your food and/or cocktails. The problem with the flower pots is mostly a storage problem - many have a small kitchen in their flats - so here I stumbled upon 2 options - one being #4 of the green-makers: the freestanding wall garden - a vertical garden with 40 separate planting cells. You can put it up just like in the picture below, on a separation wall to you dining area - or on your balcony wall. Available at Williams-Sonoma for $499.95.

5. If you want a smaller vertical garden, with blackboard included, to name/label the different plants you have in your apartment garden, Willians-Sonoma have another option for you, called GroVert Chalkboard Wall Planter, priced at $129.95.

6. Last, but not least, you can make your own small apartment green-house, by buying this cheaper Ikea Socker, priced at $19.99.

All in all, there are a lot of options for making your life more green - while being limited to a small flat. You can always make your life better - all you need is to be a bit creative.

(Picture source:

Monday, July 8, 2013

Treasure What You Have

On Saturday we decided to get out of the city and to visit my grandparents. It had been a while since I had seen them, and every time I feel guilty for not being able to find the time to see them. It's easy to find excuses: I work late hours, we are not in the same location, I have important meetings bla bla bla,...but let's be honest, what is more important in life than life itself and the ones who give life to you or are part of your life?!

Spending quality time with our loved ones is the most precious treasure everyone has a chest of, but few find the time to find the key which opens the lock. Very metaphorical, I know, but it's like that: we have our family next to us, but mostly make the mistake of taking time with them for granted. And it's not there.

My grandfather is just as always: concerned about my well-being at a job and secretly hoping for a great grand-child. I find it sometimes funny, sometimes shocking, how simple life can be divided into making something out of your own and then transmitting it to others. They too worked hard, and even now he does, my grandpa, over 80, works his garden and finds comfort in feeding his animals which give him food (milk, meat). He is happy. And when he finds a moment to sit and rest, he is eager to share some of his life wisdom or life experiences with us, even if it wasn't the easiest life, au contraire, and we, the next generations, just have to sit, listen, and,...if we choose to, LEARN!

My grandmother is concerned about finding gifts for us, feeding us, and watching over the future of the family, hence asking me questions about how and what and why... And it's a strange feeling, but in the past 2-3 years I have seen my grandmother more and more different than I have had before, meaning I have started seeing her more and more like a woman than just like my grandma. I have had discussions with her about how to maintain balance in the family, how to be able to have a job, have a family, and still be yourself. There is no guidebook which can replace discussion with her, based on her real-life experience. Oh, and there are also these treasures which she digs out from I don't know where, on Saturday, when she showed me a hand-made (embroidery) national costume, almost 100 years old, which I will be wearing sometimes in the future on special occasions (here in the pictures to see). The best part about these treasures, is the story behind them, which makes them unique.

The best part about your treasure, your FAMILY, is the story behind it, and the fact, that YOU are allowed to be part of it and to continue that story for others who will come. Treasure everyone, while they are still there.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

ZChocolat - The Pleasure of Receiving


After a long week, on Friday, I got THE CALL. My gift pack from zChocolat was finally here! I jumped off my seat, rushed downstairs, signed for receiving , and finally held a large silvery box with a big FRAGILE and KEEP AWAY FROM HEAT sign on it - the special summer packaging. I had been waiting for the ZChocolat Z37 Summerbox, and was excited like a little child about the fact that I was now holding the limited edition selection of handmade chocolates in my hands.

With the care and the patience of a watchmaker I opened every layer that stood between me and the chocolates. It was like a secret ritual I was undertaking, and the enthusiasm grew bigger and bigger with every “unwrapping”. It was a nice surprise to see that the chocolate box had been personalized with my name on it and I had received also a personal message to accompany my chocolates. It just gave the whole moment of receiving a special EXTRA, made ME feel SPECIAL.

Inside I found two boxes, containing different chocolates. One was a selection of the Orangettes, strips of candied orange peels covered in dark chocolate. The other one was with a selection of chocolates from zCocolat's 26 flavours numbered signature collection, which you can read more about here.
The chocolates are handcrafted in France by the World Champion Chocolatier and Meilleur Ouvrier, Pascal Caffet. For him, chocolate is an experience, which you will surely understand once you taste one of his 26 recipes created especially for ZChocolat, for which he uses no preservatives, no artificial colouring, 100% pure cocoa butter, modest sugar, high cocoa content, no alcohol, and only the best choice for the other ingredients as well, such as Piedmont hazelnuts, Iranian pistaccio, violets, raspberry, Sri Lankan coconut etc. However, not only choosing the best chocolate was a priority for this brand, but offering a customizable service of offering was also top of the list. The handmade packaging can be chosen as well, and it can be personalized with messages, just like my box was. You can choose the name of the receiver to be attached to the box, to give it the ultimate personal feel, you can also have an image put there, choose the personal assortment which will be, for example, sealed in the box with a coded heart-shaped lock...just let your imagination wander,...and ZChocolat will offer you the service.

As I mentioned before, this gift was a pure delight even during the moments I unwrapped it and found how everything was around the Summer zBox 37 was personalized for me. But the pleasure was even bigger once I started the tasting. I went in a random order, and wrote down my impressions:

- one of the things I loved about these is the balanced sweet and bitter taste, which lasts for a long, long time and fills your palate with the memory of the special moment you just tasted. I recommend you take one at the end of a dinner where meat has been served, and let it slowly melt in your mouth, so that you can have both a single taste of each ingredient, but also a mix of the flavours at the same time.

Chocolate #13
- sweet, but more sour (raspberry), with a bitter taste at the end (dark Venezuelan chocolate), floral taste, with a later aftertaste of fruity-ness, of summer, of raspberry
Chocolate #20
- very smooth milk chocolate, splash of orange and little orange zest/peel for a sweet-refreshing taste
Chocolate #3
- this one was our favourite so far. The filling, more fluid than the others, had a very fresh, young, splash in your mouth, indeed very summery…the taste of vacation and cocktails, of late evenings at the seaside, at the beach…
Chocolate #7
- why do I have a feeling I’m eating a tasty Marzipan-filled chocolate here? Because a creamy pistachio-almond paste is nicely surrounded by this milk-chocolate couverture. This is the first chocolate for which we cannot find a summer vibe, au contraire, the taste of Marzipan leads us to think that winter holiday seasons are about to start. We think snow and gifts…and suddenly, we get the refreshing factor…perfect for summer.
Chocolate #11
- reminds me of chocolate #13 – the filling has a strong raspberry taste, freshly sour, but is balanced now with the sweetness of the milk chocolate, a bit different from the bitterness of #13. After a small bite, my mother already thinks how to pair this chocolate with a Champagne cocktail. And she is right - it would be the perfect match.
Chocolate #17
- crunchy, exotic, bitter and sweet, a combination of Piedmont hazelnuts praline filling with Sri Lankan coconut and 70% Venezuelan dark chocolate – one word for this one: chic!

Flagship chocolate Z, with a white chocolate couverture
- creamy caramel, crunchy Piedmont hazelnuts, sweet and salty combination, very exquisite. Subtle caramel taste with a strong impression left by the hazelnuts. Chew slowly, let the aroma dissolve in your mouth and fill your taste buds with infinite pleasure.
Chocolate #23
- saved it for last, as my favourite chocolate is the dark one, and this one mixes two of them: the 62% as a filling and the 70% Venezuelan dark chocolate as the couverture. Both of them tied by a floral flavour (it almost felt as if I was smelling the violets as well) into a very, very alluring chocolate. I couldn’t control how much  “mmmmmmm”-s came out of my mouth as a reaction to the tasting of #23. Without planning, I had saved the best for last. The seductive taste of the chocolate made me think of a woman’s silhouette in a black evening dress. It is simply bewitching.
All in all, it was an experience I recommend to you all, a great gift idea (ZChocolat delivers worldwide, and very fast), but also a huge pleasure on the receiving end, for which I would like to thank ZChocolat.

I leave you with this short film from the company's vimeo channel, on which you can see the whole process which stands behind this brand. send a ZChocolat - Be sure to please!

Who is zChocolat ? 3' from zChocolat on Vimeo.

 Pictures were taken by me.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


Just because the last days have been very rainy, cloudy,..and grey...I started thinking a bit about fall. An then I stumbled upon a short film just launched by one of my favorite designer and a great gown-creator, Elie Saab.

Enjoy the short film called REFLECTIONS, which celebrates the coming to stores of the new pre-fall collection by Elie Saab! You will surely admire the femininity expressed through the cuts, lines and materials used by the designer and will surely fall in love with his style. It's just a fantastic way to flatter a woman's body, and Elie Saab knows best how to let simplicity talk volumes about great style and strong personalities, about a woman's confidence and seductive powers. You can also check out the collection here.

(Video source:
(Picture source:

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Portugal Part II - Cabo da Roca

"I really don't know why it is that all of us are so committed to the sea, - except I think it is because in addition to the fact that the sea changes and the light changes, and ships change, it is because we all came from the sea. And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have, in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch - we are going back from whence we came."
President J.F. Kennedy

In Sintra-Cascais natural park, at around 140m above sea level you can find Europe's most western point touching the Atlantic ocean: this is Cabo da Roca. We had rented a car that day and drove towards west the first thing in the morning. After five days of clouds and wind, we could only hope for the sun to make the waves around us shine, but we were embraced by the fog like in a mysterious
scene of an old movie. It didn't matter - we were there! And the fog actually helped me pay more attention to everything what was around me. It came and went, revealing each element of the scenery at a time: the lighthouse, the cliffs, the ocean hitting against land, the cross, the hills and the whole nature around us.
The 22 m high lighthouse had been built in 1772 on the highest point of Cabo da Roca, watching over all people who have made their way to see "where the land ends and the sea begins", as written by the Portuguese poet Luis de Camoes.
The whole place was quiet and loud at the same time. I could hear my thoughts hitting the cliffs together with the ocean,...I could have stopped time like being for a second in a bubble without nothing around me. I was there,.... and was anywhere else at the same time. I was mesmerized. And so were WE...

 And if you ever plan to be mesmerized by this beautiful place yourself, here is how to get there:
- rent a car and drive from Cascais to the west - you will see road signs, so it's easy. If you rent the car from Lisbon, then take the highway towards Cascais, and then do the above.
- if you want to use public transportation, then take the train from Rossio station in Lisbon towards Sintra (you have trains every 15-20 minutes, ride is around 40 minutes). Once you get there, just outside the train-station you have bus stops - take bus 403 to Cascais via Cabo da Roca. The busses go every hour. You can return to Cascais by bus, and take from there the train back to Lisbon (Cais do Sodre station). Will surely describe both Sintra and Cascais in the following posts, so stay tuned.

Oh,...yes,...of could I forget....: if you choose to rent a car, when coming down from Cabo da Roca, I advise you to drive along the coast, and make a pit stop somewhere...look around...and take it all's all so, so beautiful!!! 
(photos taken by me / with my camera)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...