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:

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