Wednesday, March 31, 2010
There is nothing exciting going on in my life this days except for the exams. I had my French exam last Monday. I know you're tired of me saying that I didn't do well and then having an excellent note, but this time I really wasn't great. For the first part, I didn't have enough time to complete the last document, I only started to write it. I've lost lots of time with my first because I couldn't concentrate at all in the beginning. I wrote the second one stressed knowing that I'm not going to be able to complete the last document. And then in the second part, I was shocked by the kind of text they presented us with - nothing to do with the domain - but I tried to do my best. Anyway, this time I'll be very pleased only to pass the exam...
Back to the art! I continue to present the pieces of my "Salvation Art" collection. Click on the link to learn more if you hadn't read my first post about it. Today's print was one of the first pieces I found in Quebec approximately ten years ago.
Sorry for the picture quality and the reflection - the light was not so great. I loved this print immediately: colors of the fire of creation; organic, almost living, interweaving lines...and then their resemblance to the symbol for eternity and infinity. This print hangs in my dining room along with two others.
The signature reads: "F. W. Reiter" and on the back there is a label with the following text : "No. Reiter New Abstract, Montreal, Canada". Underneath the damaged paper cover on the back is a text written by hand: "Show VXK4". I don't remember how much I paid for it but it must have been a couple of bucks only. I wasn't able to find anything about this artist or painting on the Internet but I certainly enjoy it.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
As I'm starting to write this post I'm not certain how it will turn out. I've been wanting to write it for quite some time now but, to be honest with you, I hesitated because of the person involved in this story. You guessed it: it's my better half. I've been working him for weeks and I think I finally wore him down. This post may be even considered as the continuation of my post about beauty of imperfection. I was inspired to tell this story by young girls, like my daughter, who found themselves in the somewhat serious and longer relationships, usually with guys who are "almost" perfect. Those girls believe firmly that they can change their man once they live together under the same roof. To DIY a perfect husband or partner so to speak. Husband improvement project. Now, I've seen things and lived long enough to know it doesn't work that way. So whenever I hear something that let me believe this particular girl might think she can change her partner or his bad habits, I tell her my story about two dirty socks.
It all started insanely long ago when I studied at the university and got to know this young boy with the most beautiful hair, lips and eyes in the world. We were only nineteen years young. Aside from not being able to repair home appliances (very big deal as I come from a DIY family!), he was a very nice guy and I was madly in love with him. I couldn't wait to live with him together. Four years later we married and moved to our first apartment. As many of you may already know, dating and actually living together isn't the same thing. I knew my young husband was always very orderly, sometimes even excessively so. Luckily for me, he continued to be that way and from the beginning on we did our household chores together (thank you, dear mother-in-law!). But there was one thing that drove me nuts each day! He used to leave his two dirty socks inside-out on the floor beside the bed each evening and forgot to put them away in the morning. So whenever I looked there they were: two dark stains on the floor. In the beginning, I asked him nicely to put them away in the laundry. Didn't work. At all. Then I started being upset about it and not too rarely we had a fiercely dispute because of that. One day it all escalated and I was so mad that I didn't want to speak with him. But the socks were still on the floor beside the bed. We didn't speak so I couldn't tell him to put his damn socks away! So as I was cleaning the bedroom and putting things away, I grabbed his socks and put them in the laundry. Thing I refused to do till that day. It took me 2 seconds. Everything was calm.
It might seem dumb to you, but it took me more than one year to understand that he's been putting up with my flaws (open books and magazines literally everywhere) while I raged about his socks. We were still madly in love. So we decided to not take this matter too seriously (apparently people freak out and divorce over a toothpaste?!). It was so easy and so simple: to love each other for all the good reasons and to accept each other's insignificant flaws. The secret is to not sweat the small stuff. There is no need to ruin the whole marriage or relationship over the toilet seat and the toothpaste! You can't change another person, you can only love them for who they are. So you have to be ready to love, accept, respect and tolerate the person as a whole, with all his good and eventually bad sides. That's it!
As for my DH's two dirty socks, they still live on the floor beside the bed. Occasionally, I make a joke about them and my husband put them away and promise me in all seriousness never to leave them there again. We are still madly in love.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Yeah, why can't I feel orange? Or yellow? But I'm allowed to feel blue?! If you're anything like me, you feel colors and colors influence your feelings and moods too. When talking about orange there are no two ways about it: either you love it or you hate it! Either way, you feel passionate about it. And passion is one of the words associated with this color. There are also: heat, joy, energy, fall, harvest, fire, warmth, sunshine, tropic... Orange combines the energy of red and the happiness of yellow. It is said that it produces an invigorating effect, and stimulates mental activity and appetite (not so happy about the last one). Vibrant and glowing, orange can add a punch of energy to any space. Orange is also often overlooked in home decor because of its intensity. But when balanced correctly, orange will add a happy, stimulating and even healing atmosphere to your home. I especially love the combination of orange with white and everything in bluish-grey direction. I could never paint an entire room in orange though, details in small doses infuse already lots of character. How about you, can you handle this color? Here are some vitamin C pictures from my inspiration files:
You like the pillow with rosette clusters in the last picture? You can find a complete instructions to make it yourself here.
You also have to visit How About Orange blog - awesome!
To learn more about the psychology of the color orange visit this website.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Yesterday evening I was a victim of a ferocious chocolate craving. Normally I don't eat chocolate often but when it hits me I'm just helpless. The only thing I can do is to stay up like hypnotized and go make something chocolaty immediately. I am shamelessly weak. Luckily, this is not the only flaw I have. So I found rapidly a recipe with only few ingredients and that didn't demand the technical knowledge of a French pâtissier. It is rather of a "whip it up, bake and indulge" kind. I added a white sour cream drizzle over it in the end:
Here is the recipe:
Simple And Luscious Chocolate Cake With Sour Cream Drizzle
For the dough:
- 2 c sugar
- 1 c oil
- 2 c youghurt
- 1 c milk
- 3 c flour
- 4 tbsp cocoa
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tbsp baking soda
For the syrup:
- 1 c milk
- 6 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 c butter
- 1/2 c chocolate chips
For the sour cream drizzle:
- 4 tbsp sour cream
- 4 tsp icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- dash of milk
Preheat oven to 380 degrees. Cream 4 first ingredients well together in a bowl, add other 4 ingredients and stir well with a wooden spoon. There are no eggs in this recipe! Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Allow to cool.
While the cake is cooling, prepare the syrup. In a heavy saucepan, combine milk and sugar. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Add butter and chocolate chips and stir constantly until chocolate is melted. Pour hot syrup over a cake and let stay for 10 minutes. For the sour cream drizzle, mix all the ingredients with a spoon and serve over cake. Enjoy!
Posted by Yasmine at 3:19 PM
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Curiously enough, it was a picture from a book "Organic and Chic: Cakes, Cookies, and Other Sweets That Taste as Good as They Look" by Sarah Magid that made me think about imperfection in life. As I turned the page and saw this picture I couldn't help but ask myself why the objects in this photo weren't prepared and arranged to perfection as is always the case with this kind of books?
It struck me almost immediately that my reaction came from this profound, insecure, vulnerable place that pushes me to strive to perfection and tragically enough never achieve it. This place was created very early on by the people that influenced my life: parents, teachers, even friends. "This is not good enough! Why didn't you try harder!? You can do better!" were some of the phrases I heard often, even when I was good - but apparently not good enough. The oddest thing of all is that I continued to beat myself up trough my entire life and showed no mercy for mistakes. Talking about a masochist!
Maybe some of you already know that imperfections make life beautiful and interesting. I can't get rid of a feeling that I should apologize all the time for my oh! so imperfect self and life. The pressure is even bigger nowadays with all the technologies that one should use and master perfectly. It's all too much: education, job, relationships, children, house, car, gadgets, looks, parenting, money, even blogging. Yes, blogging too. And I'm not going to go in the details about it, you already know what I'm talking about.
By searching on the Internet to see what other people think about imperfections, I stumbled upon Yasmin Ahmad, a film director, writer and scriptwriter from Malaysia whose video, actually a TV commercial, made me laugh, cry and think. She once said about imperfections: "I wept recognising that no one was perfect, and that if we expected to be loved for all our imperfections, why are we so reluctant to accept and forgive the imperfections of others?" Be sure to watch this video from the beginning to the end.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
1. My New Camera
I finally received my new camera yesterday. After reading many reviews of a low price range digital cameras with lithium-ion rechargeable battery, I decided to go with a very humble model that makes apparently great photos. Well, if people all over the world think it's a good camera (for an amateur like me) - I'll take it! Here is the first photo I made in my living room, with only a little day light:
Here is the second picture made using a macro feature (I cropped it a lot):
Although I reduced the picture to 1024x651, you can see beautiful details (click to see larger image).
Not bad... I will experiment more with my new camera in the coming days and weeks and let you now how it works out for me.2. My exams
I was extremely nervous before and during the exam on Saturday. It was a simulation examination, face to face with the examiner only. I think I have a serious problem regarding stressful situations lately. Must start meditation or yoga, stress is killing me. I had my other exam yesterday evening. It was not so easy but I hope I did well. Remember the last exam I had and I cried about this one question I wasn't able to answer correctly? Well, I had the result last night and I had 96 %! I couldn't believe my eyes! It's so embarrassing, whining for nothing, shame on me. And the exam before that (now I'm bragging) I had 100 % on the first part and 92 % on the second. I have only two other exams left: French language and the final exam that includes all the material we had. I'm really happy about it and can't wait to have my diploma.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
OK, it's not what you think...or is it? I'm talking about having a double style life! Normally I like simple, clean, modern and stylish lines in my clothes and in my home - nothing to busy, please. But since I discovered Swedish designer Gudrun Sjödén and her work I wish my name was Alice and I'd had a magic mirror that could take me in a wonderful colorful Gudrun Sjödén kingdom where I could live (secretly) happily ever after...Swedish designer Gudrun Sjödén has been designing her colourful, bold clothes and home wares for more than 30 years. She opened her first boutique in the Swedish capital of Stockholm in 1976 and has worked outside the parameters of conventional fashion ever since. She now has stores in Sweden, Denmark, and Germany. But you can also order her products or catalogs online.
Her clothes and home wares are rich and colorful, different and so beautiful. She gives a modern twist to traditional patterns. Her work is inspired by Scandinavian folklore and rustic interiors as painted by Swedish painter Carl Larsson. Gudrun works with a few simple shapes, the peasant blouse, the full folklore-inspired skirt, the simple grandfather shirt or bodice, the T-shirt, leggings and work trousers. But she also travels the world from Africa to Nepal, visiting suppliers and drawing inspiration for future collections. “The way I design clothes has always been influenced by three main sources – nature, Scandinavian design tradition and meeting people,” she says. Gudrun started having clothes made in India at the beginning of the 1990s, and, now, as she is making the company eco-friendly, she has sourced organic cotton from India. The best part is you can wear her things with a good conscience- Gudrun has a 'no child-labor' policy and uses no chemicals in the manufacturing process. Another interesting thing is that she uses models of all ages and sizes which work very well with this brand.
For more information visit her website: www.gudrunsjoden.com
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
No excuses! I promised to myself to make no excuses for the entire week without a post on my blog. I could give you a nice, long list but it wouldn't change a thing. So I'll just continue...
This week I'm preparing for two exams in my series of
eight seven, I have one this Saturday and the other next Monday. I'll be glad when it's over. Even if I'm really curious and I love to learn new things, learning for an exam is different. But there is also another sort of learning: learning trough life about life and for life. Even if I'm really good in learning, I'm a truly lousy learner in real life. It took me ages to learn certain things about life and even more about people. You can call me naive but I love people and I tend to see the best in everyone. Believe me, I would like to change but all I'm capable off is to be more cautious.
Recently I stumbled upon a wonderful article "10 Truths I Wish I’d Known Sooner" written by Amy Bloom in my favorite woman magazine Real Simple. It's so worth reading it!
Picture from Sunny on Flickr
1. Events reveal people’s characters; they don’t determine them.
Not everyone with divorced parents has terrible relationships. If two people are hit by a bus and crippled for life, one will become a bitter shut-in; the other, the kind of warm, outgoing person (cheerful despite everything) whom everyone loves to be with. It’s not about the bus, and a dreadful childhood is no excuse. You have the chance to be the person you wish to be, until you die.
2. Lying, by omission or commission, is a bad idea.
I cannot shake my dependency on the white lie, because I was brought up to be nice. And I’ve never figured out the nice way to say, “I’d rather stick a fork in my eye than come to your house for dinner.” But the meaningful lie, the kind that involves being untruthful or deceitful about important stuff to those you love, is like poison. Telling the truth hurts, but it doesn’t kill. Lying kills love.
3. Sex always give you an answer, although not necessarily the one you want.
It’s possible to have very good sex, a few times, with a person who shouldn’t be in your life at all. Have fun, and hide your wallet and your BlackBerry. On the other hand, it’s unlikely that a grown man, however nice, will become much, much better in bed than he was the first five times you slept with him. And if you sleep with a man who is unkind to you, there will be more of that; long after the sex is humdrum, the cruelty will be vivid.
4. Most talents are transferable.
If you can raise toddlers and teenagers with relative calm, you can be a CEO. If you’re a good driver, you can probably steer a cab, fly a plane, captain a boat. My years as a waitress―serving food to demanding people in a high-stress environment without losing my temper―served me equally well as a mother, a wife, and a short-order cook for my family. And if you have the teaching gene, you can teach anything. (I mean it. All you have to do is be one lesson ahead of your students. Sole meunière, Latin and Greek, algebra―you can teach it!)
5. Fashion fades; style is eternal.
Not only do you not have to wear torn jeans, a barely-there tank top, and a fedora, but you probably shouldn’t. The point of fashion is to indulge briefly in something fun. The point of style is to have one―whether that’s a sheath and spike heels or slouchy jeans and your husband’s T-shirt―and it should last you a lifetime. All you have to do is think you deserve to look and feel your best and spend some time figuring out how to do it. Don’t know? Find a woman whose style you admire and ask for a little advice.
6. You can’t fake love.
Staying in a love relationship when love is not what you feel isn’t likely to end well. If you know that what you crave is security/disposable income/child care and not the person next to you in bed, do the right thing. It’s true that one can learn to love someone over time and often through difficult circumstances. But unless the two of you agree to wait until you’re old and all the storms have passed, in the hope that love will kick in, it’s better to bail sooner rather than later.
7. Mean doesn’t go away.
Some people get better looking with age; some don’t. Some people soften; some toughen up. Mean streaks tend not to disappear. A person who demeans and belittles you and speaks of you with contempt to others is probably going to be that way for years. The first time it happens, take note. The second time, take your coat and go.
8. No one’s perfect.
I knew that I wasn’t perfect; I just didn’t realize that this also applied to the people I fell in love with. The object of your affection will always turn out to have huge and varied faults. The smart thing is not to look for someone flawless (which is why Elizabeth Taylor married eight times), but to look for someone whose mix of strengths and liabilities appeals to you (which is why she married Richard Burton twice).
9. Ask for help.
It’s possible you’ll get turned down. It’s even more likely that you’ll feel vulnerable and exposed. Do it anyway, especially if you are the helpful sort yourself. Those of us who like to offer assistance and hate to take any are depriving other people of the opportunity to be generous and kind; we are also blinding ourselves to the reality of mutual dependence. You wouldn’t wear pink hot pants and pretend they were flattering. Don’t pretend you don’t need help.
10. Keep your eye on the prize and your hand on the plow.
It’s easy to lose sight of what you want, especially if you haven’t gotten it. I know it’s less work to put the wish away, to pretend that the wish itself has disappeared. But it’s important to know what your prize is, because that is part of who you are. Whether it’s financial stability, two children, a collection of poetry, or a happy marriage, take Winston Churchill’s advice and never give in. Never give in. Never give in.
What truth have you learned about life?
What truth have you learned about life?
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Blue may be the favorite color for the majority of the population but I have to admit: I have a problem with it. I know, this is very strange, I don't understand it myself. I might even be afraid of this color and I really don't know why. This feeling goes way back to my childhood. Being a little red-haired girl with freckles I remember vividly shopping for clothes with my mother (it was in Trieste, Italy, sigh!). The nice lady wanted me to try out a blue sweater and I refused saying that I didn't like blue! She was very surprised and said to me: "If I had your hair and your skin I would wear only blue!" I went trough many color phases in my life but I never had a "blue phase". I've been trying lately to incorporate more blue in my wardrobe and I ended having some nice pieces. Mind you, people who know me noticed it and gave me compliments - I guess it was so obvious that I never wore blue! But I still have nothing blue as decorating element in my house with the exception of my sons's room where he could choose for himself. You can find here a nice explication of the meaning of blue color, and other colors as well. Here are some pictures from my decorating file named "Blue Goes":
Monday, March 1, 2010
Tell me something: do you beat yourself up over mistakes made? Well, I don't know how to stop sometimes! I just had my third exam tonight and I wasn't able to respond to one question, only one, but two other responses were related to this one. I felt my blood pressure going up while I was trying to find the answer. I was on the verge of tears when my husband came to pick me up after the exam. How ridiculous is that? As if life isn't demanding enough already...
Anyway, back to the blog title: I saw in my Google Analytics report that some visitors came to my blog searching for a "Keep Calm Carry On" poster as a free download, probably because of this post. It looks like the frenzy over this poster isn't over yet so I decided to share the information about a Keepcalm-o-matic Website. You can enter you own text and choose between several interesting options (color, font, image, size). So go on and try it out, it's definitely fun. You can save your poster as a jpeg image if you like, and do as you please with it after that. Enjoy!