Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Other's Words: When You're Happy

I just read the following words in a newsletter I receive from the "Art of Non-Conformity" writer Chris Guillebeau (I had read his book and subscribed to his newsletter). I love the way he thinks! And these words kind of expressed something I have been feeling quite for some time now but I have actually never been able to put those feelings into the right words. Sometimes other's words say it best (that is why I am starting a new section called "The Other's Words"):

"As I was editing a new book manuscript, one story caught my attention. A man makes a lot of changes in his life. He adopts a new lifestyle, sells his possessions, and spends his time on intentional experiences. So far, so good.
But then, he doesn't just make the changes - he wants to tell people about them. He tells everyone he meets, even people who are busy with their own lives and don't want to hear about it.

He is so happy!

Finally, his mother says something to him in a phone call: "John, when people are happy, they don't have to tell everyone about it. They're just happy."
The man realizes that she's right. He doesn't need to persuade anyone to adopt the same lifestyle. He doesn't need to scold or criticize anyone who doesn't think as he does. He just needs to live according to his ideals.


There's a wonderful freedom in living life by your own design and making choices for yourself. When you first create this freedom - for freedom is usually created, not merely found - you may find yourself like John, wanting to tell everyone about it.
[ ...]
Your happiness may lie in going against the grain of opinion or preferences. But sometimes, you should just go with the flow once you're there. Let it settle in. Enjoy it for yourself.

Those who long for the same discoveries will seek them out. Those who are envious will never understand anyway. Everyone else can just live their life as they see fit.

If you're happy, you don't have to tell everyone about it. 
You're just happy.

PS: See his homepage if you are interested in more:

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Yesterday morning, while dressing and deciding on what jewelry to wear, I thought that I actually needed new jewelry because my style has slightly changed recently and the jewelry doesn't fit perfectly any longer. As I am off to Milan in two weeks, I didn't dwell too much on the topic and went to work. 

I forgot all about new jewelry during the day until the evening when I met a person for an interview for my blog. She runs a shop (clothes and accessories) and while I was waiting on her to get ready to talk to me, I had a look around her shop. What do I see (well, besides some very nice bags and some nice blouses)? A bracelet. Golden. Wonderful. And not expensive.

Needless to mention that after the interview ... I bought the bracelet and went home feeling good. I not only had a cool interview on tape but owned a new shiny bracelet as well!

PS: Her interview will posted in a few weeks!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Eating Habits

A couple of days ago I decided that I wanted to be more attentive to my eating habits. It's not about losing weight (even if I wouldn't mind losing some SMILE). No. It's about being more attentive to what energy I feed my body with.
My menus are not varied enough. Besides the fact that this can't possibly be healthy, I also noticed that I spend a lot of time thinking about what to eat but I always end up eating the same anyway (total lack of ideas). I suddenly felt like I spent too much energy on "bad eating habits" and that the result was mediocre at best.
What to do?
Unfortunately, I am not an imaginative cook. I can't just open my fridge, look at the stuff in it and then combine whatever to a wonderful and healthy meal. I simply can't. What happens is that I look at the stuff in my fridge or my pantry and I usually end up eating pasta with something or bread and cheese or whatever uninspired menu I can think of. It's easier during summer time when my fridge holds plenty of fruits and vegetables (salad variations are always a good solution). But in wintertime? Impossible. Then there is the worst case scenario: I am in the grocery store, after work, thinking about what to eat for dinner, staring at the shelves full of food and coming up with nothing. Result: I buy too much and the usual stuff.
Again: what to do?
I came up with one solution: I need more structure. I need to think of several menus for my week in advance and then go grocery shopping once. Then I will start deep-freeze some stuff (should I not be that perfectly organized, I can fall back on that). Now when I come home in the evening I choose a menu from my list and start to cook.
These first couple of days things went pretty easy and I already enjoy ... how relaxed I feel. Let's see what I will say in a couple of weeks. Will I be able to stick to my plan?


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Being Busy

I don't like people who are always soo totally busy. I don't think that being busy ALL the time is a good way of life.

Having said that I have to admit that I am sometimes pretty busy as well. I try to avoid it but can't always. Take the last 10 days. Oh wow. I haven't been too busy but too busy to ... think clearly (and I am not mentioning having time to actually not think at all!).
There has been my cat-sitting week which was pretty time-consuming. Cool and sweet but time-consuming nevertheless (the cat and I became friends at the end, by the way!). Then a friend visited and it was all about catching up and shopping (strictly window shopping for the two of us - we are both on a tight budget!). Then in the office things went crazy and each night I came home totally tired. Too tired to think!

Therefore, here I am. Saturday. After a good night's sleep. Nice weather. Two days just for me ahead.


So, I just decided that my first action for today would be tidying up my closet. This has been taking up a lot of place in my head SMILE. Before returning to ... think I need to clear out the pending matters in my brain, needn't I?
I urgently need to put away my summer clothes. And I am going shopping to Milan in two weeks (my strict budget month is over! yeah!!) and therefore I need to know the content of my closet before heading off to my Italian shopping spree.
I can't wait to re-discover my Winter clothes (I tend to forget what I own!).
And can't wait to take up... thinking clearly again!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


I am cat-sitting this week. I moved my office to my friend's house in order for their cat not to be alone the whole day. She is an almost 18-year-old lady and when my friends went on a vacation last year, she had to go to a kennel. She was totally traumatized when they picked her up two weeks later, therefore, this year, they wanted to handle it differently and asked me if I could do this deal with the office. My boss fortunately is a cool lady and so I moved temporarily to their appartment.

What to say?

The cat lady is not a big fan of mine.
If she were a person, I'd say she is sulking :-)
She seems to say: WHAT? They dared to leave ME with YOU?
She is totally ignoring me. No, acutally, not totally. When I arrive in the morning, she waits for me at the door. When I try to pet her, she walks away (I almost, but only almost, take it personally!).
As soon as I open the can of food, there she is again (now you know why she was waiting at the door!).
Then, no news the whole day (I had been told that cats, and especially old cats do sleep their day away!).
At 4 / 4.30 pm here she comes out from under the bed. One loud meow is the sign for me that she is ready for some food.
Which, as a humble server, I promptly serve.
She eats and there she goes again ... under the bed.

What to say? Not everybody can love me, right?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Another Website

I found this other website and this other project that I found fascinating.

Hank Bought A Bus:

Have a look. What a wonderful idea. What a wonderful trip.What a wonderful intention.
This guy is an architect and I love his idea of living in a bus / of having converted an old school bus into a home on wheels. I see so many houses/offices that may look nice from the outside but what about the inside
I am all about being practical. I think that architecture shows its best when it's about being beautiful AND being livable.
Look at Hank's bus. In my opinion it's not only cool and stylish but (apparently, as I haven't lived in it) habitable.

PS: I would LOVE living in a bus :-)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Friday, October 11, 2013

NOT Ready For Winter

It's getting cold over here. Well, not yet cold cold like in temperatures below zero but cold nevertheless.

This morning, while waiting for the train to arrive (on my way to work), even though I was wearing a coat ... it was cold. It was then that I realized that I am not yet ready for winter. Neither mentally nor physically. Not at all ready. I am happy to have bought this cool gray winter coat. I love to think about what else I want to wear this winter (not only thinking but also buying SMILE). That I do definitively love about winter.
But to really feel the cold wind, noooooooooooooooo sir, that I am not ready to do. Not at all.
What can I do though?
I have to "hang in there"! What else? Well, maybe thinking about a nice trip to warmer regions (sometimes during this winter)??? That may be a solution. Just thinking about it makes me feel good and ... warmer :-)

Thursday, October 10, 2013


I. was a colleague of mine when I was working at the bank. By chance I heard from another former colleague of mine that she had participated in a TV show and had won some serious money! I had to know more of her adventure on TV and was glad when she agreed on answering my questions.

The show is called 1 vs. 100 (read more about the game on Wikipedia: Before meeting her I had no idea what that game was about but I was nevertheless impressed by her undertaking. I don't honestly know if I could have kept my calm on live TV :-)

Read what she has to tell about this adventure (the pictures are hers - from her trip to New Zealand - paid by the money she won... but don't let me anticipate anything - read for yourself...). You'll find the English version at the bottom.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Edward Burtynski

check out this webside:

Wonderful pictures. Wonderful topics. Simpyl wonderful work.

I discovered Burtynski while visiting Washington (that was in 2009 - wow, time flies!). I walked by a museum (they do have wonderful museums in Washington) and had kind of a hunch. I had to enter (I am glad that I didn't ignore my hunch). I loved his pictures. I was fascinated. I looked at them over and over again until the custodian started glancing at me with worried eyes :-) The exhibit back then was "Oil" and I still regret not to have bought the book of the exhibit. You know how it is: too expensive, too heavy, I have to carry it the rest of my trip, etc. etc. Right. But I should have bought it, nevertheless :-)

Now the guy has a new book "Water" and there is even a documentary "Watermark". Hopefully, his work will be shown in Europe as well!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


I sometimes think that this feeling of longing (to travel somewhere) keeps me going. It's like an inner fire or something (I am no poet - sorry!). Sometimes it hits me. It hits me hard. Like yesterday, for instance.
One of my line dance friends took her ex-husband's niece to class. The niece was visiting from Italy and she didn't want to stay home alone and therefore accompanied her aunt. As the niece didn't speak German, we started talking in Italian. We had a very nice chat and there, suddenly, it was.

All I had to do .... was talking in Italian to her. The sound of my own (Italian) voice. That's when it "hit" me. Like a wave. A wave of longing.
While talking I decided that it was time for me to go back to Italy.
Even if it's just for one day.
Very soon.
I have to go very soon.
Well, not this month (remember my credit card bill?).
But next month.
Certainly next month.
As soon as I will get my salary.
Can't wait.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Changing Hair Style

One of the most important advantages having short(er) hair is ... that you can change hair style every other month!
When I had long hair ... I had long hair. The only thing changing was ... that my hair got longer.

Now, since I'm wearing shorter hair, I realize, I can change hair style every time I go to the hairdresser. Or every time I feel like it.
Ok, I have to admit that my hair grows extremely fast (not my opinion, my hairdresser's) which helps the progress, of course.

Today I felt like a new hair style.
I had them cut shorter. Not short short (my hair is not ideal for short-haired style: with no gel it then looks like ... fur ... and I DO NOT exaggerate!). Now I have a cute little bob with hair that stops just short after my ears.

I look younger. But maybe THAT is wishful thinking :-)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

I've read about this project when it was already over. Unfortunately. I would have liked to follow it day by day, stop by stop.

Do you wonder what I am talking about?

The project "Station to Station" ( Totally cool. I love it. During three weeks in September a train traveled from New York to San Francisco, stopping at 7 train stations on its way.
The whole project was made possible by Levi's and the money goes to museums all over the US.

I think this was a wonderful project. Have a look at their homepage, I loved the pictures and the films. Particularly the films: the short movies shot during the train rides (like "somewhere in Minnesota" or similar), all the "Road Trip" movies and the "minutes" of the various cities. Wonderful. Amazing.
Made me want to be there.
Made me think of my last year's trip.
Made me think of possible future trips (well, the latter is not surprising - so many things make me think of future trips BIG SMILE).

21st Century

TV-wise I have now (finally, some would say!) arrived in the 21st century. I am now a proud owner of a flat screen TV that is 80 cm wide! 80 cm! I can't believe it. Quite the change from my old one which screen was smaller than the one of my computer!
My appartment now looks kind of bizarre with this big black ... "thing" in it but watching movies on a large screen makes up for the ugliness of the TV :-)

Do you think that I bought a new TV even though last week I was complaining about having spent too much money on new outfits (remember? the coat??) and having to pay my credit card bill (remember? the charges from my US trip?)?
No, no, don't you worry.
I simply got lucky.

My uncle (on my mother's side) decided to buy himself a new TV (a really huge one) and didn't know what to do with the old one that was still working fine.
He thought of me.
I am glad he did.
My old TV, an inheritance as well, was getting to be a hazard, I'm afraid. It was at least (AT LEAST) 20 years old and I was always afraid that one day it would ... start to burn ... or something. Do you think that it's exaggerated? Believe me, it's not. I know what I am talking about. My old TV was also a relict (and also an inheritance from a friend) that one fine day started to burn - well, it didn't really burn but there was a loud popping sound followed by a strong odour of smoke. Oh wow, it was like in chemistry classes hahahaha.

To cut to the chase: you could also call me the TV "recycler" :-)