Sunday, January 13, 2019

Bijoux Bijoux - About Fashion, Jewelry, Chanel and Christian Dior

Kunstgewerbemuseum Kulturforum Berlin hosts until the 27th of January an exhibition dedicated to fashio, jewerly, mostly created by Christian Dior and Chanel. Bijoux Bjoux! is an interesting journey through the world of high-end fashion starting with the late 1920s onwards. Besides Chanel and Christian Dior, there are featured both fashion and jewelry works by Moschino, YSL or Swarovski. It covers two floors and displays a lot of interesting works that might interest not only the fashionistas, but also the recent times historians as well as people interested in design and fine arts in general.


Most of the objects exposed were offered to the public thanks to the generosity of Gisela Wigert, one of the most important German collectors of costume jewelry. Besides jewelry, beautiful outfits, made of fine fabrics looking out of a beautiful fairy tale are the perfect combination to admire and, if lucky enough, to reproduce in real life for a special occasion. For me, the pink dress looks just perfect for any season or special opportunity to shine out in the party world.


The jewelry has mostly influences from the 1960s, which is not my favorite fashion inspiration. Big pieces, colourful, overcharged, using different materials and with big - way too big design - are not the kind of things that I love to adorn myself. The conception and the ways in which all those pieces were brought together was, for sure, challenging.


Applying fine lines of jewelry on dresses and fashion outfits in general is always a great idea and the good taste rules are telling that this is just enough for going out, without additional jewelry added.


Oriental influences in jewelry represent a special chapter and I prefer them often to the relatively simple plain lines of the Western fashion. However, a complex piece of jewerly, usually the case of those inspired by non-European works of art, require a minimal, monocromous dress. 


The surprise of this exhibition was that this combination of wool and metal is not something new, but a trend that is coming back from - probably - end of the 1970s, beginning of the 1980s. Not my favorite kind of jewelry and earrings in general, but just to be a trend follower, I purchased one (blue) pair recently for myself too.


Some of the jewerly exposed are more fine and require a fine and complex expertise to create them.This bracelet, for instance, is one of my favorites, not only for the milky shades of the stones, but also for the delicate touch yet the heaviness of the materials.


The massive gablonz from the 1940s, reapearred in the 1970s and are once in a while used also nowadays. I personally prefer the very fine broches, with small - one type of - very precious stones. They are also not something to wear all day long, unless you have a certain age and/or a very high-end social/professional position. 


All my aunts used to wear broches, but not all of them were my taste. This precious flower caught my eye both for the combination of colour, design and stones.


Unique pieces of jewelry match different fashion outfits but a simple black dress matches everything. All round the day. All those 4 black dresses are so gorgeous...


And so are those colourful variants, made by Christian Dior, the last from right being back on the fashion catwalks as soon as the last year. I personally love more the yellow and the pink version, and all the glamorous glittering shoes too. 


The last section of the exhibition has more interesting pieces of jewerly, suited for my taste and made with attention to small details, using gorgeous precious stones.


And there are also some beautiful samples of pearl jewelry, at least some of them the perfect adornment for a special occasion or for Shabbat. 
Bijoux Bijoux! is a really must-see exhibition in Berlin this month, especially if you are into fashio and design and you are curious to understand current and past fashion trends.

Move More, Live Longer

An article published in the 10th of December edition of TIME magazine largely confirm my assumptions outlined in my article about How to have a homeworking healthy life experience. Based on various medical studies, it outlines that every single movement we do in our everyday life would significantly help to improve our health condition. 
However, it should not be anything big and impressive and overwhelmingly intensive. For instance, although you may not need to book a year-long - at least - gym membership, you can at least try to be as much as possible on the move. Like, parking your car a couple of steps away from your entrance will force you take a little bit of more steps. Refusing to take the elevator and walking on the stairs instead. Accepting the challenge of carrying on your groceries as a way to work your arms. Spend your weekends going dancing, which can help you burn up to 300 calories every half hour. Explore the outdoors through gardening, nature walks and bird-watching.
The studies are mostly aimed at the American public, in order to encourage them to move as 'every movement count'. Even things like standing on the subway or walking while you talk on the phone - been there, done that - rather than sitting down, can have an impact, according to Jacque Crockford, a certified personal trainer with the American Council on Exercise, quoted in the TIME article (p.22, section WELLNESS). Such activities, known as 'non-exercise activity thermogenesis' - are associated with lower body weight, better over-all health and increased life span. In fact, the sum of every movement you are doing over the day will help you improve your overall health condition and open up new possibilities of improving both your health and increase your life-span. 
Personally, I am following accordingly such advices, with moving as much as I can either indoors or outdoors. From walking my son to the Kindergarten to taking a movement break from my office chair every half an hour when I am doing home office, carrying my grocery bags and walking at least for one full hour every day, I am trying to take every single opportunity to offer myself a better and healthier life. I am glad I am on the right path and my aim this year is to follow as much as possible such advices for a healthy life. Small steps also count when it comes to feeling and doing better.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Testing a New Fruit: Cherimoya

It's official: with the Jewish holiday of Tu B'Shevat (or the New Year of the Trees) - when it is customary to try a new, eventually exotic fruit - in less than a month, I am looking for interesting fruits to add to an amazing fruit salad I can't wait to share on the blog. Actually, I am open for even two salads, if my testing is going well. 
For a long time, I wanted to test and taste cherimoya, which is the star of this blog post, one from a longer series dedicated to exotic - at least for the Europeans - fruits.


Heart-shaped and as big as a middle-sized grapefruit, cherimoya is originally from Southern Ecuador and Northern Peru. Mark Twain, both a gourmet and a traveller around the world, called it 'deliciousness itself'. The skin and the seeds are not edible. Cutting it is not that easy, as the sking is pretty hard and may present resistance to a less sharper knife. Rich in Vitamin C and B, it has a lemon smell and a milky white pulp.  


My personal experience with this fruit was not outstanding. All the reviews and food stories I've read kept telling that it tastes as a combination between pineapple, raspberries and strawberries. No trace of it in my fruit. It tasted rather as a (very) green apple. For me, it looks like a great fit in a fruit salad with many very sweet fruits - such as bananas or mangoes, but individually, it did not present for me a special flavour that I would rather leave as the main element in a salad or cocktail in order to build around it with complimentary flavors. It might be that I've been unlucky and found a bad fruit and I would love to keep trying different fruits - eventually, from another country of origin - but until now, I may not consider cherimoya for any further involvement in my foodie plans. 

Sunday, January 6, 2019

A Foodie Movie Recommendation: Chef's Table

Regardless if you are a foodie or not, Chef's Table that can be watched on Netflix in many installments, interviews famous chefs from around the world telling their stories of resilience, love for authenticity and often the struggle to maintain a cultural identity through preserving old recipes and techniques.
Famous food creators and chefs from restaurants all over the world that won not only more than once a Michelin star but also offered a completely different view on food are sharing their stories often in a very relaxed casual environment. But in most cases, their stories are nothing but casual.
The reports are made from restaurants from all over the world, the main feature followed being represented by the originality of the chef's story and his or her vision on food, very often based on the personal and family culinary experiences and traditions. Besides interesting life stories and inspiring business ideas, there are a lot of outstanding things to learn about restaurant management, new food techniques and the latest trends in terms of food preparation. The return to natural, organic ingredients is part of many of the chefs featured as well.
This comprehensive documentary is also a proof of a different mark of times: food and its preparation is becoming more and more part of the mainstream and featuring things happening behind the closed doors of the kitchen is part of the everyday media agenda. Also, featuring chefs - many of them women too - is also a relatively new trend. What I really appreciated and made me follow the stories with the highest interest was the human aspect of the stories, from the personal family struggles to the efforts of getting acknowledgement and spending nights and days passionately looking the right composition.
Chef's Table offers very inspiring and tasty visual experiences and would definitely make you consider seeing at least one of those restaurants during the travels around the world. It's make it a good start into the foodie year.    

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Why I Did NOT Set Goals for 2019

With all its many ups and downs, 2018 finally ended last night. In many respects, it brought me a lot of fascinating encounters and new good friends, a lot of knowledge about myself and my inner powers but also way too much stress, misunderstanding and worries-driven mind. 
Professionally, it was a very good year, with a lot of collaborations unfolding and many successful projects achieved. I was able to achieve a healthy financial stability, while expanding my contacts and working hard to achieve my goals. My debts diminished and I can finally look more optimistically into the future, thinking about new investments with a more relaxed outlook.
An important step forward towards achieving mental stability, was a lot of time spent thinking and discussing about what my real needs are, learning to be more proud about my own successes, about what I am and I become, but also taking it lightly on failures. Taking more care about my health was also important, with 3 full weeks spent in a relaxing resort, where I was able to practice a lot of sport, discuss with specialists about how to better balance life and work while coping with the challenges of single parenting. The most important part was to recognize the friends where they were and nurture the relationship with people that really matter.
However, things were not always as smoothly as I made them look like. It was a lot of stress and insecurities, way too many worries and false expectations and way too many disappointments. This heavy load leaded to a lot of sleepless nights or bad sleep nights, a lot of stress that leaded to allergies and weakened the immunity system therefore in the last weeks of the year I had to cope with a pretty bad flu that seems to be there to stay, as my end of the year counting of blessings were really not going too good.
Obviously, discovering yourself hurts sometimes and the path towards peace cannot happen without stumbling upon some hard rocks and this cannot be without results, some of them pretty hurtful. How else can you grow up otherwise?
Although I am a pretty careful planner and I love to set clear goals both personally and professionally, for this year I am more relaxed and less strict towards myself. Because my most important aim is to learn how to relax and enjoy life, how to be happy and at ease with myself, nurturing relationships and simply being myself. I don't want anything big or too high or amazing or outstanding. I want to be alive, and healthy, and fully enjoy every single moment of my short life. I want to be happy and content that my child is happy and content and strong enough to deal with everyday's life struggles. 
I want to dedicate a lot of time to people that really matter in my life and find a balance between my priorities, both in life and professional. I want to be surrounded by people that enjoy their life and see the best in people and their personal stories. I want to search for happiness, wherever it happens to be. 
Cheers to a new beginning and hopefully, in 12 months from now I will be able to share more positive interesting stories about my experience. 

Saturday, December 29, 2018

My Skincare Routine for December

With a bit of more creative time on my sleeves and motivation, I was finally able this December to get back into my skincare routine, not only by using at least every week a new mask, but also with a regular, disciplined program that helped my skin to get back its natural glow and healthy aspect.
My investment was not significant - not for now, at least - and included skincare products available in the usual Rossmann and DM drugstore (less than 50 euro for all the products). They last more than a months therefore it is more than a great deal and you did it for your own beauty and health.

Twice the day, I am using the Garnier SkinActive: It has basically the same concentration of the face mask that I've used and reviewed a couple of years ago, but has a different consistency and the effects are instant. With a high concentration of the precious pomegranate, the antioxidant water-cream moisturizer offers within minutes the necessary hydration of the skin. I use it a couple of minutes after waking up and shortly after removing my make-up. After one day during which often my skin is exposed to various pollution factor and stress, this cream gives a healthy shining and makes me feel perfectly in my skin.
Another cream of the three that I am using three times the day is L'Oréal Anti-Wrinkles Expert. Recommended to be used in the morning and in the evening, it is suited for the 35+ women. The 50 ml. bottle is heavy, with a discrete smell and has a high concentration of collagen which brings back the dynamism and the skin elasticity. To be applied in the morning and in the evening, with circular moves helping to put into motion the blood circulation. 
Last but not least, my latest discovery is Nivea Hyaluron Cellular Filler. Used once the day, usually after the second cream is applied on the skin - with a break of around 10 minutes, to leave it work properly on the skin. Odorless and oily, it makes it also as a good makeup basis, but I would rather recommend to wait at least 30 minutes after applying. It helps to regenerate the cells and conferes to the skin not only shining, but also volume, as it efficiently counters the dead cells and the wrinkles. I am using it only once the day and it is enough. 
Overall, a very good daily experience, and only after 10 days, the concentrated effects of all those creams are pleasantly visible on my skin. 
As for the products I am using during the week, stay tunned for another post, hopefully soon!

My Asian Noodles Bowl

I wish I can call this bowl of noodles more specifically - like Japanese, or Chinese, or Singapore or Korean...- but unfortunatelly, I've built up everything with my European mind, by using a variety of ingredients that probably covers the entire Asian continent - while adding some flavors suited for the Western Europe palate as well.
As a big lover of Asian food, I always dreamed to build up my own bowl of noodles, using a variety of ingredients and creating that umami effect that calls you back over and over again. 
In setting up this bowl, I've used for the first time in my life lotus roots. I bought mine as frozen and sliced and therefore, boiled it before serving. Rich in nutrients and assigned health benefits such as reducing stress and improving blood circulation, it can be consumed either boiled - although a bit tasteless - deep or stir fried. Right now, I am trying it in various variants thus wait for a coming post fully dedicated to this versatile Asian food that can be so smoothly integrated into local recipes.

Ingredients
2 big slices of lotus roots halved
1 small egg boiled at 5 minutes
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon black sesame
3 shiitake mushrooms
1 portion of dried potato noodles
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon black sesame
1 tablespoon soy sauce

Directions
Boil the egg for 5 minutes and halve it. 
In a pan warmed at 250C, add the sesame oil, 1 tablespoon black sesame and the shiitake mushrooms. Fry them on all sides for around 10 minutes.
Add around 250 ml. hot water on the noodles and, if the case, add the seasoning.
Add to the bowl the lotus roots, the egg, the sesame seeds, the soy sauce and the shiitake. Mix it a couple of times.
Serve it warm.

Serves: 1

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Bon Appétit!