Friday 18 December 2009


I grew up in the south of Greece... hot summers, mild winters, not a lot of rain (when I was at Uni, I would not bother to go to classes when it was raining... still managed to pass the exams as my absences were not that many... go figure how often did it rain!) and snow would come once in ever 5 years perhaps... And even then, it would only be for a few hours in the morning usually and then it would just melt leaving me an my brother so sad... We just loved it and still do! For me it also has a more special meaning as I remember the day my brother was born as the first time I saw snow! Tiny flakes falling by my feet! No, wasn't  much, but still it was one of those rare times and the first for the 3 (and a half) year-old me!

Sometimes, when we were children, our parents would even take us to short day trips only to be up on the mountains and enjoy a snow fight or two! And we still smile when we see the pictures of us in the early 80's  when lots of snow came down from the sky for the first time in our little town and we, small and colourful in our jackets and boots and cloves, had made a snowman in my grand mother's back yard! Ah, that feeling! And the stories to share with our friends for whom, them living in the same area,  snow was also a rare and beloved  treat!

I still feel this way about snow! And two days ago, I pulled the curtains in my bedroom and I saw the neighborhood all white! The view from the 12th floor was spectacular! The small park next to my building was all covered by a white sheet and the kids crossing it to go to the nearby school would leave their tiny marks on the whiteness... so pretty! So calm! Surely I had to drive to work and run errands afterwards but that did not spoil my mood... ok, I was a bit frightened about driving but it proved to be easier than I thought :)

So, yes, there's no doubt that a white snow-y scenery gives me a feeling better than shoes! And it is true that snow combines very well with shoes too as it is the best reason to go and get provided with a pair of stylish moon boots (Mark Jacobs perhaps?...) but even without them... it still feels grrrrreat!!

PS. Happy Holidays to everyone, I will be resting and (hopefully) enjoying "better than shoes" experiences for the coming two weeks so, see you all back here in the New Year!

Tuesday 15 December 2009


...No, I'm not talking about great achievements! Obviously discovering the cure for cancer would be better than shoes in anyone's book and it would be pretty predictable (borderline boring even...) for me to write about... So, no, I'm not referring to achievements of this caliber... I'm talking about smaller, much smaller things, that one sees through successfully and make one (the same one usually...) feel a sense of accomplishment and joy for having done things properly!  And it is that feeling of success that I had recently and, in comparison, felt better than a new pair of gray Miu Miu pumps (that I also got recently ;)

I was entrusted with the task to organize, together with a colleague of mine, the most important social event of my directorate (and, no, I will not waste your precious time explaining the organizational details of the organization where I'm employed, you would really be bored to oblivion... just keep in mind that I am part of a directorate of about 25 people and these are my immediate work colleagues). It was the third time that we were, the two of us, responsible for the event and I would not be far off if I were to say that it was the best one we organized! (some people also said it was the best ever but, hey, don't need to brag... ). And yes, the preparations were a big part of the fun! We got to try different restaurants, along with a small but international group of colleagues, try and chose the wine, set the menu, prepare greeting cards and little presents and see that everything was done as best as possible! And on the day, last Friday, it was a success!

To me, the best thing of all was not to receive all the compliments and "thank you's" that I did receive (and that does not mean that I did not appreciate them, not at all) and not even the flowers that they were so kind to offer me but the smiles on everyone's faces! Smiles that appeared around noon, when everybody entered the restaurant, and lasted at least until 8 in the evening when I left leaving still a big group of people in the restaurant! And, from what I hear, long after! Everyone was having a good time and though I do believe that the consumption of the marvelous champagne we started with and the wines that followed did have a lot to do with the mood of the people, I also believe that it was the fact that the lunch (if one can call an 8-hours feast "lunch"...) was really a pleasant and successful one! And that was partly because of me!

Small achievement... yes, indeed. But and achievement nonetheless! And it gave me great pleasure to know that I had done my part well! Certainly not a one-man-show, a team work that went really well! Us, the organizers, the chef, the service, everything so much more than just ok! And at the end of the day everybody had had a good time and they will remember it dearly! And this is better than shoes! For me at least...

Saturday 5 December 2009

a girl's day out :)

I had the best day!! Woke up early but rested and had a cappuccino and a chocolate muffin for breakfast... so indeed, the day started on the right foot!  Then, took my shower and got out of the house heading for Amsterdam... knowing that today's holiday would make the shops packed with people buying last minute's presents (today's holiday: Sinterklaas... a strange dutch holiday where a white rich grandpa who brings presents to kids -and  is therefore hugely loved- is followed by a black servant/beggar/slave/devil who most kids are afraid of like the boogie man... have to love this so not racist society... but, ok, don't get me started with social matters or I won't be writing about anything better than shoes...) Anyway, got there early, before the masses,  and enjoyed a great day of shopping!!

Great shopping means for me two things: Getting what you want (and in your size and everything...) and getting it in a good price! Now, as for service, it is essential too, no doubt about it, however living here all these years has lowered my standards... but today was a lovely exception in this domain too! I did get great service! Is it the crisis? I wonder... No matter the reason, I was pleasantly surprised! And the sales were fantastic! Got everything I needed with 30-50% off! I know, I know, you all share my excitement!

And on top of it, I got to escape the rain! Let me explain something for those reading this from afar (oh, lucky ones!)... In The Netherlands, it rains... a lot... sometimes it forgets to stop... for days... and because of that we have all become weather experts! Applications for the mobile phones and web sites showing the rain showers come and go with remarkable accuracy have become our best friends... needless to say, my best friends too as I, coming from the south, have a certain intolerance to water falling down to my head unless it is in the shower... and not even there every time!! So today, I consulted every bit of online information I could get my hands on and made it to Amsterdam and back dry! Though it has been raining before I got out of the house and right after I got back in! Now, isn't this wonderful??

And to complete this perfect day, I had a very late lunch with a glass of champagne (so many reasons to celebrate :) and a nap on the sofa while watching a film... Bliss!! So, after all this I believe that I'm entitled to say that days like today, days that we girls enjoy our discounted shopping sprees, remain dry and have some home-y relaxation afterward ARE better than shoes!!! Especially because they combine so well with a new pair of Zanotti light glitter ballerinas I got ;)

Friday 4 December 2009

as promised...

... a photo of my Christmas tree :) Now, a photo, they say, is like a thousand words so this should cover this post and surely this time it is up to you to judge if it is better than shoes... but remember, it is the feeling of the holidays that matters ;)


I came to The Netherlands 9 years and 6 days ago... I was carrying two bags that managed to contain my whole previous life (and veeeeeery few pairs of shoes...) and that was everything I needed for my new start here... I had decided that this would be indeed a new start and I wanted to be free from the past, free from previously acquired burdens... There was one more thing I brought, one thing that could not fit in those two bags because it was enormous: My desire to try new things and to gather as many experiences I could!!

I still remember the first time I tried raw fish... I was in Paris, of all places and about 9 years back... I also remember (as I'm not thaaaaaat old yet...) my preconceptions on the matter: "you know, in Japan, they eat raw fish!!!! yuk!!!" So that night that I was taken, as part of a big group of people, to a Japanese restaurant somewhere in the French capital (for the life of me I have no idea where it was... only that there was a spectacular view of the Eiffel Tower sparkling in the night!!) it was only my timidity that made me try the food as I was too embarrassed to say "sorry, I'm too disgusted to put it in my mouth!!"... so, I did try it... It was a revelation! Ever so fresh salmon sashimi, melting in my mouth, delicate sushi rolls of rice filled with tuna and crispy seaweed (took me quite a while to know it's called "nori" but, hey, now I know :) and all that accompanied by warm sake that put a smile, a big smile, on my face! So, that was it! I was hooked!

The other night I went out to a Japanese restaurant with a dear friend and neighbor who also likes the raw delicacy as much as I do! And in between our lovely conversation, we were both exclaiming "mmmmmmm, delicious" as we were savoring the food! I have to say that I have the same feeling of delight whenever I eat sushi or sashimi as that first time in Paris! And, needless to say, when I was in Japan a couple of years ago, I was one of the happiest people on the earth for eating it every day!

Now, can I prove to you that sushi is better than shoes? Better than that pair of round-tow Prada pumps with the embroidery on the leather that I spotted the other day? Hmmmm... Perhaps not... And perhaps one does not have to choose...The fact of the matter is that I did not bring any shoes back from Japan (and neither from Paris on that visit...) and that to me, a mouth full of fresh, raw salmon is one of the pleasures in life I could not live without!

PS. What?! Don't like it?! Pleeeeease, try it once more and let your tongue do the tasting not your preconceptions ;)