Saturday, 31 December 2011

starting fresh...

... is better than shoes!! And what better time than the beginning of a New Year to put that in practice!

I had wonderful Christmas, I hope you all did too :) Though the thought of putting on my bikini in less than 3 days had an effect on my diet, and yes, I did refuse that divine apple-pie (for those who know ;) my holidays so far have been great! And as the second part approaches, the bikini and sunshine and cocktails on the beach part that is, and there is not much more to do about those 3 extra kilos (which will be traveling along to the Caribbean)  I finally relax!

And, relaxed and content, I start thinking... New Year... well, ultimately there was nothing really wrong with the Old one... I mean, it sure was a difficult one but hey, we wouldn't want it other way, right? Easy is boring! A lot has happened, a lot has been said, a lot has been felt... But now, right now, we all have the golden opportunity to chose what we keep, throw the rest into our mental garbage bin and start anew!

Sure change can happen at any moment but perhaps you will agree with me that at the beginning of a new year it kinda fits better. Now, you may or may not like New Year's Resolutions (I know I don't...) but it is not the declaration of our intentions that counts, it is the intentions being put to practice! So, my theory is, don't declare, do! Be the person you want to be, be with the person you want to be with, say what you mean, mean what you say, love without limits and be independent... ah, and exercise your body, it will be carrying you for a looooong time ;)

Happy New Year to everyone and your loved ones!


Wednesday, 7 December 2011

traditions...

And... it is Christmas again!!

Those who have been reading my thoughts in this blog for some time, know already that this is "my" time of the year! For reasons that are unknown even to me, I love this time of the year... it could be because it is the only time I believe some bling-bling is acceptable, even for boring little me with the somber taste and the simple life... but in December, sparkle and shine and glitter and glow are allowed... more than allowed, they are essential!

So last Saturday, again, for the n-th time (man, I'm such a geek...) I had my "time to decorate the house" day! I took the tree out of the storage, hurt my finger setting it up (like, oh well, always...), put the new ornaments in the best places (you know, the front of the tree where they can be well seen) as it is their year this year and even hung up a big stocking on the window for Santa to leave my presents ;) The rest of the gifts, for everyone else, found their place neatly underneath the Christmas tree...

And then, I watched "The Holiday"... The amazing Kate Winslet, the coveted Jude Law, a couple of nice pairs of shoes, a Mini Cooper just to make me smile and really nice music! Add to that the Christmas spirit of the film and a hot cocoa and you have an unbeatable combination!

No, I don't know why I like this tradition... who knows why we like any tradition anyway... some are really silly... But, this one is only mine! It warms my heart and every year I look forward to it... it's comforting... like a pair of Prada Sport boots... like a good friend... like a Dire Straits song... like love... and, no, the order may be which ever you want and the list is not exhaustive... No matter what the reason, tradition it is. And most likely next year, right about this time, I will be writing again about it! Keep reading and you will find out ;)

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

my little moments...

I am a woman of routines... I suppose it is the child in me that needs the security of repetition, of standards, of schedule, of as many comfort zones and as far as I can extend them... ok, boooooring, you will say... I will not argue against it... I also feel sometimes that my life, my ways, are indeed boring... and then I dye my fingernails black, or I buy a third lamp to put on the dresser to break the symmetry and a pair of shoes I know I will not be wearing anytime soon in this lifetime... I cook Thai food, I have a drink at home alone on a Wednesday night and I pick a new hobby (like knitting for example...), trying to break this exact routine I crave...

But, boring or not, I do love my little routines... My waking up and having a coffee and two cookies for breakfast while smoking my ciggy and checking facebook and the news, my 11:30 break (I have another ciggy then...), my lunch with my best friends gossiping and nagging and laughing and comforting each other, my late evening beauty drill (yep, always remove makeup and clean face before going to bed, also take shower to relax and apply magic potions... how else do you think I keep young and beautiful??!! ;)
My Saturday morning or running errands, my Sunday morning walk followed by cuddling on the sofa with a good film (or two or three...), my Thursday pilates session after work, my taking the shoes off and changing clothes the moment I enter my home...

These are my little moments.... precious and comforting as times pass... And they are better than shoes! Not only for the security that they provide me in a world uncertain as can be where nothing is guaranteed and everything can be upsides down from one moment to the next... not only because they keep me balanced and calm, kinda like Xanax but without side effects... but also, mainly, because they are mine! The little things make us who we are and these little things make me who I am. Orderly, neat, with my small (or big...) bad habits, devoted, and yes, boring even... Would I be me otherwise? The question doesn't even make sense...

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

in Florence...

Have you ever been in a place so, so beautiful, so breathtakingly beautiful that you just gave up taking pictures because you simply realized there is no way on Earth you can ever capture its beauty... and so you just looked and looked and looked around and you hoped your memory will not fail you for the years to come and you will remain with the images in your mind?...

Well, for me, this place was Florence! I found myself there last week for work and after having spent 3 days stuck inside a hotel in the middle of nowhere attending a conference (for which I am not even going to comment as there was nothing, absolutely nothing better than shoes about it...) I finally escaped, moved to the centre of the city and for the next 51 hours (yes, that short I'm afraid...) I immersed into the Florentine atmosphere! And what an atmosphere that is!!! And under a warm sun on top of it, at the end of October no less!!

Where does one start to describe it... the city is a museum, everywhere, every building, every bridge, every church, every street, everything screams of art! Even if Renaissance is not your cup of tea, you cannot but admire it! Then, there is fashion! Florence is a fashionista's heaven! From the great Italian designers (Gucci and Ferragamo were both Florentines and with their own museums there nowadays...) to the little shops and the open markets and certainly the way locals dress (men and women), all is full of style! Yep, do no go there in your fleece and trekking shoes... hmmmm, do not go anywhere in those, come to think of it...

And then there is the food... I will never forget the chicken cooked in butter nor the juicy "bistecca alla Fiorentina" (T-bone steak Florentine style) or the pastas or the "gelato" (ice cream) or even the local cocktail, negroni, which is indeed a bit weird in the first sip but it is an acquired taste for sure... mmm, I already miss all that!!

Ah, no doubt, Florence is definitely better than shoes... better than Louboutin's "Sixtizette", my latest favourite... just make sure you take a good pair of walking ones (shoes that is...) with you when you get to visit, my feet are still killing me from all the walking there last weekend ;)


Friday, 21 October 2011

the tree and the woods...

I have avoided all this time, for about two years, to comment on what is happening in my country... Greece's economic nightmare has reached all over the world and though there is a lot to be said about its causes, the accuracy of the information distributed as well as its completeness and the interests it serves, the fact remains than the world knows we are actually living in a Greek tragedy, straggling to maintain the last shreds of dignity we are left with... Tragedy... nothing "better than shoes" there... hence my silence about it...

But today I decided to break the silence and write about something that is, in my opinion, fundamental in this crisis Greece is experiencing and does fit in the concept of this blog: A tree is better off in the woods I think. If the woods are burnt, one tree alone will not survive... Same, a person is better off in a society... that's why we actually started forming those... societies that is... our ancestors were not forced to start living in groups, they merely realised it had advantages!

But, regardless of its advantages, a society cannot go on functioning for a long time if its people only think of themselves... society is a plant we all have to water! The good news is that, aiming for the common good IS better than just taking care of ourselves for the simple reason that when the society prospers, the people prosper, every one prospers. When individuals prosper individually, eventually societies fall...  and people follow... And surely I am not a sociologist but I bet you many of them would just agree with me...

What we are experiencing in my country, and in the western world generally at the moment, is not only an economic crisis, it is a crisis of values. And that is the reason why it is so deep, so serious... We have gone too far, in my humble opinion, thinking of ways of making only our little lives better and ignoring our societies, is some cases not only ignoring but intentionally harming them for our own selfish gain... for the hefty Xmas bonus, for our next luxurious holidays, for the big house, the fast car... and now we are just reaping what we sowed... And the only thing that can take us out of the s**t we are in, is solidarity, is to start thinking as a group again, start aiming for the common good, stop thinking as individuals... needles to say that I think this is "better than shoes"... needles to say it is difficult... but then again, the "good" is always difficult, it is the "bad" that is easy... time to finally choose wisely!


Wednesday, 19 October 2011

one Sunday morning...

9:32pm on a Sunday morning... the sun has started to shyly shine making his appearance through the morning mist and guaranteeing a beautiful day that's starting. I am standing in front of my building, dressed up in my leggings, fleece (with a jacket on top) and Nike's trainers, all ready to start my walk. I set up the Nike+iPod with my favourite genius list starting with "Are you gonna go my way" which gives me the best tempo for my workout and, city, here I come :)

I promised myself that this year I will not stop walking outside during the winter. Though I am not brave enough to go out in the pouring rain, I made a deal with me that in the weekends, when it is not raining, I will go for my usual route of 8Km to burn calories and give my heart the health boost it needs. And so far so good. Admittedly, the winter is not here yet, but I guess what is important is not to stop the habit, right? So last Sunday, though rather chilly I was there, me and the road, no worries, no stress, just pure fun, meeting the Sunday morning people (church goers and runners usually), savouring the morning smells of the trees, feeling the sun on my face... Ah, bliss!!

I have written before how much I like walking, how much "better than shoes" it is for me... On a Sunday morning, with the promise of a big brunch to follow (and without a lot of guilt for the waffles I might be consuming...), knowing that I can spend the rest of the day resting with a good film (or two or three...) and hopefully good company on the sofa, taking a nap in between, on those days my walking is a pleasure I cannot match with many other pleasures in life! Needless to say I highly recommend it! ...and who knows, we might meet each other if you happen to be walking around The Hague :)

Monday, 10 October 2011

virtual insanity!

I am a nerd... I believe I have written it before... I was the type of student who would get the top grades in high school (though I had to take the exams for the uni twice before I managed to get in... hmmm...) and have been called a nerd many a time in my life. Moreover, I do like high tech stuff and gadgets, even if I do not quite understand them, I do love sci fi movies and though I cannot speak Klingon, I do know how to greet you like Dr Spock... ah, and recently I put on spectacles...

So, with all my fixation with Louboutin shoes and Balenciaga bags, I still consider myself more of geek than a fashionista... but though I do get excited waiting for the new iPhone (yes, I know, a bit of a disappointment, not quite what we expected was introduced last week...) and I did even try google circles (I wonder who else did??)  there are many aspects of my fellow human beings' cybertality (cyber+mentality... I just made the word up... feel free to use it...) that I do not comprehend...

Like for example, this mania for having as many friends in facebook as possible.... nope, I do not get it... for starters, I am not in the least interested in calling "friends" people I haven't spoken to since more than 20 years just to have them added up to my -ever longer- fb "friends" list... I understand that for some people fb is their means of PR, like artists for example... fine. Numbers do have a different importance for them. But, as a very regular human being,  I really don't get the attitude of competing with one's real friends (the ones in the flesh...) about who has the most virtual friends in fb!

Another thing I don't get, and as always am open to suggestions, is why people feel the need to publish the most intimated details of their personal life in there (yep, fb I mean...) such as sexual relationships, for the whole world to know! WTF?? Yeah, really show that bitch who rejected you in the third grade that now you have lost all the extra weight and scored a hot girlfriend, hum??!! Get over it, people! And keep something to yourselves... Private life should be exactly that: private! And shared with only a few close friends, the type you actually meet in person and have coffee with, not virtual ones... if you actually find that you have more of the latter, the two-dimensional computer screen type,  re-examine your life, please! Avoid the virtual insanity... go out for a drink with just one friend instead of staying home to fb with 344 of them... it will do you good... "better than shoes" good ;)







Friday, 7 October 2011

a few words of sorrow...

I didn't think that Steve Jobs' passing would affect me this way... I mean, I never knew the guy personally and I only got to buy a Mac when I moved here,  as my finances before I got my current job would not allow me to even buy a magazine where I could read about Macs... But, it only takes to get your hands on one "apple" to want more ;) For 8 years now I'm hooked, a genuine fan! And though I cannot tell for sure whether it is for their being so easy and reliable to use even when you do not know the last thing about computers and electronics in general or because they look so damn good, the fact remains: I love them!

So, when the news of his death hit me yesterday morning, at first I thought "that's really sad" and then I kinda moved on... but a few hours later, as the day progressed and I was reading more and more peoples' messages over his death and articles about him I got far more sad... it is sad for a great visionary to pass so early and though he has said that "death is the destination we all share" I just think that it 'd been great if he have reached the destination many years later... it is sad for a man who has been following his dreams for all his life to be stopped from this pursuit only at the age of 56... it is sad to lose a man who has inspired with his achievements so many people, knowing that most probably he had so much more to give...

Why am I writing this here? What's "better than shoes" in all this? You could say that leaving a life of pursuing our dreams, the way he did,  is better than shoes... mmm... no objection, in fact go browse my older posts and you will find my thoughts on the matter there... But the moral of today's story for me is a bit different... It's accepting the sadness, that's what's better than shoes... there come days when the only thing we feel is sorrow, when life hits us with bad news, with loss and death... we need to learn to accept the bad feelings too, don't discriminate against them, don't hide them under the rag and just wait to show only the good ones... do not feel embarrassed to just express those feelings... yes, I got sad the man died, didn't know him, was no friend of mine but I think his life had touched my life in a way and for this reason I felt the need to put in my fb status "RIP Steve Jobs..."

Friday, 30 September 2011

it's Friday...

... I'm in love, in the words of the great "Cure"... and also relieved!!!!

...what a hellish week!! 4 days of running like crazy, two of those with a migraine and no sleep in between (because of more migraine... "*ç%&/??=&) terribly busy with working, teaching, socialising (ok just a bit, in the context of a football game... btw we won, he he he :) cooking, shopping, exercising... phew... man, I run out of energy completely! I didn't even have time so far to enjoy the brilliant Indian summer we are in, with temperatures up high and a sun so bright like it hasn't been all summer!

But, hey, it's Friday!! Finally!! Not only it's the end of the week and two full days of fun (and great weather, who would believe!!) are ahead of us, not only the sun shines and I am wearing a t-shirt (yes, it is the end of September, I am aware of that ;), not only I have absolutely no plans for this weekend and am open to go to wherever the mood takes me, not only finally I had a nice breakfast at work with my usual group but also, to provide the perfect icing on my cake, a dear friend of mine is visiting The Hague and we are having dinner at one of my favourite restaurants tonight!!

Who could ask for more, really? My head does not ache any more, I had a great night of 9 hours of sleep, I suspect I will have lunch with my best friends here at work and afterwards there will only be a few hours of work before the fun starts!! No, I have no reason to complain nor will I be looking for one! Fridays are great, some of them are better than shoes and this definitely looks like it's gonna be one of them!! I wish you all have a good one too :) and, if you are in the NL, enjoy the sun, it looks like it is the last we get to see it before winter arrives ;)

Friday, 16 September 2011

ambrosia...

... according to the Greek mythology, is what the Gods were savouring up on mount Olympus. So, it could not be something bad, right?! I mean, imagine you are a God, what would you eat?!! No, it was apparently excellent, there are documents (kinda...) on that. Obviously, I have never tasted it... though sometimes during moments of high passion I have been referred to as a Goddess (... huge quantities of alcohol were also involve so do take this with a pinch of salt) until very recently I had no idea what ambrosia could taste like... Until... I went to Crete for my holidays ;)

There are many things I could write about Crete in this blog, given that all of my experiences were positive, not only this last time but all the previous times I visited this gorgeous island of my homeland. But, I choose to focus on the food this time... the best food I have ever tasted! I have travelled in many places around the world, lucky me, and I have tasted great, amazing food. But, nothing like the flavours of Crete.

The magic is in the ingredients, the meat, the milk, the greens, the golden olive oil... take this fine produce, local always, prepare it in the simplest and most traditional manner and you are in for a feast! Take the bread, grilled on the charcoal and sprinkled with olive oil, combine it with the soft cheese made from goat's milk and the red, delicious tomatoes and delve into the pleasure! And if that's not enough, have some grilled meat, some stewed chicken cooked with locally produced pasta, some herbs boiled and served with lemon and olive oil and some freshly fried real potatoes. And if you still crave for more, have freshly fried balls of dough served with honey and vanilla ice cream!

No, I will not be saying anything more, I am already hungry... what I will do is urge you to visit Crete, explore the cuisine and make up your own mind as to how close their food is to what the Gods were enjoying ;) For me it was totally better than shoes! And I have my scales to prove it...

Thursday, 15 September 2011

teaching...

... can be better than shoes!!!

They say that "those who cannot do, teach..." but I do not agree entirely. I was selected to teach our job to the new colleagues because apparently I know what I have been doing for more that 10 years now. And no, I do not want to stop "doing", but it is an amazing experience to take a break from the work routine in order to pass the knowledge and to get to see people who had no idea about the job before being transformed to competent professionals in our line of business.  

Yep, no doubt, I love it! It has been very difficult, not at all because of the young colleagues or the subject but because.. well... forget it... let's just say for other reasons... but that is insignificant compared to the pleasure of teaching! Never thought I would like it so much, my mother always told me I would be horrible in it but she was (again...) wrong! I think I am good at it, and I say this humbly and with full respect. I think I''m good because I like it so much! On top of it, the new colleagues are smart, kind, quick to get things and very nice! So, even though I have to wake up 1 1/2 hours earlier than my normal time to be there in the morning, I can't wait to be with them!!

Ok, I do need a break after 9 straight days and I'm lucky enough to get my break but, honestly, I look forward to returning in a few days :) Yes, is has given me many, many happy moments this experience and I would not change it for the world! And today, seeing the disappointment on the trainees' faces when they realized I would not be back with them for 10 days, that was a precious moment!!!

Better than shoes? Yes, by all means, without any shred of doubt, better than a classic pair of Zanotti's flat, rhinestone embellished sandals ;)

Sunday, 4 September 2011

brimful of asha (... on the 45 ;)

What??!! You don't know what I'm talking about??!! How old are you??!! LOL

Ok, ok, for those who have not heard this great piece of music were you are and here you are and here you are (remix) So, now that you know, and I'm sure love (if not loved already...) imagine the following:

Sea side city, part Venetian part Turkish in heritage, with elements of both cultures mixed in an incredible harmony and fused with the Greek character of the homeland, with a port as pretty as can be, full of people from all over the world, walking in its cobblestone streets under a starry sky in the warm night.

Imagine neoclassic buildings, painted in all the colours of the rainbow, imagine a mosque a stone's throw from a synagog and a handful of Greek-orthodox churches all living together in piece, imagine restaurants and bars and cafés buzzing at 2 o'clock in the morning, shops selling everything you can imagine from hand crafted knives to hats and jewelry and nuts and honey. Imagine smells of jasmine and grilled bread with olive oil and smoked pork fried with rosemary...

Now imagine the most pretty neoclassic building of them all, manor house turned bar, right next to the water in the port, its white walls and pale violet lights, its window open, its white tables outside, full of people talking, laughing, drinking, dancing, imagine a strawberry daquiry (and another one, and another one...) Imagine a dj with a "James" fetish and every other piece of music you've loved all your life... and imagine dancing to the "brimfull of asha" until the early morning hours intoxicated by the sheer beauty and the smells and the fun and the daquiries...

Now, isn't that better than shoes??!

Friday, 2 September 2011

the sound of the sea...

I have always associated summer holidays with the sound of the sea. I have never been on a mountain for my summer break, neither will I ever chose to be... brrr... unnatural... For me summer holidays means a balcony with view to the sea, swimming, walking on the beach, reading a book in the shade (a book which by the end of the reading will be all stained by the oily sunblock, all dog-eared and with a bit of sand between its pages... ), a bit of sunburn, watermelon in the afternoon and ice cream, mosquito repellent and, surely, listening to the waves breaking on the shore...

I remember as if it were yesterday, though more than 25 years have passed, this feeling of calmness when my parents would have me take a siesta, during those late afternoon hours when the sun was burning, and I would stay silent on my bed, listening to the sea and reading Mickey Mouse until I would fall asleep and the comic book would fall out of my hands! Or, late at night, again the music of the sea would sneak in the room in the tiny apartment  we would rent for the holidays from the open balcony doors and keep me company until I fell asleep... Yes, holidays have always been abut the sound of the sea...

Things have changed little since... apart from the wrinkles on my face, that is... I came back from my summer break today... a proper summer break by the sea in the homeland... and though tired and a bit melancholic, as it could not be otherwise, I still carry in my ears the sounds of the waves as they were singing their lullaby to me every night for the last week, bringing back those childhood memories, keeping me company, soothing me... and I know that THAT was better than shoes! Absolutely!

Monday, 15 August 2011

a bit of sun...

ok, not a bit... A lot of sun!!! And a lot of sea and a lot of sand and a cold coffee!! ...I am in desperate need for holidays! And no, that is not better than shoes... but wouldn't it indeed be if I actually were on holidays, hum, hum?!... with the warm sun and the golden sand and the blue sky and the crispy salad for lunch and the ice-cream and a nap after the beach and... oh, bliss!!!

I have made silly plans this summer... It happens and it did actually happen... and as a result of that  I have been patiently (ok... ok... I have no patience for anything and all those who know me can testify to that...) waiting all summer for a week by the sea in my homeland and the time just doesn't seem to get me there! It's like I'm stuck in the calendar, time moving a slowly as honey on a (non-tilted...) table and there is nothing I can do to shift the clock forward! I dream about it, I wish for it, I look at the pictures of the hotel over and over again but... still ten days to go!!

Goodness, this is torture... it's like discovering the perfect ankle boot, with the most perfect hidden platform which adds easily 5 more cm to your (average...) hight and not being able, the Internet world over, to find your size! My friends have all gone on holidays and gotten back, tanned and relaxed and with that glowing smile on their faces and I'm still here! In the rain! Complaining!!! Even in this blog were I have given my word of honour to only write positive stuff... oh, man, the lack of sea and sun and, well, summer to say the truth, has turned me into a monster!!

Anyone knows any tricks to turn time forward?? (Cher wished for the opposite but I guess that didn't work out either...)

Sunday, 7 August 2011

the pursuit of happiness...

I have believed for many years that happiness is not a "property", not a "long term state of being" like gender or profession... I never thought that anyone can be truly happy (or unhappy...) for a long time, for years, for a lifetime... nor that there are people, jobs, things that can transform our life to a happy one... My view, instead, has been that we all have happy moments! Sometimes more often, sometimes more rarely, sometimes we see them and we let ourselves enjoy and appreciate them, sometimes we don't even notice them, perhaps because we are expecting something else... perhaps because during those moments we are looking elsewhere, looking for "happiness"...

Like everyone, I have my ups and downs... some days the sun shines and some days the rain falls... But for as long as I can remember I have been making a conscious effort not to miss my happy moments (though, on the contrary, never complained for having missed a sad one!)... and, the funny thing is that the more I noticed the more they seamed to be! Whether it meant to give a smile and feel happy with a good film on TV, cooking  nice meal, being with friends, find a great bargain (surely one would feel happy with a 50% a classic pair of nude colour slingbacks, right ;) or just relaxing after a long walk on a Sunday afternoon, whether alone of with others, I have always tried to recognize and embrace my happy moments!

So here I am, watching "Annie" on TV (and, mind you, I don't even like musicals!!) with a glass of wine, still tired from the workout this morning, laundry all done, beautiful sunset outside my windows... all in all, a happy moment! Happy as can be! I choose not to think how I could be happier, it would be such a vain pursuit, but to realize how happy I feel right now! One does not need a lot to feel like this, it is a state of mind one can reach if only one wants... and it is better than shoes! I speak from experience ;)





Friday, 29 July 2011

some words...

...are better than shoes!!

I found myself thinking of words today... not so much in the sense of putting hem together to form a sentence and make a point, no... just words... how beautiful and powerful they can be, how much emotion can they carry, how much of our history lies within them... how marvellous to be able to express so much of one's self with only a handful of letters... I have my favourite words in all the languages that I manage to more or less speak... but I will not write about my personal favourites, I want to mention two words that I feel carry the essence of a whole nation, the nation which came up with them...

One is from my home... my mother tongue, my people... and it is, they say and... I tend to agree, the most untranslatable word ever... it is filotimo... and it does describe us in more ways than I can think of... it is "pride, dignity, courage, duty, sacrifice -even one's life- and above all demands respect and a deep personal freedom". With all our flaws, it is always part of us... hidden sometimes, asleep, covered under the vices, but the virtue is there... waiting for the right moment to shine... Greek? most definitely!

The other is from my second home... the land which took me in its arms and the people who showed me so much love they were destined to become my second family... and it is saudade... the longing, the yearning, the love and passion which run so deep it's almost impossible even to express... the unbreakable bond, the melancholic smile, the certainty of the feeling even when it's not spoken... does it describe the Portuguese? ohhh, it most certainly does!

Two words, two nations... my beloved ones... and those words, which say so much in so few letters, so strong, so pretty, like the people who speak them... better than shoes? Without any doubt!

 

Friday, 15 July 2011

thoughts after the rain...

... they say that there is always a rainbow. I do not agree because I don't see it, not always... and if I don't see it I don't believe it (with few exceptions). What I believe is that, after yesterdays unimaginable storm, today the sun shines. And it is comforting, though not so much warming. Surely, for the last three days, while the rain was pouring from the sky, as if we had all transported ourselves magically into a huge shower cabin, I was not thinking of the "after"... I was just miserable and angry. So, now, I'm thinking, what is this formula to make me think of the sun precisely while the rain is falling on my head? Precisely when I need this image the most? Because, that, would be better than shoes!

It is true that we should live in the "now", not the past and not the future, that we should enjoy the present moment. But what about when the moment is bad? What is this trick to help us overcome it? What is this way of managing to see that the glass will be eventually full when it is empty? What is this approach which carries us through the difficult times, the times of rain and grey, to the next ones, to the sunny and bright one? Optimism? Well, I always believed that I am an optimist but still sometimes I get lost in the bad, in the gloomy weathers, both literal and figurative, and I get despaired... Is there another way?

I suspect it's patience... hmmm... I don't do patience... I never did... I do appreciate it in other people but it is not one of my virtues. No, wait a second, correction: I do have patience for people, I can try to understand them, see their view point, explain to them, help them. But not situations. When I don't like something I want to change it and when I can't change it I suffer... like with the weather... hmmm could it be then that patience is better than shoes?! Anyone to help me out here?...

Monday, 11 July 2011

walkin'... by myself...

... Ah, the legendary Gary Moore!! The memories his songs bring back to me... student years, high school, he had something for my happy moments and he sure did have something for my blues... And every time I put on my walking shoes (yeah, yeah, I got a new, hi-tech pair, after having read dozens of reviews, did it the right way :) and go out in the sun to burn all those chocolate calories, I keep hearing him in my head... "walkin'... by myself..."

This summer I have no complaints from the dutch weather... true, there have been some slip-ups, stormy-dark-cold-wet days, but just a few really. And so far I have been enjoying the good weather by walking out a lot... and, yes, this does give me the illusion that I can go on eating that damn good "Ben&Jerry's" strawberry cheesecake ice cream without gaining weight... key word: illusion... But ok, bad it is by no means, walking for a couple of hours a couple of times a week, that is... But it's not all about burning the ice cream calories... it is mostly about clearing my head! After work, where I constantly fry my brain, I need those moments of solitude, on the road, music in my ears, sunshine on my face and nothing to think about...

Yes, it is a great pleasure! One better than shoes! Those of you who run or walk will know what I mean, the precious feeling of being alone with the road, the wonderful tiredness afterwards, sometimes even the pain (need I really talk about it again? :) Totally worth it! So, I should get going not to miss the sunshine! Perhaps I will be seeing you around...

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

the bright side!

Well, here I am, lying on the sofa with an ice pack on my right shin, foot high up on a couple of pillows, following the golden rule of r.i.c.e (rest, ice, compression, elevation.... ok, technically, I have not compressed it... but you get the point...) and watching "My best friend's wedding" on TV... kind of pathetic... I know... as I knew I walked a lot yesterday... I knew also for quite a while that I need to buy new sneakers, I mean, for someone who spends such a high percentage of my salary on shoes, I have no excuse walking around in my 8-year-old, worn out trainers which do not support my feet anymore...

But, in spite of all the knowledge, I did walk a lot, I did admittedly have immense fun doing so, I did it in my wrecked sneakers and I do now have what apparently is called "shin soreness"... And it is a challenge to actually locate the bright side of the situation and share it with you... arguing on top of it that looking at it is better than shoes...

Hmmm... let's see... well, I will have to go shoe-shopping... which is good... and I did manage not to give up and run all the errands after work  though my foot hurt as f*** and walking, and driving, was an ordeal... So, yeah, that's it! That's the bright side! Mind over matter, will over pain! Surely there is nothing seriously wrong with me, I only need to rest a bit and use all the ice I had in my freezer, but it does feel damn good to find out I am a strong, exercising woman, dealing with injuries in  mature way and not such a cry-baby after all! And that's better than shoes! Yeah! Go me! ...literally, got to go take of the ice pack now... ;)

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

maturity...

...is a weird thing! As such, hence, it is not better than shoes... being weird and all... but, there is thing that comes with maturity which I think is marvelous! And that is the knowledge of how little control we have over almost everything in life and the power to still survive knowing it! Like, learning to keep our balance over trouble water, if you like...

When I was younger, so much younger than today (in the words of the legendary Beatles) I had these big ideas about control... I used to think that if I told people how I wanted to be treated, as a reward to my honesty they would just do it! That I would make their life easier by explaining what I wanted... I thought that I could control my life, where the wind blows me, what I do in every situation... Ah, youth... I could not have been further from the truth... which came to me along with the wrinkles around my eyes and the effects of gravity in my body...

The truth, dear readers, is that we have minimum or not at all control over practically everything, limited to what we say or do only, and that other people will just do what they can, say what the want and, well, basically that's it! Plans are made to be cancelled, statements are made to be taken back, commitments are to be broken and even if we never do any of these hideous things, others will! Because that's the best they can do! There is no point in judgement, it's human nature! And the only thing that can prepare us for when things go belly up is to expect it! Accept the probability of being let down, realize the fact that we have to learn to cope with the change, with the unexpected, with the uncontrolled! Ask, yes, in order to receive but do not think there is a rule which says that if you ask you will receive!

The only rules we can (more or less...) assure to be kept are the ones we impose to ourselves, in my view these being the steps to our freedom, and as for the rest, well, whatever! Learn to cope with limited control, that's the secret :) be mature! now that is better than shoes...

Saturday, 25 June 2011

walking away...

It's raining... and I am at a point in my life where I find it very difficult to focus on positive things... I'm sure you all know the feeling, nobody can be a cheerleader all the time... But I figured this is the exact moment when I need to try even harder to remain optimistic... stupid? perhaps... but I will try anyway... and in today's post I will defend the view that knowing when to walk away is better than shoes... see if I manage to convince you...

We all have needs and it is our duty and responsibility to try and have them met... no, we should not settle for less, we should protect ourselves and make it clear when we want something, out of someone, a relationship, out of ourselves, out of a job, out of life... we should try and find out what it is and go after it even if we are afraid and insecure... we should ask because very often this is the only way to receive... we should be ready to fight for our right to happiness! But at the same time we should be able to see a hopeless situation, we should know how to pick our battles... no, not every one is winnable... and the casualties..., oh, the casualties are so very often pieces of our souls...

We should claim our space, we should open the cards on the table and let the people in our life know who we are, how we feel and what we want. They do have the right to know! But when that which we receive in return is not good enough,  then it is our task to walk away... other people will only give what they can, nothing more... no point in keep asking for more... if it's not what we want, we should seek it otherwise... don't lower the standard, just find a person who fits it! ... Chances are that there is at least one person out there willing, and happy, to give us what we need and more than happy to receive what we have to give to them! Isn't this a chance worth taking? ;)

Friday, 10 June 2011

about support...

No, though I would never doubt the importance of good support when it comes to shoes, essential when we are talking about high heels more than anything, I am not referring to those in this blog post... No, this time I want to talk about the importance of a circle of support amongst friends living abroad which is, surely, better than shoes!

Living in a foreign country is hard... purely and simply hard! No matter how much money you make, no matter how much comfort and security a good salary can give you, and, remember, not everyone grabs one of those anyway, the fact remains: when sick, when troubled, when lonely, the difficulty multiplies by at least one hundred when you find yourself in a foreign land! And those of you who are away from home know exactly what I mean! Moreover, those of you who live in this part of the world know that the NL presents you with an additional bonus of...well, how can I say it... a charming mentality of "I could not give a fuck if you are in need of anything because basically it is not my problem"! Yes, yes, you all can object to that but after almost 11 years here I have the right to my opinion (and many reasons to support it)!

So what we, the expats, are left with is the circle of support! Being there for each other, sharing the knowledge of a good doctor, a good shop to buy bread, sharing thoughts and fears and problems over a cup of coffee or a plate of home cooked pasta and a glass of wine, sharing insecurities, loneliness, homesickness, and very often as well happiness and good news! The point is that being alone in one's home country is nothing compared to being alone thousands of kilometres away from it! And the solution to that is the circle of support! The group of friends! Picking up the phone and asking for help! Offering it to the next person when they need it! That's what works :) and better than shoes!

PS. For V... remember, you are not alone ;)






Wednesday, 25 May 2011

day off...

I know, I know... pretty obvious that a day off is a good thing, right? OK, but don't dismiss its "betterthanshoes-ness" just yet as if exaggerated... No, let me explain and you'll see :)

I woke up this morning, before the alarm went off,  and the sun was shinning in the blue, clear sky, a sky without the slightest bit of clouds! Yes it is a Wednesday, yes I had to work (not to mention to get out of the house early as the nice lady who takes care of my apartment and me was coming) and yes I do have to be conscious with my holidays as they are not unlimited... but... the sun was shinning and the forecast for tomorrow is for rain! Surely work could wait for a day, right? ;)

So I sent an email to my boss informing I would be absent, took a quick shower and hit the road... or, more accurately, the rails! Took the train to Amsterdam and got there before the crowds (just on  time to snatch those fabulous Givenchy sandals with the most attractive 30%off... who did ever say that "better than shoes" things don't combine marvelously with shoes?? :), did my shopping and lots more browsing and then had a relaxed lunch reading a magazine!

Simple pleasures? Absolutely!! But pleasures nonetheless! I did enjoy every minute of my "personal day" and remembered how good a time I have just by myself! Merely the feeling of playing hookie was enough to lift my spirit and combined with the brilliant, warm weather and the train trip it was a pure bliss! Yeah, yeah, sure, the new shoes too, but I would have had just as much fun without them, word of honor! 

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

mission accomplished...

... and it feels better than a new pair of Prada pumps!!!

I have had a task to do for the last 6 months... Now, I am not at all proud of it (and I don't usually avoid work like this) but the fact of the matter is that for the last half a year it has been haunting my life, sitting at the top of my desk, waiting patiently to be dealt with while I have been procrastinating like a pro! Yep, a lot has to do with it being a tough one... the difficulty of it being that I had not done this before and mixed up with the fear that I was not going to be able to actually do it... fear, yes... and stress... lots of it...

But this past Monday, though struggling with a headache (perhaps because of the promise I had secretly given to myself that I was going to at least start it this week) I did start it... And did finish it today!! OK, it still needs some work, mostly involving my colleagues, but the first part, the most difficult one, the one I had to do on my own, is done. And though this past few days I have been feeling under the weather, for reasons other than work, finishing this damn thing has helped substantially to improve the mood.

Still two days to go for the weekend, the weather being gloomy and depressing, but I do feel better than yesterday! I will focus on this one positive thing and will get it through the rest of the week and into the break! And, though I have not won the Nobel peace prize, merely I finished a long delayed work related task, I do indeed feel better about myself! And, this is better than shoes, isn't it?  ;)


Tuesday, 10 May 2011

families...

... are not as such better than shoes. At least not in the strict sense. But my definition of family is not the strict one and according to my definition, families are better than shoes! Will explain: I do not believe that my family is only the people that I am related to by blood. My best friend and I have been friends for almost 27 years now... Doesn't she qualify as family??!! You bet it does!! My other oldest friend is also my cousin, but in all honesty it is the meeting of hearts and minds which brought (and keeps) us together, not the blood. And in my life time I have been privileged enough to meet more wonderful people who are no forming what I call my family.

On the other hand, my immediate, blood, family is small... we can have a Christmas (or Easter...) meal all together normally without needing a fourth chair... And I do sometimes miss experiencing this type of big gatherings with parents, aunts, cousins, grandparents, children, just like I see it in the movies... the loud meals, the different generations, the heated discussions... I do miss the normality of it all, the comfort of the support group... But, as I said, I have been lucky enough to be part part of many families in my life and I choose to focus on this...

This past weekend was all about that: a family gathering! More than 20 people, cousins, wives, husbands, girlfriends, kids, all together for two days in a beautiful scenery, for the sheer pleasure of getting together! The jokes, the games, the fun, the food (oh, so much food once again... I really need to stop eating...) the teasing, all of it was perfect! No, not even the rain (which fell in abundance...) managed to spoil the mood, not even the cold rooms! It was better than shoes... And I was lucky enough to be part of it! :)

Thursday, 5 May 2011

my new computer is awesome!!!

... and needless to say, better than shoes! OK, it cost me sliiiiiightly more than an exquisite pair of Louboutins but it is worth every cent I paid for it! First of all, the old one was reeeeeeally old, so old that every time I was trying to google chat with my friends, after every sentence I wrote I had to wait 5 minutes for it to appear in the chat! Yep, old, poor thing... I could not have it work for more than 20 minutes if not plugged in, the battery was so ruined... oooops, I should not talk about it as if it was dead, should I?!...

Anyway, I have been promising to myself (and other interested parties...) that I was going to buy a new computer since almost two years now... and every time I would just spend the money in something else, may that be traveling, clothes or... you guessed right, shoes! Simply because hi tech stuff are not my priority, in the sense that If I can do what I want with what I have, normally I will not buy new equipment. So, in this case, I really had to stop being able to do what I want in order to actually get a new machine! But boy am I glad I did!

Featherlight, small, easy to use as this is a guarantee of the fruity brand (no, they don't pay me nor give me discounts so I will just imply their name...) and pretty much the state of the art! For someone who only uses it to blog, browse shoes, book tickets and order take away food, it's more than I could ever dreamed of! And as it is so easy to carry, I can really take it everywhere! Which is great news since this way I will be able to write down and share with you all the good things I come across :) Only bad thing, from time to time I will be thinking of all the shoes I could have bought for the same money.. LOL

PS. yes, this is the first post written in my new computer ;)

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

NOT bullshitting people...

...is better than shoes! And I am fully aware that the term "bullshitting" will have some of you raise an eyebrow but I am using it intentionally and consciously as I believe it really is the appropriate one! Now, I know that I hardly ever write about politics in this blog and this is not because I am an apolitical being, quite the contrary. I do it because I very seldom have something positive to say in this topic... sadly... But I cannot resist myself today, in the midst of cries of joy of people who believe a "war" was finally over, people who have lost loved ones in this "war", people who are gullible (to say the least and with all due respect...) and nice in their majority, I cannot resit myself from shouting "stop bullshitting us"!!!

No, I do not believe that any infamous terrorist was killed in these past few days, I do not believe that any "war" has been won... in the wonderful words of  Sting, "there's no such thing as a winnable war, it's a lie we don't believe any more"! I do not believe in good news which come very, very conveniently at a moment when they are most needed (to serve their purpose in maintaining a dubious status quo) and without any (available to the people) shred of evidence as to the truth in them.... I do not believe in manipulating people to maintain one's immoral privileges, I do not believe that any good can ever come from death...  then again I am not religious... perhaps this is the reason for my disbelief...

Honesty and politics do not go together... even if they did when democracy was born in my home land, thousands of years ago, for sure they do not go together now and this, in my view, is a universal truth... But there is a line separating what constitutes a political lie and what constitutes pure "bullshitting"...  and in my opinion this line was crossed this time... And that's what made me share this with you... your comments are, as always, most welcome.

Monday, 2 May 2011

home sweet home...

Waking up at home is better than shoes! After almost ten days of, admittedly, great holidays in home country I realized yesterday that all I wanted was to be home! My home! My sofa, my bed, my bathroom, my kitchen... As fate has it, my home is not in my home country. And this very often creates a confusion in my head, I say "I'm going home" when I mean "I'm going to Greece" and in all honesty I do feel like I'm going home every time I'm there, no doubt. But then I'm there and I miss "my home" which means my apartment here in "the lower lands"... and I want to come back!

Though the weather this time was surprising, to say the least, I had a great time "back home"! Family, friends, great (and ohhhhhh so much...) food, going out for drinks, watching football on a big screen TV out in a terrace while having a beer, shopping, chatting, all that was super! And then, at about a week after I got there, it started... this bug in me which made me miss home... the other home... Not that it stopped me from having a good time, no! But I just wanted to sleep in my bed and take my clothes out of my closet and brush my teeth in my bathroom... weird? mmmmm... dunno...

And today, sitting on my sofa, writing this, while having my coffee and trying to find the courage to go to work, again I have a mixed feeling... I wish I was still in Greece and I wish I was always at home... ok, does this simply mean that I wish my home was in my home country?... not exactly! It is not what I actually wish! And I don't know what I actually wish... home is where the heart is and my heart has been divided for more than ten years now and though this means that sometimes I get sad missing my "other" home, I guess I also have the privilege to just have more than one homes! And be at home in many places... which is, as said, better than shoes ;)

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Spring is officially here...

...and is better than shoes!!

At first I was reluctant to believe it... I thought it was just a temporary glitch and we would go back to the cold, wet, dark place we have been for so many months. And this kinda happened a bit... But for a good two weeks now, with the culmination of these past couple of days, it looks like it is official: it's spring time again! Long, sunny days, warmer weather, flowers, people driving around in their convertibles, new green leaves of the tree brunches, yep, it looks like we can now relax and enjoy it!

For years I would not pay attention to the changes of the seasons... I mean, not consciously. I would feel better when the summer would approach but I would not make the connection that what really uplifted my mood was the rebirth of the nature, the awakening after the long, cold winter. But now I do see it and feel it and, no doubt, I long for it! I look forward to the time I have to rearrange my closet and put away the heavy coats, thought it is not really a job I enjoy truth be told, and to take my ballerinas out of their boxes -where they have been asleep for months- and have them ready to slip on in the morning to go to work. Without socks!! I look forward to start walking home from the office, all 6.5Km of it, and enjoy the late afternoon sunshine. I other words, I look forward to what is already here :)

And I feel like a kid who's wishes came true! No question about it, though, it is also the time to check out the spring shoe collections (and perhaps indulge in a new pair...) but the true gift is spring itself! So, go out and enjoy it anyway it tickles your fancy :) As for me, I think I will be having a cold drink outside somewhere after work... who knows, I might I see you there ;)

PS. Happy Easter holidays to all of you!


Monday, 18 April 2011

What love is...

...some people say is not easy to define. I disagree. Love is easy. Love is care. Care about the other person, about what they want, how they see things, where they are in their life, what makes them happy, what makes them sad, what do they like to eat and which movies they enjoy, what makes them laugh and what could make them cry. That's it. It took me quite sometime to realise it, but it is that simple. Once you care about someone in the above manner, then, chance are you love them. There is no big drama in it, there are no fireworks, no big signs. Just care...

And, in my view, there should be no conditions... no rules, no pre-set criteria like "I will care about you only if you care about me, if you are tall, handsome, rich, great cook and amazing lover, good in maths and tennis and piano, a socialist, a christian, a fan of my football club..." or whatever! No. I care about you because I care, because obviously you are the kind of person with such qualities that made me care about you and even if I cannot identify those one by one, the fact that I care about you is an absolute truth that you, in my book, deserve my care.

So this is how I care... or love... and I don't have to worry about showing it or proving it because, well, the demonstration and the proof are already within it! When one cares about us we all know, no need for declarations, no need for further proof. And when someone doesn't, we also know. The simplest explanation tends to be the right one, so when someone does not care, don't try to figure out if they love you. They don't. So, don't waste you time, don't push it... just accept it...and move on with your life... surely, there are people in it for whom you care and some you know they care about you... sometimes it even happens to be mutual.... and that is better than shoes! ;)

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

An education...

...is better than shoes! And, as I read recently, "education for women equals freedom!"

I could not agree more! Growing up, I questioned and rejected most of the things my parents taught me, as a result of a very healthy (at least in my opinion...) revolution in order to form my own principles and values. However, one of the things I never doubted was my mother's advice to be educated and independent. Though I have many a time questioned my choice of studies, with my 20/20 vision of hindsight, there is not a single doubt that who I am and where I am right now in my life is a direct result of my education! And, without wanting to sound presumptuous, I do feel that I am in a good place!

We live in a very competitive society, the economical climate is... well, how to put it... let's just say "stormy" and the one thing, in my opinion, which can give us better quality of life is education. But when I say education, I do not mean just a degree. I mean it in a far more global sense. Languages, experiences, social education, manners, travels, books, arts, these are the things that should fill up our CVs and these are the things we should try to promote about ourselves. These are the things which are going to make us better than the next candidate. I am fully aware that it is not easy to acquire all these assets... my advice is that there is a time for spending every dime and every second of our life towards our education and then there's time to enjoy the privileges that this education is going to provide for us. And this is my personal story...

Education is what will make the world a better place, I have strongly believed it all my life. Education is the most valuable asset which nobody can take away from us and if combined with a fearless attitude towards life and the will to work hard, try new things and be in new places, well, these can almost guarantee a good life :) And lots and lots of shoes!




Monday, 11 April 2011

When dreams come true...

I have written before about my talented brother... and I will do it again and again, with every chance I have, because he is worth every praise! He is a complete band on his own, not only a great guitarist, composer and lyricist! He writes music from his heart and with it he speaks to ours! He has been an inspiration to me, a person following his dreams and working incredibly hard to make them come true, without ever being discouraged by the rocky road he has to walk! Role model? You bet! And the best little brother I could have ever wished for!!

And this past weekend a long held dream of his came true! Having completed his first CD, he presented it to a group of his most devoted fans, friends and family at a party in the beautiful city of Nafplio, in Greece. And I was there!! And it was better than the best pair of shoes you could ever have imagined!! Hell, it was better than Cinderella's crystal pumps and Louboutin's blue python extreme heights, you chose which ones are the most iconic!! The music, his music, filled the already crowded bar and the emotions from his heartfelt words left us with tears in our eyes... Old friends, good friends, all with a smile in our face, all sharing this feeling of completion, accomplishment and joy! Yes, it was a rare and precious moment and I would not have missed it for the world!

Being there for him in that special night was my privilege! Seeing my kid brother receive his standing ovation from the crowd, witnessing how overwhelmed he was by it and how incredibly, genuinely happy, well, it was one of the best moments in my life! I have been as proud as can be for him for so long and I did not think I can be prouder... I was wrong! And I am delighted I was!





Tuesday, 5 April 2011

the groove is in the heart...

...no matter how old you get, darling!!

Last Saturday I was in my beloved Porto! Certainly one of the most beautiful cities I have ever been, with its coloured granite houses, the usually grey sky, the deep feeling of "saudades" (so fundamentally Portuguese...) and the river flowing calmly to the sea... The city itself has cast its spell on me since the first time I was there and though we had our disagreements, mainly because of the wet weather, it has earned a place in my heart and, believe it or not, I do miss it when time passes by without visiting :)

So this past weekend I was there. A weekend very short but full of fun, as I had surely expected! Got on a plane on Friday evening, landed late at night and stayed until Sunday. Family, friends, walks in the sun, lunch, dinner, lots of great wine and finally dance 'till the morning hours!! Now, it is known that I am not a fan of very crowded places and I only enjoy being hugged by my loved ones and not strangers in a club... also that I need a bit, not a lot, of space to dance and breath at the same time... and admittedly there was a slight lack of that last Saturday.
But, one the other hand there was a great group of friends, there was amazing music from the 80's (no, not the crappy stuff, no YMCA, the good stuff... and as those of you who remember the 80's will surely testify, there's quite a lot of good stuff in that decade!) and a fantastically good mood that not even the (obviously drunk...) lady who insisted on dancing while leaning on my back (!!!) mattered!

In other words, it was perfect! No, let me rephrase that, it was "legendary" ;) And certainly better than shoes! Shoes which off course had to be flat in order to make it all night... :)


PS. M, next time we have to find a spot which is not next to the door, girl... or start charging for opening it to all those people ;) kisses




Saturday, 26 March 2011

a good start to the weekend...

...is very important! Equally important is the weekend itself, as, let's face it, it is what we are dreaming of the rest of the week while working... and, yes, I will be the one saying it, it is what keeps us going... the weekend that is... ok, I may have been slightly lost in my train of thoughts here... Anyway, the start to the weekend, the way Friday ends, is important because it brings us IN to the weekend mood and if it is good, than most likely the rest of the mini break will be good too!

I had such a good start to the weekend yesterday! The sun was shinning, rare and brilliant, the mood was already good for the working week was over (and not such a bad one either, to tell the truth...), my iPod was choosing great music as I drove away from the office and, especially also because I had been hungry for almost a week due to a wisdom tooth infection, I was looking forward to dinner! Dinner which would be at my house with a few great friends and my specialty, "pork's tenderloin with lemon sauce", accompanied by my friend's famously good mashed potatoes!  

Mmmm... and what a great diner it was! Not wanting to brag about my pork, which was perhaps the best I ever made (purely by luck... or because I forgot about it almost dangerously while cooking...) or my friend's heavenly mash, I will brag about the great company and the conversations and the perfect atmosphere created just to get us, in the most perfect way, into the weekend! And this is, without a doubt, better than shoes!

ps1. Yes, it is Saturday morning now and raining... @#$%^&**((**&

ps2. No, I will not be revealing the recipe for "pork's tenderloin with lemon sauce" anytime soon...


Monday, 14 March 2011

Mini break with friends!

Having started writing this post, I feel that it is somewhat inappropriate to talk about "better than shoes" stuff at a time when the whole world's interest is focused on last Friday's Japanese tragedy... I mean no disrespect and I do feel overwhelmed by it... But I think that, even at times like these, talking about positive things can help us cope with the sadness... So here it is, my latest "better than shoes" experience...

I am a fortunate person, I have said it before, who not only enjoys the friendship of wonderful people but who also can enjoy the luxury of escaping for a long weekend with them! And this is what happened some ten days ago, we got on a plane and headed to a mini break in London! And what a weekend that was! Even the weather, notoriously wet and gloomy in the British capitol, was on our side! Blue skies, bright sun (though admittedly a bit chilli...) and just a tiny bit of rain only on Saturday night. In other words, splendid!

Having done some preparations beforehand, my friends being great at that, we ended up having lovely meals, a great lunch at Jamie's Italian in the City on Friday and a memorable dinner on Saturday at Gordon Ramsay's Maze My mouth gets watery and my eyes misty just in the memories of the tastes, the wine, the beautiful ambience and the pleasant people! Which by the way is my overall impression every time I travel to London, I find the friendliness of the service everywhere most inviting! On top of that, a matinée of "Billy Elliot" on Saturday completed the experience!

Surely I will not deny there was some shopping... surprisingly not for shoes! I guess the enormous offer just kinda blocked me and could not choose... or simply did not feel the need for it as I was feeling, for the whole of the weekend, such immense joy being with my friends and having such a great time that I forgot my usual addiction to foot candy... don't know... what I do know is that this weekend certainly qualifies as "better than shoes" and that I have my best friends to thank for it! :)

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Pilates...

... is better than shoes! And I will dedicate this post to it :)

Now, for those of you not familiar with this wonderful fitness regime, here you are. I have been practicing on and of with videos at home for about five years now but it is only since last autumn that I started with the classic Pilates training at a studio. I got myself a personal trainer and I gathered up all my motivation for going there at least once a week after work and fight my natural tendencies which would be go home and crash on the sofa :)

Mind you, it is not easy at all! If you do not believe me, google some videos of it and you will know what I mean... But, boy, does it feel good! It is the type of exercise that is as if it was made for me: no huffing and puffing, no sweating, no jumping up and down like a lunatic (so that all the wobbly parts -of other people of course, what did you think- can be also jumping up and down in plain view...), no loud music, no gym freaks checking out their muscles at the mirrors, no show off...  And it works wonders! Not only my aching body bits (ok... I do have some of those...) have just stopped aching, honest truth, but I feel my body changing session by session! Like I'm getting taller and lighter and leaner!

Ok, the fact is that it does hurt while doing the exercises... it is very hard workout, focusing on those core abdominal muscles, and that is the reason why it works as well as it does! But, though one could not say that it is "fun" to do (it is not the thigh-master and this is not an infomercial...), it is my kind of addictive, seductive I dare say, type of work out! And one which definitely brings results! Thus, it is better than shoes! Not to mention that the way it transforms the body, anyone looks better on high heels sandals :) Clearly, a win-win situation ;)



Monday, 31 January 2011

good company...

Ok, it is official... we are in the most depressing time of the year and, though there are some discrepancies about the exact date of the most depressing day of the year (statistics on suicides taken into account...) I think you would agree with me that precision has little importance on this... Here we are, Christmas holidays long gone, days still dark and cold, next break feels like a century ahead and, if you don't believe in Valentine, there is no reason for celebration in the horizon! On top of all that, the sales are almost over and, though some of us got lucky enough to snatch those Miu Miu patent leather moccasins with 50% off, the truth is that there is nothing left to ease our pain...


So there is no reason to deny it, the "blues" are here and we need to do something to feel better... My idea was simple: invite a few friends over on a Saturday night, prepare a simple Mediterranean assortment of food to share, have a laugh and drown our misery in good wine :) It turned out to be far better than I had expected as we really had a lovely time talking about our travel experiences and far away places, we were all relaxed and enjoyed the food, including an amazing octopus salad prepared by one of my friends, and I got offered so many bottles of champagne and so much cheese (both of great quality, mind you) I can have at least two more champagne and cheese parties!


Bottom line is that, if you can't make it on your own to feel better and fight depression... ask some help from your friends! Chances are everybody feels more or less the same so, get together, have a glass of wine (or two or three for that matter, provided you are not driving afterwards...) and fight the "blues" as a group! Good company always helps and is perhaps the only thing which helps in these depressing times... except for heavy medication... but you don't want that, right?!


Do I really need to say that good company is better than shoes?... nah.... you already know that ;)

Monday, 17 January 2011

white sand under my feet...

...was better than shoes!!!

I am a fortunate person who got to spend the first day of the year on the beach, by a sea the colour of turquoise, under the warm sun while drinking piña colada and reading, finally, "The lost symbol"! I could not have asked for anything more, I had a week of absolute bliss while carrying a smile on my face which reached from one ear to the other! Everything was perfect, everything was better than I had hoped for and I came back full of wonderful memories, wish to go back and... 2 kilos extra! Yep, those tortilla chips with guacamole came back here with me...

I was determined to do something different for the Xmas holidays this year, escape the winter and go spend this time somewhere far where I could enjoy the sun and the sea. I did it and am glad I did! One week of holidays which restored my tired body and mind. Beach in the morning, naps in the afternoon, eating, drinking, dancing, shooting pool, reading... paradise could not be much different than this!! I would have loved to have stayed more but, truth be told, I am not really complaining because even to be able to be there for a week was a dream come true!

Everything was beautiful but the best thing was the sand! Seriously!! So fine and white and not hot at all though under the hot sun, and so peacefully looking and clean and comfy under the soles of my feet... like caressing them with every step...   I have always loved walking on the beach, having the water cool off my feet and enjoy the view of this line between the sand and the sea... But this time it was 10 times better than anything I have experienced before... definitely better than shoes...

PS. Happy New Year to all of you and your loved ones!