Monday, 31 December 2012

And before we really sign off in 2012 . . .

I couldn't end this year without showing some hot guys here! Hey, it's not a blog about world peace as Faux Fuchsia always says!

Feast your eyes on this!

photo courtesy of
The two hot guys are actually a cello playing duo from Croatia who sky rocketed to fame this year after their cover of Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal became a YouTube sensation. They had their first Belgrade concert on Friday in Sava Centar and the hubby and me enjoyed ourselves immensely for an hour and a half of their phenomenal music! They make two cellos and a set of drums sound like a whole band and their covers of U2, Coldplay, AC/DC, etc. are amazing. It certainly helps that they are easy on the eyes as well!

This one is my favorite:

Happy New Year!

Yes, another one just whizzed by . . . The sense of warp speed with which years pass by me is increasingly palpable ever since I had my little girl four years ago. I can't believe she's grown so much and is this pretty fantastic little lady already! 2012 has been a special year for her, just like all preceding ones were and the future ones will be, as she is beginning to show her true character more and more, as well as her abilities which are, if it is not to presumptuous to say so given that I'm her mom, amazing! She's a sweet kid, very empathetic and in tune with even the slightest quiver of emotion around. She's also very stubborn and she knows what she wants and is ready to get it no matter what! I love her to pieces and I hope 2013 will be another fun roller coaster ride for her and us as we tag along ;-)

2012 was remarkable for me in many ways, mainly deeply personal and having to do with the shifts and shuffles in my inner workings. I cannot say I have it all worked out or that I'm a new person, but some changes started and cannot be stopped any more. I have a somewhat different attitude to stress, work and life in general, I fret about things at least a little bit less, and I know my priorities - my family, my well being, my peace and then everything else. I started taking better care about myself. I went to a dentist after many years of a completely irrational fear of even smelling that particular smell that so unmistakably says you're at the dentist's. I started eating less crap and more home made food. My new job allows me a one-hour break during the day which I use to walk a lot and I feel so much better for that - walking is the ultimate cure when it comes to my sense of well being.

I started this new job in March. And I like it. It's so much different than my previous job and my previous relationship with my boss and it's such a relief and a refreshment. I still work a lot, I still work more than other people in the office, I have my boss's ultimate trust, but at least I don't have to endure brain washing on a daily basis any more. And that helps a lot.

I'm not sure though how this will reflect on my future jobs and carrier and I know I need to already start looking past this situation and seek more permanent, reliable solutions. A tough cookie, I know.

This year was also marked by a big baby boom among my friends and family and happy news abounded throughout the past 12 months. Sadly, the year also involved more or less untimely deaths as a constant reminder that my dad is also not around any more.

The most important job my husband and me have initiated this year - getting a new, bigger home for our family - is not finished yet and I will be quite anxious for the holidays to pass and to hear some much awaited good news soon. I can only hope and pray for this one . . .

Here's what one of the horoscopes I browsed says for the upcoming year:

YOUR FULFILLING REALITY taking care of family business
THE CHALLENGE TO ACHIEVE BALANCE between clean living and hard work, and taking off on a crazy tangent
THE MYSTERY TO BEGIN UNRAVELING sex, death and other people’s money
YOUR STRONGEST ASSET Focusing on home repairs and eating proper foods.

Interesting . . . Especially the balance part ;-)

With this I leave you in 2012 and I wish that all your woes and troubles also stay there so that the New Year can be refreshing, thrilling and positive for all!

P.S. a gratuitous shot of the office counter which was graced with an abundance of sweets provided by me today for my colleagues, until, erm, the sweets just disappeared ;-)

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Bits and pieces

It's been a tough few days with a sick child in my household so there wasn't much sleeping going on actually. Here are the snippets of the last few days, when high fever was not yet in the picture:

 Starry cappuccino, just what the doctor ordered for a perfect Sunday morning ;-)
 More snazzy Christmas decor around the Belgrade cafes
 I would love to indulge in some New Year's punch but in order for it to be special, a few friends with which I usually frequented this place are not in Belgrade, so it just wouldn't be the same to go and do it on my own ;(
 Daily temperatures resemble spring and the snow has melted away. The little flowers think it's March, I bet ;-)
Always a good choice this necklace - a present from a dear friend, I wear it often and always get a lot of compliments for it.

Nothing more to report, I'm afraid. I want the fever to go away!

Edited to add:

 I had to show my own take on the embellished collar trend and my own handiwork for that matter, as well as another beautiful necklace given to me by the same beautiful friend on the doomsday this past Friday which we successfully survived ;-)

Friday, 21 December 2012


Look, the only beef I have with Gwyneth Paltrow is the fact that she's married to Chris Martin, the Coldplay frontman and the sexiest piano-playing-cum-wonderful-verse-writing musician around, as far as I'm concerned. As for everything else, we're cool, Gwynny and I, although many have criticized her for appearing holier-than-though mostly because of putting her (sometimes too strong and polarizing) opinions on public display through her blog, GOOP. That, and the incredible body she has after giving two births. That's always a tough one to forgive ;-)

I like her blog, I don't always agree with her opinions, but most of the times I find what she writes and the people she invites to write there very good and worth a read. In this week's series, BE, she broached the subject of perfection/imperfection with this opening statement:

'Striving for achieving a sense of perfection has been a misguided belief in my life, often leading me down the wrong path. It has made me, at times, place value on the wrong things. It has made me not listen to my true self for fear that I would somehow fail in another's eyes. I was curious as to how the idea of perfection has become so pervasive in our society, how it begins, how it hurts us and perhaps, even, if it carries a certain benefit.'

This rang so true in my ears for this is who I have been for so long and in so many occasions, more or less important on the road I have traveled so far. I wrote about it here. Perfection, like happiness, is something we are led to believe we need to be/live/achieve all the time. In reality, we don't. No one can be happy 100% of time, or perfect. No one needs to be happy and perfect 100% of time. It's ok to fail, it's ok to let other people down sometimes, it's ok to be sad and miserable if it can't be helped. Sure, no one likes sad and miserable people, but we also do not need to be liked all the time.

What we need is to be true to ourselves, our inner feeling, our gut if you will and answer to no one other than ourselves for our decisions and choices. It's hard and it hurts but it's the most honest way to go about life, I believe.

Here's the whole thing from GOOP, it's a good read I promise.

I'm looking forward to a chat with my friend today. Come noon time and it's time for Armageddon you'll find us sipping coffee and talking like there's no tomorrow ;-) Just like always!

Wednesday, 19 December 2012


Today is an important day for me and my family - it is our Slava Day, or the day we pay our respects to the patron saint of our ancestors, Saint Nicholas. Slavas are a big thing in Serbia and to me they, perhaps more than anything else in our orthodox tradition, harken back to the old, pagan days. The whole concept centers around getting into the good books of your patron saint by placating him/her with different offerings - mainly in food and drink - and securing health and prosperity for your family.

Apart from this, Slavas are, or should be, about gathering your family and friends in your home, welcoming them and spending time together to show and feel connected and unified in life and celebrations.

For my family - my parents, my brother and me - this used to be a big thing, a very important day that then got extended to two or three days of guests parading through our home, spending time and leaving well fed and merry. It involved complex preparations (a week before was sacrificed to preparing and producing as much food as possible and procuring all that might be necessary on that day - beverages, tableware, that particular locally produced rakija or wine, etc.) and it would leave us exhausted both physically and financially, but my parents wouldn't have it any other way.

It's this typical Serbian propensity for overdoing it that I found most problematic about marking your saints day, but I'm not going to nitpick about that now. Sometimes I wish I'd taken pictures of the lavish spreads that my parents prepared, delicious food and cakes, the taste of which I still remember very well.

Those times are well and truly over. My dad is gone and my brother took over the Slava, but we don't do the big shebang any more.

We carry on but in a smaller circle of only the closest family members. I miss having my friends over because that made the day special for me and my brother while we were younger.

Although we are all acutely aware of loss and missing my dad on this particular day, I want to start changing our attitude a bit this year. I want us to also feel happy and grateful that we are here and able to sit around the table together and enjoy good food and each others' company.

That is important, the sense of togetherness and being a family, albeit incomplete and permanently damaged in a way.
To finish off on a lighter note, here are the pictures of a few cute little fellas that will soon make their way to some little people that i want to make smile for the holidays!

The Gang ;-)
For my niece

For a little kitty cat girl
A special white mouse for a special little guy

A sage owl for a thoughtful and smart boy

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Midlife Crisis at 30

A great article which I stumbled upon quite accidentally. A good read about the struggles that we, the women in our 30s, have by virtue of being daughters of our mothers who first experienced the pains associated with having it all. Read more

Enlightening ;-)

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Let it snow, let it snow!

Although my first preference is to go off somewhere hot and sunny and spend the rest of my life in tropical climes, this first burst of snow in Belgrade this winter is making me smile in a good way. yes it's a logistical nightmare and I feel sorry for anyone who has to use the means of public transport or travel anywhere, but for a mere pedestrian like me it's nice!

The view from my office window today

This was Sunday, after almost 24h of snow

Cheesy Christmas decor in shopping molls, but hey, 'tis the season to be merry ;-)

Recycled lollipop decoration from my daughter's birthday cake now acting as a Christmas tree bauble ;)

 Our office Christmas tree and presents for the upcoming lottery ;-)

Speaking of Body Image

Just have a look see at this lady's brave posting. Hurray for her and hurray for all women on their rocky at times but steady road to self-acceptance!

Friday, 7 December 2012

United Nude Shoes

For ages I've been an avid fan of United Nude shoes. Just look at these beauties:


Gorgeous color combination, I can just see myself walking down the cobbled streets of Dorcol in the heat of the summer in these and feeling all bold and ready to get on top of the world!


These babies are just plain dangerous!


I am seriously considering getting at least these black pumps - they seem like shoes that could be worn every day all day, morning to evening, with anything.


THE perfect bootie! There is the same pair in brown tones as well.

It so happens that I know a very special and smart lady that is in charge of their import, wholesale and retail in what the rest of the world now commonly refers to as the Western Balkans. Their stuff is awesome, the shoes are a work of art and you can browse more of their offer and outlet/discount prices here:

Disclaimer: views expressed here are all my own, I was not in any way compensated by the owner of Lili Jolie to write about their shoes. Just so that we're square on that ;-)

Thursday, 6 December 2012

One of Those Days

It really is, one of those when you wonder 'will this downward spiral ever end?' days.

It started with a cold blow to my self-esteem, completely self inflicted and related to outward appearance. One of the moms that I meet on the kindergarten run every now and then showed up today looking like a million dollars - a tall and slim young woman, in an incredible short fur jacket, over the knee, high-heeled boots, a pencil skirt, all black, and a bright pink Prada bag. Short hair, great make-up, a stunner. Cue my own little self in a several years old grey feather coat, sensible flat black boots, a silly Inspector Gadget worthy hat, the works. Or that's how it seemed to me. Add a totally uninspiring outfit, fit for the drab, sterile office environment I work in and the situation had 'disaster' written all over it.

I rarely compare myself to other women. I know what I like about me, what I think could be better/changed, and I have my own personal style which is very me, I think, and I almost never question it. I don't wake up wanting to be this slim, fit, tall version of me I know I'll never be - I just don't think in those impossible terms. Sure, some days I feel better about the way I look, some days I'm less favorably impressed with a reflection in the mirror, but it's never a crisis that cannot be handled. This morning was different, however, and I hated myself for feeling so lowly, so feeble, so easily beaten into a corner and ready to wallow in self-doubt and desperation.

Hectic work atmosphere where I've had to seriously multitask for the past few weeks and the pressure that wouldn't let off, all that just added to the feeling of desperation. Come mid-day, something related to the procedure for the bank loan goes wrong - one document is late, and I crash and burn. Total and complete meltdown, behind the computer at work. Oh, and my mom contributed to that as well. The moment she chose to explain some truths of life was really bad and it just pushed me deeper.

From that point on I just wanted this day to end. I was rescued by my daughter and her laughter and endless energy for a brief while until she went to bed. Now all I want is to curl up in a deep dark hole and not come out for a few days.

I've definitely been under a lot of stress lately and it is getting to me. I held out much longer without breaking down this time than in previous similarly stressful situations, but still. Only this time I acutely feel like I really need to change this pattern of behavior. I really need to stop worrying that much and fretting over details and using up my energy carelessly for unimportant things. I need to take care of myself more as I too have limitations. And I feel like my body is close to a breaking point. If I push it over, it won't be forgiving I know and God knows what it is I may end up having to fight. I don't want that. I want to stick around for a long time, wrinkles and all.

So tomorrow, on goes the make up, some bright colors and a smile, if I manage one. And a drop of perfume for the olfactory pick me up. I hope I feel ready to face the world again.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Our tree is up!

Admittedly quite unusually for the local custom, but I've put the Christmas up already! My daughter is beyond thrilled and I immensely enjoy getting all the bells and whistles out of their boxes and up to the tree. Ours is a plastic tree, I just don't believe in cutting one every year to have it die in a month's time.

Here are the visuals:

It's cute, I like it, it has waaaaaay too many decorations and it's gonna stay up until the end of January! It takes two and a half hours to make it all pretty and nice like this so we may as well enjoy it!

Friday, 30 November 2012

November Recap

This was one crazy month! Too many things, both good and bad happened in the space of only 30 days - that is what I find to be incredible every time I witness how one's life gets profoundly changed in the span of a few hours/days.

Here goes:

We've put in a request for a bank loan in order to buy a bigger apartment for our little family. Given the amount of paperwork and nerves that has taken so far, without being over - it's a marathon, not a short sprint obviously, I hope we make it and get it done as I really do not want to do it another time . . . If it works, it will be great, we'll have a nice place close to where we live now meaning our daily rhythm will not suffer any significant changes. Fingers&toes people!

My close cousin got married after 12 years of a relationship that we weren't exactly sure will actually end in a marriage. But it did and both the bride and the groom were genuinely happy for the duration of the ceremony and the ensuing celebrations. They had a small civil ceremony and then it was off to the party for us the younger generations. It was one of the greatest parties I attended lately, with this great DJ playing the 80s and 90s music. Some time after midnight it was real wild party time so the girls took off the high heels and some serous jumping around occurred. Here's the visual of no shoes:

Poor cast offs, all alone ;-) The purple ones to the left are all mine!

We had a nice family lunch the next day in a cute restaurant near the Danube.

This month also saw me on the road quite a lot:

It was first the work-related trip to Kladovo, a town in Eastern Serbia, on the banks of the mighty Danube, then the visit to hubby's grandparents in Croatia and my first sight of a sleepy little near by town of Virovitica, off to Novi Sad for the wedding, and then again work-related jaunts to Pirot and Prokuplje (with a sleep over in Nis)  - another first time for me in these two Serbian towns. I was lucky that the weather was mild and enjoyable for all the trips. This moving about certainly contributed to the feeling of time fleeting by.

 Kladovo, and Romania across the river
Prokuplje - really beautiful surroundings, vineyards and orchards all around, lots of history, even a settlement from the neolithic period for which it was recently proven that it was the location of first metal working human activity, and not Africa as was believed previously. Unfortunately, for all the natural wealth (three spas also in the vicinity), it is a poor town nowadays.

Inevitable mention of the second anniversary of my father's death. More deaths for close friends and colleagues. News of a horrible illness for my friend's father as well. Overwhelming at times.

Took my husband to see 'Seven Days in Havana'. A great omnibus film, seven short stories on the life in this amazing city with even more amazing people. All the cliches are featured - Cuban people, beautiful and special, singing and dancing like there is no tomorrow despite everything, Castro with his never-ending speeches that form the background TV noise, poverty, desperation, white folks misconceptions and prejudice about the place, but also cults and superstition, sexuality, comic relief all around and love. It paints a picture of a truly amazing place on Earth with unique and resilient people that, similarly to Serbs, express their appreciation and care through food and music.

A memorable episode in the movie is marked by Emir Kusturica, our famous director, portraying him as an ordinary man having issues with his fame, alcohol and his wife

Last but not least, new booties. Behold their soft leather glory!

These are the things that marked this month for me. And tons more that do not fit into this blog post. E-mail exchanges with people on far away ends of this world whose absence is acutely felt, phone calls with friends and a conspicuous absence of time to spend with them in person, my daughters improving drawing skills, poem interpretation and singing (it's wondrous how much she's grown and matured in the past few months), endless talks with my mom, etc.

Bring it on December!

Thursday, 29 November 2012

I so want this one!

Trawling the internet in the past few days has yielded numerous 'ahh's and 'ohhh's and 'I want this!' urges, but what has caught my attention the most is this particular beauty:

This, peeps, is a part of the Sherlock Holmes Jewelry collection made by Jezebel Charms quite charmingly entitled 'Come Watson, The Game is Afoot'. I mean, how cool is that? For a closer look at all its charms see here.

All things Sherlock Holmes strike a particular cord with me. I'm a huge fan of all Arthur Conan Doyle's stories involving Holmes and the trusty sidekick Watson. I love reading them and I do it over and over again, but I also love the TV screen versions.

Jeremy Brett will always be THE Sherlock for me, but the recent portrayal of the famous detective by the young Benedict Cumberbatch is almost as equally impressive. At first I thought I'm not going to be such a huge fan of modern, cell phone texting Holmes, but the spirit of Holmes was well and truly preserved in all the mannerisms that Cumberbatch so meticulously presented. He's ingenious, he's quick-witted and whimsical, but we also see his more emotional and softer side.


Benedict Cumberbatch


Jeremy Brett

I also recently acquired great insight into Conan Doyle's life and his problematic relationship with the detective he created, as well as his own sleuth propensities in a book by Julian Barnes called 'Arthur and George'.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012


Whenever I wish I was someplace else, it is in Paris. I've been there twice after longing to visit the City of Light since I was a kid. When my uncle came back from his several weeks stay and brought back the maps and pictures of the beautiful city, I was enchanted and all I ever wanted was to go to Paris.

When I started work after University, my boss was this French guy whom I didn't like that much at the beginning. However, we became friends and he ended up doing one of the greatest things for me ever - inviting my husband and me for a week-long stay in his place in Paris as part of our honey moon.

It was the best thing ever! It was April, it was warm and sunny, and we had the free rein of our time and resources. We paved the cobbled streets for hours every day, just drinking it all in - the people, this sights, the smells, awed by the sheer size and lavishness of this grand city.

Nothing was lost on me - the poverty, the beggars, ethnic diversity, morning rush hour, rather pesky waiters when you address them in English God forbid, but also the richness of architecture, art, fashion, a visual feast of a very special kind.

And food. Fantastic food, even plain sandwiches were fantastic. But most amazing for me are the two famous patisseries, Ladure and Pierre Herme, and all kinds of sweet wonders that melted on my tongue.

Our great hosts took us on all sorts of little trips around the city and its vicinity, as well as to great restaurants, a bodega party and a smokey night club, but for me, the city and its never ending noise and rush, the streets, the churches that just jump out at you as you turn a corner, the trees and parks, these made the greatest impression.

We had another trip to France after this and spent a day in Paris before leaving for a lavish wedding ceremony for our hosts and further on, down the Loire valley ending up in Ile de Re in the Atlantic, but that was a whole different story. Amazing and beautiful, but not quite as fabulous as Paris.

It was a dream come true, it was the fulfillment of a childhood dream, it was a honey moon with the man I love, it was my first visit to a Western European city and it was a fairytale.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Two Years

It will be two years to the day tomorrow that my father died. He was 56. I remember everything about that day, minute by minute. I remember my grief, that of my mom and my brother, my husband, as well as the grief of so many people that came to our house to share the sadness of the loss.
For not only did I loose my father, my grandfather lost his son, my aunt lost her brother, my mom's numerous family lost one person that they all universally loved and liked a lot, and his friends and colleagues lost a loyal and good friend and co-worker.
And that was what has sort of taken me aback the most at the day of his funeral - how many people showed up to pay respects because my father was an important part of their lives as well. His friends from childhood, high school, university, his co-workers. I guess I knew he was a well liked guy, I just didn't realize how much so.
Loosing a parent is never easy, regardless of their age when they die. Loosing your spouse, however, is I think even harder and I can see that on my mom. She misses him the most.
Whenever I watch a basketball game or a tennis match, whenever I hear or read some poetry, whenever I hear talk of Russia, I think of my dad. I remember all the good times, I remember my childhood and I know he loved us both so much. I know he loved his granddaughters a lot as well and I'm sad for him and for them that he's not around to see them grow up.
But I also remember the bad stuff and all things he's done wrong which contributed to him leaving us that much sooner. I remember him telling me during his last days how much time he spent with unimportant people instead with us, me and my brother. He was genuinely sorry for that, I know. But I also know that I thought 'well, it's a little late for that now, isn't it?'.
I don't harbor grudges. Any that I had are long buried and forgotten. I have forgiven my dad for everything a long time ago, long before he died. I'm just sorry I didn't tell him that in so many words.
I said my good bye the night before he died but I didn't say it out loud for fear of stirring him from that semi-conscious state he was in. I wanted to say 'I love you dad', but I didn't, at least not out loud. And I regret that a lot.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Olive Oyl

My favorite scarf ever is graced by Olive Oyl, believe it or not.
Here's a visual:

And here's a song sang by Olive Oyl:

Olive used to be my hero as my childhood in the 80s was marked by Popeye the Sailor Man cartoons galore. Just see this quote:

Olive Oyl: [watching Brutus the strongman perform] Oh, Popeye, what a gorgeous hunk of man. What lovely muscles!
Popeye: Muskels schmuskels.

I always feel at least a tad better when I'm wearing this scarf and i see Olive on it!


I am a child of summer and I feel best during long, warm and sunny days, with light being the key factor in the equation. I thrive on sun and sun light. I get all depressed, listless and energy-deficient during winter and I just want to curl up and snooze until spring.
That said, I LOVE autumn. I love the colors, the smells and sheer abundance of seasonal fruit combined with hints of imminent decay announcing the cruel winter.
The pictures below illustrate my point exactly. These were taken during the weekend getaway with my family.

 'Tis the pumpkin season after all!

 Wall nut leaves have this amazing tobacc-y brown color that I like so much.
 This shrub got all confused poor thing and blossomed in November ;-)
 Last of the roses before spring.