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!