coat story

i’m not crazy about winter & cold weather, i spend most of the winter days counting how much we have until spring.. it’s mainly because i cannot stand cold (my hands & feet get immediately so cold) and it’s quite difficult to stay stylish.

well, i was quite fortunate during the last 10-ish years.. first i spent four winters on +30 degrees (in malaysia) during my studies.. and then for the next seven years i was enjoying mild italian winters. so, by moving to austria i got to experience what winter is really like.. and so far, i’m not enjoying it so much.

however, there’s something which keeps me in a better mood: my super-cool grey coat with super-cool pink hood!

it’s a product of one of my favorite brands, sandro. just like the rest of my favorite brands, it’s french.. and super chic!

what i like about this coat is that it’s form is totally simple and classic.. and yet, with the hood (which can be removed for the classy occasions), gives it that “bit” which makes it really unique.

i have it for a year now.. and i’m still totally crazy about it.

what do you think?

sandrocoat2

sandrocoat1

all the photos in this post were taken by tarik, during our winter holiday in lovely geneva (december 2015.)

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the elegance of the hedgehog

“i think that grammar is a way to attain beauty. when you speak, or read, or write, you can tell if you’ve said or read or written a fine sentence. you can recognize a well-turned phrase or an elegant style. but when you are applying the rules of grammar skillfully, you ascend to another level of the beauty of language. when you use grammar you peel back the layers, to see how it is all put together…”
— muriel barbery, the elegance of the hedgehog

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while the book “the elegance of the hedgehog” is not among my favorites, this particular quote is the one i found to be a reason to read this book. the plot of the book is quite simple, it’s focus is on two characters: renée michel, a 54-year old concierge who loves literature, philosophy and japanese art, and paloma josse, a twelve-year-old girl who lives in a building where renée works and who considers her family quite phony. renée and paloma develop quite unusual friendship which influences the lives of both of them.

the book is known to deal with several important topics of today, such as class consciousness and conflict, but it gives enough space for diverse discussions on philosophy and literature.. and, as mentioned previously, languages.

i’ve given a lot of thought about the introductory quote of this post. before reading this book, i never realized how much i paid attention to grammar, both when speaking my mother tongue and when learning foreign languages. i used to say that grammar is like a math -> you can analyze the grammar rules in the same way you perform addition, subtraction, etc. i used to love languages whose rules are quite clear, and where you don’t find many exceptions. but, once i encountered the language where the rules weren’t as straight forward, i managed to find the beauty even in the exceptions and irregularities (after a long battle, of course!). this book helped me understand that there is the beauty in every language, we only need to understand where it lied.

other than that, this book is special to me for one more reason. when i finished reading it, i posted this quote on my facebook wall. but i also wrote a comment that the book was very well written, too bad that the translation in bosnian was not as good as it could be and that maybe reading it in english or italian would make me like it even more (the book is originally in french, but unfortunately, i don’t speak it). couple of months later, my friend alma sent me her copy of the book in english, all the way from new york! i couldn’t believe she remembered that.

so, yes. this book is important to me for making me enjoy studying foreign languages and understanding there is certain kind of beauty in every language; while some languages have lovely melody, others may have “to-the-point” expressions or clear grammar rules. but also, it reminds me of alma and her amazing gesture.

hence, i chose this book to be my fiftieth post on “on the importance of small things”, as well as to celebrate my 2 year anniversary on wordpress.com!

autumn in mommy’s kitchen

autumn has always been my favorite season. even though it is an introduction to cold & dark winter (which i don’t like at all), i tend to enjoy those reddish shades of trees, the cold breeze and (i have to admit) even the rain.
well, my birthday is also in autumn (i’m a november baby!), so that adds to autumn celebration.

oh, and another thing.. i love the food in autumn! all the fruits and vegetables we were craving for in spring and summer are finally here. back in the days when i was little, my mother would prepare fruit jams, so we would get the taste of summer even during the winter months. during those days, that cosy and welcoming fragrance would be all around our house.

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this is a picture of my mommy’s kitchen, my all-time-favorite place, especially when there’s arrival of fresh vegetables from my uncle’s garden. as you may see in the above photo, there are all kinds of veggies here – you name it, we’ve got it: peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, spinach, beans, and so on.
it goes without saying, it’s all organic (i don’t wanna put a label on it – but my uncle is the one who prefers growing his veggies that way).

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of course, my mom has immediately started to prepare some tasty meals using these veggies -> spinach pie, fried peppers, corn and creamy soups.

oh, and while she was in the mood, she made some cookies.. which are to be accompanied by a cup of coffee or warm tea.

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after she sent me several photos, i insisted upon receiving more of them. i wanted to see what else she managed to cook and also i love the way she decorates the food. i was trying to convince her to start her own cooking blog, but i guess i wasn’t persistent enough.

so, what do you think? should i try to convince to pursue the “cooking blog” idea (with my help, of course)? i think it would be nice to see some of the typical bosnian dishes – with the twist, which she often adds – using different and sometimes unusual spices (at least for that corner of the world).

taste of middle east

last weekend i got to see one of my high school friends who currently lives in qatar. i haven’t seen lejla since 2001. (well, i did see her once in 2010. – just for a second, but you don’t count that – given that we barely exchanged few words) and i was delighted when i received her message she’s coming to milan on business.

as we were planning our little date, i was wondering what she would be like. we were not actually the best friends in high school, so i wondered how it would go.

our date lasted for 5 hours, we talked about highlights of the last 13 years: our lives abroad, studies, job, marriages, and of course how do we feel about our homeland and life we had there. we had a great time.

before coming to milan, she asked me also if i had special wish from qatar. since i’m not an expert on the area and i’m not fan of souvenirs (after years of travelling, i’ve accumulated quite an amount of them), i told her she might bring me some spices or something of that sort.

oh, she brought a bunch of spices (and went to the souk especially for that!), and i have to admit that out of a zillion i’ve heard of only one! from that day on my house has the fragrance of a middle eastern souk. apart from spices i also got some delicious dates, regular & chocolate ones. unlike spices, i am not sure how long they will last, and therefore i’m attaching a photo (so that i would at least remember them).

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however, the aftertaste was the best part of our date. it was truly great to talk to someone who has similar background, goals and who faced similar kind of problems while pursuing those goals. and even though we haven’t seen each other for so long, it felt so natural. i admire lejla’s determination and persistence, i enjoyed listening to her stories and i love her attitude towards life. i also figured how much we have in common (which i didn’t know all along). i feel truly blessed to have a friend like her and to be able to give a sneak peak at that corner of the world.

my borneo pearls

“borneo pearls” is malaysian brand of jewelry, which encapsulates the island of borneo, its people, culture and diversities.

borneo is an island in southeast asia and home to 18.5 million people, different in their races, nationalities, religions and customs. this diversity has resulted in expression of feelings and emotions through its hand assembled jewelry pieces.

i’ve got these simple black pearl earrings when i was about to leave malaysia, in november 2007. it was a gift to myself – for my 23rd birthday and to celebrate my last exam in uni (i went out straight after the exam ended).

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they are my favorite pair of earrings. i wanted to put a couple of photos of me wearing them, and as i went through my photos i’ve realized that i’m wearing them in half the pictures! and since they’re small & simple, they go well with everything.

black pearls2a

given that i’ve lost half of the earrings i own, it is a miracle they survived; i moved five times since 2007. and i’ve survived burglary about a year ago. well, i guess they’re survivors.. they are my tiny bit of malaysia which i keep with me wherever i go.

ps. for more info on borneo pearls visit http://www.borneopearl.com/

la grande bellezza / the great beauty

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“finisce sempre così. con la morte. prima, però, c’è stata la vita, nascosta sotto il bla, bla, bla, bla, bla.
è tutto sedimentato sotto il chiacchiericcio e il rumore. il silenzio e il sentimento. l’emozione e la paura. gli sparuti incostanti sprazzi di bellezza. e poi lo squallore disgraziato e l’uomo miserabile. tutto sepolto dalla coperta dell’imbarazzo dello stare al mondo. bla, bla, bla, bla.
altrove, c’è l’altrove. io non mi occupo dell’altrove.
dunque, che questo romanzo abbia inizio. in fondo, è solo un trucco. sì, è solo un trucco.”

e con queste parole finisce il film “la grande bellezza”, quali in un certo senso riasumono il messaggio del film.

la prima cosa che colpisce è la mancanza di una trama definita. la manzanza che alla fine lascia lo spazio per la caratterizzazione dei singoli personaggi. ci porta a concentrarsi sui contenuti, più o meno nascosta, che emerge dalla raccolta di relazioni e situazioni umane, dal rumore e silenzio.

a me, personalmente, è piaciuto molto. per le emozioni che aveva trasmesso, per la particolarità della narrazione, ma soprattutto, per sua onestà. mi ha ricordato quanto è importante concentrarsi sulla bellezza che ci circonda e che si trova dentro di noi.

– –

“this is how it always ends. with death. but first there was life. hidden beneath the blah, blah, blah, blah.
it is all settled beneath the chitter chatter and the noise. silence and sentiment. emotion and fear. the haggard, inconstant flashes of beauty. and then the wretched squalor and miserble humanity. all burried under the cover of the embarrasment of being in the world. Blah, blah, blah.
beyond there is what lies beyond. i don’t deal with what lies beyond.
therefore, let this novel begin. after all, it’s just a trick. yes, it’s just a trick.”

the movie “the great beauty” ends with these words, which in some way summarize the film’s message.

what is striking about this movie is the lack of a defined plot, which in some way leaves the space to highlight the individual characters. it also focuses on content, more or less hidden, emerging from the collection of human relationships and situations, from the noise to the silence.

i liked it a lot.. no, i loved it! i loved it for many reasons, for the emotions which struck me right from the beginning, for its particular way of narration, but most of all, for its honesty. it reminded me on the importance of beauty; and that we should search for the beauty surrounding us as well as for the beauty inside of us.

a gift from my dad – mechanical handbook!

last summer i got one of the best gifts of my life.
meet “strojarski prirucnik” by bojan kraut, so-called “bible for mechanical engineers”.

handbook 2a

this handbook – pocket edition, was property of my father, also a mechanical engineer. it was given to him when he first started to work, as a gift. his company was proud to have a young engineer, and they wanted to welcome him appropriately. in my time and at my first job, this was not the case, but i was lucky enough to get it anyway.

handbook 1

my dad and i are the only mechanical engineers in our family and i feel so proud to own something my dad used on a daily basis cca 30 years ago. and it was so adorable to find some of his scribbles in the book!

handbook 1a

autumn the lovely

i am really grateful for this lovely fall we’ve been having. ever since i was a little girl, i loved it. it was my absolutely favorite season; even the start of school couldn’t ruin it.

maybe because i was born in autumn, on november 2nd. my mom told me it was beautiful day when i was born; it was getting cold, but the sun was shining & leaves were as colorful as they can get. days like that are still my favorite.

after all, albert camus said “autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower”. and i agree with him.

i will dedicate this post to several lovely cities in autumn.

zurich 2009
zurich, 2009.

nyc 2010
new york city, 2010.

munich 2011
my sister & i, munich, 2011.

rome 2012
rome, 2012.

vienna 2013
vienna, 2013.

ps. all the photos were taken by tarik&me. i can’t wait for autumn 2014. & new set of photos!

postcards’ invasion!

last week i came home to a wonderful surprise! two lovely postcards from my highschool friend lejla, who went to study in the netherlands.

Postcards

the first postcard shows schokland, a unesco heritage site, which was actually an island in the past. since the 1940s it formed part of the land reclaimed from the sea, by draining of the zuider zee. it symbolizes the struggle of the people of the netherlands against the encroachment of the waters. it confirms the dutch saying that God created the world but a man created the netherlands!

the second postcard has a delftware vase on it, a blue and white pottery which is a landmark of the town of delft. the beautiful part of this postcard is that one can actually cut it down to pieces and make a little delftware vase!

the most beautiful part is the fact that a person whom i haven’t talked to in years figured out what i like and what would i like to see. it made me think of our friendship, as well. we have never been the best friends, we were only schoolmates who went to german language course together. every couple of years we exchanged a couple of emails, in the recent months maybe a bit more. i have to admit i was really touched how she remembered i told her to enjoy delft and delftware and that i “collect” unesco heritage sites. i wish there were more people like lejla. i wish i were thoughtful like her.

about the shoes..

just like with design and architecture, i am kind of person who is into fashion.
not that i’m trendy (and likely to buy whatever is “in” at the certain moment), but i don’t mind spending even higher amount of money for something i really find beautiful and interesting.

this kind of thinking got me into buying these shoes!

avecmoderation2

avec modération is an italian fashion brand, founded in firenze in the year 2000, with an aim to create colorful and unique shoes which will last for a long period of time.. and which will be still (and always) be in style.. their main product are slippers and sandals.

the last, capsule collection, explodes with color! there are slippers in red, yellow, green, pink.. and even in different patterns – zebra & tiger one. their pony fur slippers totally won me over, especially when i found them in purple (one of my favorite colors!)

and this is me, wearing my avec modération shoes:

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ps. all the information may be found at: http://www.avec-moderation.com/