Last Month’s Favorites: December 2018

December! One of my favorite months of the year! And not because of the snow, not even because of Christmas, but because of the holiday season. Two weeks of vacation with nothing to do, at least not officially, since we all know we need to pay visits to everyone from the family, clean the house, cook enough food to feed a small village etc., but let’s not focus on that, but on the favorites list from last month.

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Since one of my wishes for this mini vacation was to have a few days for my own, to read under the Christmas tree and just stay in my fluffy robe, I needed a few items to buy. One, some good books, a romantic winter story One Day in December (review here) and Paulo Coelho’s Winner Stands Alone (review will follow soon), and second the fluffy pink robe. I know it all sounds like a cliche but it really felt nice to stay at home, with a cheesy story and the mulled wine, relaxing when outside the weather is freezing. Even right now I am wearing the pink robe, I am madly in love with it.

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My hometown is a small one, from the northeastern part of the country, where usually during winter we have lots of snow and my personal nightmare, ice. Wearing hills is out of the question and since I am a fan of comfort with a passion for the urban style, I made a purchase that (duh) lead to some more shopping, a pair of Timberland’s boots, an oversized sweater and a pair of boyfriends jeans. I know the style is not for everyone, and some of you will never approve of such an outfit, I have to say that it fits me perfectly, it was even my outfit for the New Year’s Eve stay at home party. Leaving the joke side, if you are looking for a pair of boots for the winter, search no more, the Timberland’s classic’s are so comfy and stylish.

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The last items from my favorite list were partly bought by me, part was given to me as a new house gift. I will start with the ones that I received from my best friend, an amazing house spray with Gingerbread from Zara Home and a Christmas cookie box that really made my home look stylish and smell amazing. As for what I purchased myself, well the list includes a fluffy white blanket, 2 pillows, also fluffy and a wooden tray.

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December was all about investing in me and in my comfort, after a crazy year filled with a lot of drama and stress at work, I finally managed to break free from the chains of responsibility and learn to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate, a good story and some comfy clothes. It worked wonders for me, how was December on your end?

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Ignorance is Bless?

During the holiday season, I have my annually gatherings with family and friends, we all share experiences and ideas. One that really got my attention this year, was whether I watch the news or not? I was surprised by the fact that I was among the few that didn’t like to be informed by the daily struggle of the world and that didn’t want to know the true colors of the environment that I live in. But is that such a bad thing? Is my ignorance a bless or is it possible that I am denying what is going around me?

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As a kid my parents told me that there is a lot of pain and misery in the world, that life is not fair and sometimes innocent beings get hurt. As I grow up I realized that is very true, that each day we come across a lot of suffering, there are times when we can do something to help other times we are powerless. I was educated to try to help and to make a difference when possible, but also to let it go and walk away when it’s outside my power.

What does this have to do with watching the news? Well, we get to see, hear or read about horrible things, about murders, tragedies, financial problems, economic distress, insecure places, tourists that were killed in vacation, discrimination, massive shootings, and so many other “extremely important” news, that we cannot change. Furthermore, we are told that we should always be informed about what is going on all around the world because let’s face it, information is power. But is all information useful? Or even correct?

It’s been a long time since I last followed the news, but each time I stumble upon them I get anxious, it’s as if all the good from the world disappeared and that Earth is a dangerous place to live. Thing is, if I close the TV and look around the landscape changes, there are people helping each other, there are major breakthroughs every day, I see people surviving fatal diseases and, the most important, I see hope.

As I stood in front of my family that explained to me the importance of knowing about the atrocities of the world I am living in, I realized that it was them who shirked their world to the size of their own heads. They are living in fear of not making the news in the days to come, of not getting robbed by the government or of not being prepared in case of apocalypse stroke us.

In the case of the news that is distributed to us, ignorance is indeed a blessing, frighten people are the easiest to persuade. Someone who is too afraid to leave the country will never be able to switch places, someone who is constantly afraid that will lose his job, will never leave an abusive employer and so on. Even if, at times, the Earth looks like an unsafe place, keep in mind that what is presented to you in the news is the exception from the rule.

As for the really important news, those ones will always have a way of reaching us, I do follow a couple of important, independent and most important, correct sources so that I can filter among the b*llshit from the media. Also, I stand by my choice of worry about the things I can impact, the others are outside my reach, so why bother? If it is to happen to me, I will much rather live my life at the fullest instead of living in fear and staying looked out. The worst prisons are the ones that we build in our own minds!

New Year’s Resolution, To Do It Or Not To Do It?

Don’t know about you guys, but in the last few days, my social media was filled with reasons not to make a resolution list since I will not stick to it and only make me more frustrated. If the serious articles didn’t find a way to get into your feed, the memes with “New year same me” definitely did and I am honestly not sure why is everyone all of the sudden against the list and shaming those who do it.

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A few years back the latest trend was to write the infamous list and even post it so that everyone can see what an organized and ambitious person you are. But as every trend, it faded with time and now people are rebelling against it, calling it stupid and even harmful. Not long after the study’s appeared, some scientists proved that it is not useful at all to have that list, most likely the ones that suggested the list in the first place, but let’s skip that part.

So what is wrong with making a list? What is wrong with creating a plan for the following year? Why is it so wrong to think that the new year can be a new beginning? I am list fan in my day to day activities. When I get to the office I make a list of the things I need to do in the day and I try to prioritize them. As I scratch every item from it, I know where I stand with my workload, if I need to postpone some deadlines or if I am ahead of schedule. It’s always been like this for me and, honestly, love it. Before the list I was a mess, always forgetting things, starting the tasks randomly or even worst, postponing the most important ones, skipping deadlines without even knowing and getting my team in trouble. Nowadays I even have a shopping list, since know I need to remember everything, I have a list of items to put in my luggage when traveling, I have a list of people I need to get gifts for and I have a list of things I need to work on in the current year.

Ever since 2012 I write the resolution for the new year in the same notebook, I saw my desires change and myself grow-up. If in 2012 all I wanted was an iPhone and a job, now I am wishing for living a happy and healthy life. I changed and so did my resolution list, but having it all written down reminds me of who I was and who I’ve become in the last 7 years. And no, I don’t do it to make because all my wishes come true, but that doesn’t mean I have to stop trying. In 2012 I wished to lose 10kg and I did, how? I worked out like crazy, went swimming 2 times a week and went to the gym other 2 times. So it is possible and it did happen in the new year.

For me, the new year will always be a new beginning, a new cycle, just as nature has its seasons, we have ours. I love the idea of starting fresh and I do it every January, furthermore, I don’t get upset if I quit after one month, means I didn’t want that so much to struggle and work for it. Instead of blaming the lists, we should all think of ways we can make or dreams come true, living the life we want and deserve is there, we just have to sweat for it, nothing great ever came easily.

My Wish List for the New Year

With 2018 ended, it’s time for the traditional list of to do’s for 2019. A tradition that I started since 2012, was to write down all my wishes for the upcoming year and to check it only at the end of the next year. So here are a couple of the items that will go on my list in case you needed some inspiration for yours.

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Investing in health

With my 29th birthday around the corner I want to invest as much as possible in my health. Exercising regularly, eating healthier food, meditating and doing all the medical check-ups are all on my list since the health is the most important asset that one can have. Even if in the past I was not very strict on this area, I want to make a change in the upcoming year when I wish to say bye bye to junk food and skipping the workout day. 2019 is the year to get back in shape.

Me time

Sometimes I have the tendency to put everyone else’s needs before mine and I try to please everyone. That behavior has to stop and I am planning on being more self centered next year, even if I have to say no to someone else. Friends will understand and fake friends will disappear, so a win win situation for me.

More time spent with my boyfriend and my pets

With everything that has been going on in 2018, the time spent with my family of 4 (me, my boyfriend and my 2 cats) has decreased a lot. Having 2 jobs and a blog made me a workaholic that forgot to breath and relax. I plan on setting some ground rules when it comes to work in the following year so that I can enjoy as much time as possible with the most important beings from my life.

Time for reading, painting, writing and Netflix

Doing the things I love the most is saving me from burnout and I plan on investing all the free time in them. Since the new apartment will accommodate a library, a place to paint by the window, my cozy bin bag and since I just made my first subscription to Netflix you can image how anxious I am to make the most of all of them. As for writing, I want to keep my rule of at least one article a week up.

Travel the world  

Traveling is extremely important to me and I have no desire to slow down onto this area, even if the list is not yet set, I am  hopping that I will conquer some more ground in the next months. Whether it will be the crazy city of Tokyo, the old fashioned Havana or the most beautiful place on Earth for me, the New York City, I am sure 2019 will bring some great experiences with it.

‘PM’ me I am ready!

No, I am not talking about private messaging, but about Project Management, a role that I have been dreaming and working my a*s of for the last 3 years is about to be offered to me. Both excited and frightened by it, I cannot wait for this new chapter to begin. If this will be a perfect fit for me or not, I am not sure, but I will definitely find out in the months to come.

Don’t know for you guys, but for me laying on a paper all the plans that I have for the following year has worked great. I am not a believer in “New Year, new me” but in “New year, better me”, so on each 1st of January I write down my wishes and for the rest of the 364 or 365 days I work on those wishes, some will come true, other won’t, some will make me happier others will make me realize that I have to sacrifice to much to make them true. It’s a new begging so cheers to that! Hope you guys will make yourselves a great new year, you deserve it!

2018 In Review

As we are almost leaving another year in the past is time to be grateful for all the memories of 2018. A year that for me was a crazy one, filled with adventures, huge decisions and important life lessons, all in all a great year that I am happy that I got to share you all of you.

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A year of great travel experiences

In 2018 I got the chance to check a lot of the places from my wish list, such as Thailand ( Krabi, Phi Phi Island, Bangkok), Qatar (Doha), Spain ( Barcelona and Malaga), USA (Chicago), Austria ( Vienna), Malta (Valletta, Gozo, Sliema). With a new personal record of 22 flights I feel like this year was truly a great one. Hope this record will be topped in the years to come.

The festival experience

Since 2 of the most important festivals from Europe are near Cluj-Napoca this year I checked both Electric Castle and Untold. Amazing time, with amazing people at a great place surrounded by electronic and live music. What more can I ask? Hope to see you all next year!

Work Work Work

Even if it might not sound as great at you might thing, I am grateful for the job I have and the team that I am part of. Of course there are many days when I just don’t want to go to the office, I also have some great accomplishments that make me ask for more. Same goes for my job as a freelancer that makes me learn and earn even more.

Writing as a passion

Even if I didn’t manage to invest as much time and energy as I wanted in the blog, I am still happy that I got the chance to still post an article every week. With the list of traveling articles getting larger, with a new series Month’s Favorite launched in December, with personal articles in Thoughts and Journal, but also with featuring a few pieces on Thought Catalog, I feel like BitterSweet will grow even more in the following period. The list of things to do in this area got even bigger for next year, so stay tuned, you will be hearing more from me.

Expressing myself through art

I have to say I wanted to brag about this area more this year, but unfortunately I will not be able, with only a dozen books read and 2 acrylic paintings it’s hard to do so. I am really looking forward to get back in shape next year since I will not let this part of my life be lost.

Shopping is my passion

This year I made the biggest purchase from my entire life and that is my apartment, it was a difficult and bumpy process that I am glad it is over. Now I finally settled down and call a place my own. Whether this means that I will never leave Romania I cannot say, but at least for now, I am happy in the beautiful city of Cluj-Napoca.

A couple of worthy mentions on this topic, even it these are clearly not as impressive as the previews one is the amazing new MacBook Pro that I got last month and the 2 bags that I wished for a while from Ted Backer and Kate Spade. These really completed my collection (for now, of course).

Relationship

As wine, I am happy to see that my relationship is also getting better and better. With less drama and more confidence in one another, I am so happy that I found in my partner the friend that I needed the most, the traveler that I will always have by my side, the rock solid ground when I am in trouble, the man that stands by me when I need him to and the person to set limits when I forget to do so. It’s great to have someone as crazy as myself on the road trip called life.

For me 2018 was a great year that thought me so much more about myself, I grown so much as a woman and as an adult. I am very happy and proud of what I have accomplished even if I know there are so much more that I want to do in the years to come. But enough for now, since today is all about remembering the past year and the great experiences. Hope your year was just as good, see you in 2019!

Happy New Year, everyone!

Book Review: One Day in December by Josie Silver

Since it’s that time of the year, what better book to read than a cheesy Christmas love story? Accompanied by a cup of mulled wine, a cozy blanket and the smell of the Christmas tree I give you the best recipe for a night at home in December.

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The story describes 9 years from the life of Laurie and Jack, two people that briefly saw each other for a few seconds in December 2008, when she was on the bus and he was reading in the station. They both stared at each other, but she didn’t get off the bus and he never got on it, leaving them both with regret.

For a whole year Laurie, helped by Sarah, her best friend and roommate, tried to find the mysterious boy, with no success. Until one day when Sarah introduces her new boyfriend, Jack, with whom she is madly in love. Laurie recognizes Jack but realizes that she cannot say anything to destroy their happiness and so her struggle with the feelings she has for him begins.

The book will follow them in the next years while both Jack and Laurie go on with their lives, switch jobs, go through family drama or accidents, Laurie marries a different man. They even share a kiss on a snowy day but decide never to mention it, since that will hurt Sarah. I will not spoil the ending of the book, but as you have probably guessed it’s a happy one.

The book and the story is not a piece of art but is easy to read and at least for me, kept me glued to the sofa wanting to get to the end. I am not sure how is it for the rest of you, but for me reading a simple and romantic book during Christmas time is exactly what I need. Romance is definitely not dead while we still have these stories.

Home Sweet Home

For a while now I had my mind set to buying an apartment in my current home city Cluj Napoca and even if the market was against me this year, I finally managed to find and seal the deal on an amazing place that I fell for from the first moment I saw it.

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Buying a home is a huge decision and I tried to avoid it until now, when I felt that purchasing a place of my own might be a good decision and a great investment. As everywhere around the globe, the market was pretty high in the past years, but I really wanted a bigger place but didn’t want to pay a huge rent, so I started to look for something to fit my needs.

From the beginning I had my eyes on a one bedroom apartment with a big living area, fully furnished, with a nice terrace and a good location within the city. Another important item was to have a parking space, unfortunately this apartment didn’t came with one, but I am hopping I can purchase one from one of my neighbors in the future, happily the other points were checked and the bank agreed to give me the loan and therefore I became a land lord.

Upgrading to a bigger apartment was a great decision, now I have enough storage space, not to mention 2 huge closets, even my cats are happier with a larger space to play. Having a separate kitchen was not on my list, since I also like the open space set-up, but now that I have it like this, I have to say it’s great, we have a place to eat that is not in the living area, and some extra points for not having the food smell spread around the house.

Have to say that the regular wishes, like owning a house and a car, were never for me, I was more of a person that dreams about going around the world and doing some extreme shopping. So I never invested much on the place I lived, always thought it has to be practical and should not cost a fortune, since the Instagram set-up can easily be done with some IKEA furniture, but I have to admit that having your space feels great and wanting to make that place home is more intense than ever.

As days go by I have to say that I am happier and happier with my choice, although I still don’t what a house to limit me. My plan is still to focus on traveling the world, but to also try to pay the loan faster, how well these 2 plans will go together, I cannot say, but “I will think about it tomorrow, when I am at Tara“.