Things Organized Neatly: A Bit Obsessive, A Bit Compulsive

Yes, I admit. I’m slightly obsessive compulsive. I have weird habits. I’m excessively meticulous and perfectionistic. I can’t stand disorganized places. Everything must be neat. My books should be put aligned. The decorative objects in my living room have their own places – and that does NOT change. I need to make my bed before going to work, unpack the minute I come back from a trip.. because I truly dislike coming back into a disorganized apartment. Inside my fridge is always organized. Inside my suitcase is always like a wardrobe. Symptoms of obsessive-compulsive behavior include excessive cleaning, repeated checking and aversion to particular numbers. Guess what?! I’ve got them all.

If you’re slightly like me – and would like to feel better – here’s another one of us! Things Organized Neatly is one of my fave blogs lately. Not only it makes me feel better – but it also gives me some dangerous inspiration!


The Summer Daydream

I’ve been MIA lately – yes I know. Lack of inspiration on one hand, overwhelming workload and the past few busy weeks on the other.. I couldn’t contribute much to this blog lately. Been feeling a bit uninspired – not sure why this is happening but this spring/summer has turned out to be an interesting mood lately. Ups and downs.

Yet with a few days off from work, and some quality time spent in New York / Chicago.. Ladies and Gents, we’re back on!

Have a great summer wherever you are. Enjoy the sun, the sea. Try to create those tiny moments that you will remember – a nice sunset, a delightful glass of wine, the summer breeze.. Take good care of yourselves – and keep in touch!

Much love –


Did he, or didn’t he? Will she, or won’t she?

I’ve been meaning to watch Last Night since the day I’ve seen its trailer. Yes it took me some time to watch it, but even more time to write about it – procrastination meets lack of inspiration . Although the movie itself takes around 90 minutes – I’ve spent at least another 90 minutes to give it a thought.

Michael and Joanna, once college sweethearts and now a married couple that live in NYC, attend an event hosted by Michael’s firm. Takes seconds for Joanna to notice Laura,  the stunningly attractive colleague whom Michael never mentioned, and her attraction to him. The next morning, Michael goes away with Laura on a business trip. The same morning, Joanna, the questioning wife, runs into an old – but never quite forgotten – love, Alex and agrees to have drinks with him before he returns back to Paris. As the night progresses and tempation increases, each couple must confront who they are when they are together and when they are apart.  Where will temptation take them? Did he do it – or didn’t he? Will she do it – or won’t she?

Last Night is a thoughtful approach to relationships. It’s a film about choices – the choice you make to be with someone. It’s real – and it’s natural. These characters could have been anybody you or I know. The situation in which they found themselves could have happened to you, to me or anybody else we know. It’s a tale of fidelity and infidelity  – and deals with very real questions that have concerned almost every couple at one point or another.

On one hand, there is a man cheating on his wife – mostly physical attraction to “that other women”. Yet on the other one, you see a women still feeling something for an old love – whom she thinks of everytime things go wrong or everytime she can’t sleep. It really is emotionally draining to watch events unfold between these individuals. Made me think at some point which is worse.. having an affair purely physical? or realizing you love somebody else while you’re married? In case of physical impulses, is it more likely to disappear? Do you forget as time goes by? But the moment you realize you love someone else, can you go back home and simply pick up where you left off?

At the beginning of the movie, I really wanted Michael and Joanna to work things out. But then Joanna seemed a better fit with Alex so I wanted things to happen between Michael and Laura. Why did I think that way? Is it fair if both of them cheat? If something happens between Michael and Laura, is it then legit that Joanna gets back to Alex? I wanted both relationships to win – but they simply cannot. Needs to end one way or another – and either way, it was going to end badly.

How much time does it take to trust someone? How do we know if we trust the other person enough in a relationship? The frustrations and questions that arise while the relationship is being built at the beginning.. a whole lot more arise once it settles down. How about marriage – how do you balance it? The temptation for infidelity – does it happen to everyone? Once it does, does it go away?

Go figure.

Be a Rainbow in Someone Else’s Cloud

I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life. I’ve learned that making a “living” is not the same thing as making a “life.” I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one. I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

Maya Angelou

The Up! House That Really Flies

If I told you it’d only take 300 helium-filled balloons to turn imagination into reality.. would you believe it?

National Geographic put together a team of scientists, engineers and two balloon pilots to launch a 16′ X 16′ house with weather balloons from a private airfield east of Los Angeles. The Up! house reached 10,000 feet and flew for about one hour. The filming will be part of a new NatGeo series called How Hard Can it Be?, to be premiered in fall 2011. 

Surely this 16-by-16 house is not a real house – but who cares? It is a house that flies for real! It is the Up! house! So if you want to avoid going somewhere and want to be really inaccessible.. this would be great. If you’re feeling blue.. or simply if you want to spare some time for yourself.. Or how about staying in on a Saturday evening with friends.. with a nice movie and a glass of wine. But wait – you can also stay Up!

Dream people, dream big. 

And the O-O-Oscar Goes To… The K-K-King’s..

I traded my Sunday night sleep for the Academy Awards last night. Not quite sure whether it was worth it, the night had both goods and bads. Frankly, I had higher expectations. 

To begin with, the red carpet was OK – I don’t think there was anything out of the ordinary. My favorites were Jennifer Lawrence, Michelle Williams, Cate Blanchette and Camilla Alves. What a beauty! Especially Camilla Alves in a fascinating black gown by Kaufman Franco, and Jennifer Lawrence in a breathtaking Calvin Klein by Francisco Costa. Seemed like simplicity won over haute couture this year.


Anne Hathaway and James Franco.. are among the people who are not supposed to host the Academy Awards. Simple as that. Although I was very excited to see Franco – and in between the lines, one of the main reasons why I was up till so late was to watch him – I thought it was one of the dullest Oscar hostings I’ve watched in a long long time. There seemed to be no chemistry between the two of them. Hathaway was too giggly – wooted every single actor/actress she introduced like an obsessed 16-year-old-Backstreet-Boys-fan. Franco, on the other hand, gave almost no emotion. Was he bored or what? Anne and James tried but fell short – to such extent that when they brought Billy Crystal on stage, I wished he it took over!

Loved Kirk Douglas and his humor (which didn’t seem as pre-written as all other presentors) – who just turned 94 and presented the supporting actress. Colin Firth was stunning, very charismatic and his geniune smile made me even a stronger supporter. Christian Bale – it was great to hear him speak with a normal accent. No need to mention, there was a Hugh Jackman lovefest in the air – I had a tough time understanding why there were so many references to him when he wasn’t even nominated.

On the awards side, most of my predictions were in line with the final pick of 6000 Academy members who voted throughout this process. The King’s Speech was certainly predicted to sweep the awards. Colin Firth got best actor – which I thought he truly deserved for that stunning performance. Christian Bale, who portrayed a completely different persona in the Fighter, got supporting actor. Natalie Portman well deserved the Oscar for best actress, and Melissa Leo for the supporting one. Only for documentary, I wished Exit through the Giftshop won. Not that Inside Job wasn’t interesting, on the contrary, the documentary about the causes and consequences of the financial crisis of 2008 was pretty interesting/informative – but I found the whole idea of Exit through the Giftshop a much more interesting, a much more one of a kind one. For directing, I guess my theory of the Social Network victories leading up to a Fincher best director triumph proved wrong. I was also sad that Javier Bardem and Biutiful left with empty hands.

Re: best picture.. I’m a little confused what the most important criteria here is. It sure is a blend of producing, directing, acting and writing efforts – yet something must weigh a little heavier. Is it performance of actors/actresses? Is it originality of script? Is it whether it might wow you throughout a unique journey? According to stats, 47% of Best Picture winners up until today were in the drama category, while 11% was in historical/epic. King’s Speech was stunning, certainly. Great performance by Rush and Firth.. it was so human, it was so genuine.  It was almost impossible not to sympathize with the character. But Black Swan was another experience. It was a journey.. it was about moves, music, feelings, illusions, dreams, disappointments.. so I personally favored Black Swan as I saw it as a more artistic piece – yet my prediction was proved to be wrong.

While we’re at it, did you know.. ?

– The shortest Oscar ceremony ever was the first, held in 1929; it lasted only about 15 minutes as all the winners had been announced three months earlier.

– The famous golden statuette, formally named the Academy Award of Merit, got its more popular moniker “Oscar” when Academy librarian Margaret Herrick said that it resembled her Uncle Oscar. Before this name stuck, other people had tried to call it “the golden trophy,” “the statue of merit,” and “the iron man.”

– Until the 1950s, child actors who won the Oscars were given miniature statuettes instead.

– If you won an Oscar, the Academy wouldn’t just give it to you – you’d have to sign a winners agreement not to sell the award without first offering to sell it back to the Academy for $1. This makes sure that no award would be sold to private collectors.

– Sound technician Kevin O’Connell has earned 19 Oscar nominations over the years for his work on movies like The Rock, Pearl Harbor, and Spider-Man, but has never won – thus making him the biggest Oscar loser.

The L Word

Yet another Valentine’s Day. Candle-lit romantic dinner, some fine wine, tasty Valentine’s Day specials, flowers, “I Love You”s, chocolate covered strawberries, games for lovers, lingerie, couples massage treats, indulgence kits, fluffy teddy bears, giant red hearts… It’s all about red, red and red.

Don’t get me wrong.. I have nothing against love, affection, showing appreciation for those you care about, romance or whatever you’d like to call it. I’m just not a fan of doing it because it’s Valentine’s Day. I’d rather to do so because I’d like to put a smile on his face, because I saw something that made me think of him.. because he deserves it, or simply because I wanted to do it. That said, the market does get hit with an awful lot more romantic gift options this time of year. If you need to get one of those to make today a special day, better hurry now.

Happy Valentine’s everybody. Remember, you don’t need teddy bears, flowers, night outs or fancy gifts – all you need is love.

On another note, take a quick look at Sinanation’s Valentine’s entry: Let’s Abuse Romantic. It’s a win.

Looking Back, Moving Forward

Around New Year time, most of us look back at the previous year and start making a list of resolutions for the coming one. Are you one of those? Did you review 2010 and decided to make a change in your life in 2011? I want to speak only for myself  – yet something inside me confirms that many of you feel the same. Those resolutions/decisions for change do not unfortunately last long. Some promise to quit smoking, others to cut back on alcohol/caffeine. Some say they’ll start going to the gym regularly, others say they’ll lose weight. This set of new decisions – in addition to physical ones – also includes emotional changes – which in most cases contribute more to overall hapiness. Such decisons might range from promising oneself to stop speaking to people that hurt us, to giving somebody new a chance… from deciding to not give as much without receiving back, to stop hoping/wishing for something one cannot have.

New Year Resolutions. I’m definitely not a fan. I don’t make these decisons because I know I never stick to them. According to an article sent by a dear friend (written by a psychologist – which honestly inspired me for this blog entry), 22% of people who take such decisions give up during the first week of the year, while 40% quit at the end of the first month and 60% at the end of three months. So why do we give up so quickly and easily if we are in desperate need of such change? Why does the feeling suddenly fade away? According to the same article, because we choose short-term pleasure over long run happiness/well-being. YES! EXACTLY! Because when we want to lose weight, we don’t want it to be healthier or one size smaller.. we want it because we want to fit in THAT dress, look good in THAT bikini. So once we wear that dress or that bikini, we’re not motivated anymore. The task is accomplished.  The article also argues that a very common mistake we do is to set goals that are open-ended and not specific enough. Abstract goals, it argues, ruins our plans instead of taking us to our target. It’s much more efficient to say “I will lose 3 kilos until 1 June” than saying “I will pay more attention to my weight”.

Although I don’t make a list of such resolutions, neverthless for the first time this year, I gave it a thought and reviewed 2010. Some things I regret, others I wish did not happen.. Anything I can do now? Pretty much nothing. Anything I would like to do now? To stop looking back and move forward. I learned a lot this year.. I learned to not trust everybody – because not everything everybody says is true. I learned not to push somebody for something they do not desire – because at the end, it won’t happen; even if it does, it won’t be how you want it to be. I learned to value friends a lot (even more than ever before) – because at the end of the day, they are the ones that guide you through finding your own happiness. I learned not to sit silent when something that needs your reaction is happening out there. I learned there are times when you have to say someone that they make you upset. I learned that leaving some people out of your life, although painful at first, will make you get a good night sleep after a while. And many more..

I honestly am not sure what the best way to succeed in executing these decisions is – according to the stats above, the fourth day of the year is still too early to see how it’ll go. But I will give you a hint I recently discovered. Will that slight change make you smile? Will that make you happy? Will that make you love yourself? Yes? So what are you waiting for? Work on it. Here! And now! Only when something makes you smile, somebody else will smile at you. Do it. And do it only for you.

How about you – do you have anything you’d like to change in your life? Did you ever give that a thought? Do you believe they’re almost impossible to achieve? Isn’t it still worth a shot?

I’d like to offer you a goal for the coming year: happiness.

Remember, being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. It means that you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.

Happy New Year all!