the oscars; my nominees for stunning

the stunning face and hair

the stunning face and hair

the stunning gown

the stunning gown

stunning earrings

stunning earrings

the above all come from UK’s Telegraph

one more view of how perfect this make up looks

one more view of how perfect this make up looks

this last photo is from Oscar’s official site

My general impression was that no one wowed me:( The above three wowed me in the details I mentioned, whereas I prefer the overall effect to be breathtaking, rather than just admiring an element of the whole. I thought Hollywood stars had the power of almost always triumphing in the overall effect; the one when you are so impressed you don’t know where to settle your sight, you admire all over and every time you rescan the photo you discover something new and slowly, only bit by bit, the details come to focus and you can verbalise what it was that made you love their look.

I’m no critic, just a fan with a right to be overwhelmed or disappointed and I sadly confirm, these Oscars no one gave me the above described impression. I did like very much the face and coif of Kate Winslet. When I’d look at just her head I would have precisely that effect of being so under the impression of perfection that I’d not know for a long while what exactly it was that impressed me so much.

The dress of Marisa Tomei is just occasion perfect, plus shows little or no signs of belonging to an era and there’s just something about timeless looking pieces.

Heidi Klum’s earrings perhaps would never be an item of jewellery I would pick out to wear, both for style (a little too long for me) and practicality (seem way too heavy to be comfortable), but they have my favourite earring motive – floral, plus my favourite earring shape  – large but neither round or loose hanging, close to the face and motionless. Although, with the earring I could put my finger on what I liked straight away, without having to rescan in admiration, they still fit into the category of stunning and perfect in their own overallness.

Lastly, I wish I could say more about my icon Sarah Jessica Parker, but I have 4 comments which are rather weak. She might have worn a Dior gown and it might have even fitted her perfectly, but I did not experience the usual awe effect I do when I see her all made up. Secondly there was an unbelievable resemblance to Madonna, who is another lady I am usually so fond of in terms of style and fashion, yet the resemblance did not make me admire the overall effect as if it were two perfections (SJP and Madonna) combined into one. Strange. Furthermore, I very much liked the fact that she had her natural hair colour (even if it was dyed to look natural) as a while ago I have also cut of all my blond (whether salon or sun lightened) and subconsciously I feel a bond and liking with all women whom I suspect are sporting their natural dark blond. Nevertheless I did not find myself overwhelmed with the effect this natural hair colour was giving SJP. Why? Lastly, I’m uncertain as to how much my stance on the topic is final, but I’ll just say it anyway. I’m not sure how much I disliked what the corset of the gown did to her chest. I’m pretty sure she has not had breast augmentation yet this is what the tight bodice made her breast to look like; not in the sense of larger, but in the sense of lacking natural bubbliness, they looked stiff and unnaturally round and hard. I think I’ve gone too far in criticizing a lady I really admire so much, so I will rest here, perhaps by adding that regardless of these observations I still think she is amazing:)

SJP did not make it to my sunning nominees

SJP did not make it to my stunning nominees

this last also comes from UK’s Telegraph

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why it’s good to make an effort at what you look like even if you’re going nowhere

snow in trees

I was thinking for a while what would be the best angle for this post. The title says one thing, the pictures another and what I really want to write about is a whole different story. At first I intended to write about tłusty czwartek, which is a Polish Christian tradition similar to the much better recognised Mardi Gras, yet falling on a Thursday and less related to partying.  This was the plan when that’s all there was to today, just a Polish fat Thursday.

As the day was beautiful, sunny and with a clean, fresh snow cover, (even in the centre of Warsaw) I thought I’d additionally show some of the pretty sites I came across today. But then something happened and changed my idea. A stranger on the street and his comment; a half a minute lasting exchange of words. It made my already happy day (I’m always happy when it’s sunny and snowy) even more happy. I guess the winter scenery, the pretty Warsaw sites and the occasion of our peculiar ‘fat Thursday’ are now just the background for what I will write about. The background would have been substantial enough for a post, but will remain just that, an unrelated, coincidental background.

śnieg na Racławickiej

I had to run some errands at midday and was supposed to buy pączki, the special sweets we Poles eat all year round, but precisely on Fat Thursday, we go crazy queueing for hours to buy.  They are round dough cakes filled with jam (my favourite is the very aromatic rose jam), deep fried in oil, dipped in icing and sprinkled with caramelised lemon skin.

Rondo de Gaulle'a

ulica Foksal

The place I had to go was nowhere close to any of the renown Blikle stores and I wasn’t sure which one of them I’d drive to. As it was sunny and I had taken my camera with me I decided to go to the most famous one, right in the centre of town, to take more pictures of this area and where I hoped no one else would have decided to go, thinking precisely that the most central location would be flocked with people. Difficult to say if I was right or wrong; there was a crowd and the queue was even outside the entrance, but the staff had organised the flow of work very efficiently and the queue moved extremely smoothly. Plus I was busy looking for good angles to photograph inside and out. Most importantly, queueing, thus spending more time there, placed me at the right place at the right time, which I would have missed, had there been no queue.

śnieg na chodniku

Blikle z bramy na przeciwko

Once I had received my box of pączki and made my way through the crowd of newly arrived people who were joining the line on the sidewalk, all I needed to do was walk back to the car. I was busy closing my purse and realised there was a man speaking behind me, on my 8 o’clock. I had my eyes on the zipper of the bag and was therefore looking somewhat his direction but had no idea he was speaking to me. Not sure why but I raised my head at him and realised he was looking at me – although it could have been a misinterpretation on my side, he wasn’t acknowledging my raised head, as if I had been listening and looking before, or as if I had known he was speaking to me. His tone didn’t change, he just kept on talking, but nothing in his body language expect for a very normal smile implied he wanted my attention. He wasn’t trying to call out to me in any way, he was even speeding up and as I finally realised I was the addressee he had actually overtaken me. To the point that when I was replying, he was slightly ahead of me.

kolejka po pączki w tłusty czwartek

pączki tłusty czwartek

If I had written already what it was he was saying, you could say that what made me raise my head was pure feminine vanity but I actually think it was the fact that no one was replying to what he was saying and I just looked up out of curiosity, almost by chance. His words were pronounced in a very matter-of-factly tone, not quietly, but he really made no effort to make me realise he was speaking to me, so I still don’t understand the whole dynamic. What he said was very kind, to the point, no exaggerated adjectives, just very polite compliments in a few lines, or rather just few words, as the whole thing lasted maybe 20 seconds; but he complimented me in at least 3 aspects. I’m trying very had to remember exactly what he said and I just can’t quote his words, it’s simply not coming to me. Maybe it’s still a state of shock.

I’ve been complimented by strangers before, but never like this. So maybe that’s why. He evidently did not want anything else except to let me know his opinion, he really rushed of ahead of me, leaving me smiling and stupefied. Had he said those words in a club or bar, beach or party, or had he hang around for a reaction, or made any other typical male-female-interactions movements or gestures, I would have interpreted them as a pick up line. But it really wasn’t. It was an innocent exchange of thoughts, very flattering and sweet though, but expressed so down-to-earthly, that he could have been saying to me: oh you dropped your glove, have a nice day.

pączki Blikle Nowy Świat

Why all this fuss over a stranger complementing me on the street? Maybe because it just doesn’t happen so often; and which lady doesn’t like to be told she looks good, appeals to someone or has impressed him in some way? Or maybe it was more the form it took; very casual, no hidden agendas, sincere, convincing and effective. I’ve been told ‘beautiful’ in so many ways not making me feel neither beautiful nor flattered that I really believe there’s a right and a wrong way to do it.

I didn’t need more events to make my day, I was really already happy with the weather alone and with being in Warsaw. This incident though would have unquestionably made my day, if the weather was disgusting, if I were in my least favourite place and if I had just heard bad news. Maybe having this happen too often would not be so great, maybe it would take the surprise and charm out of it. After all, whatever is rarer is more precious and more desired. So I would not want to hear this every day, but I would definitely encourage all guys to be this way, the act this way, to say these things, whenever they feel them. At least to try. I’m not sure if my stranger does it frequently and I don’t really think it matters – not to me. I have no way of knowing if he says it to all the women he passes on the street; something tells me he doesn’t. What I know for sure is that if more women would have these moments happen to them more often, there would be many more happy women around, and happier women treat guys better. This is my unexpected Fat Thursday conclusion, and I guess to some of you this explains the title of the post;)pączki tłusty czwartek

trasa WZ tunel

what a cool store – I love belgian desing:D

Completely by accident 2 days ago I walked past this fabulous store in Brussels called the topmouton. I had already bought most of my Christmas presents but couldn’t resist going in, as I just saw too many great objects on display. I was almost happy to see most of the prices to be so high haha, I would have otherwise been upset that I had already purchased my gifts elsewhere, as the things they had, and in such a small store surface, were ideal for all the family and friends I needed to get presents for!

I wish I had my camera on me and unfortunately I can’t seem to get any web pictures to attach, to show you how cool and inspiring the place was. If you ever are in Brussels near Grand Place, this is a store you have to go into. So many great a clean cut desing ideas for the kitchen, bathroom and digning room, some office objects as well. I loved it! Now that I look at the picture of the bread bag I am so upset I didn’t get it! But I did get somethign for my Mom I had long wanted to give her and couldn’t find:)

Big Brother at Warsaw metro

I was on my way from a traditional, 10th by now, Christmas eve with my university friends. It was past midnight, not that it should matter. At one of the stops we hear a man’s voice speaking over the loudspeaker – usually used only to announce emergency notices. He says something which only became understood after a movement of a passenger awaiting for a train on the platform: Please get up from that bench/Proszę się podnieść z tej ławki.

The passenger who reacted didn’t even seem to be laying down. Maybe he wasn’t sitting perfectly straight, but certainly did not look worrying, agresive, desruptive, abusive, violent, or any etc. He may have been tiered, maybe tiered after a beer, maybe after a long day of work, but not a homeless or drunk. Just a regular young guy, definately either a high school or university student, not a future looser. So why the Big Brother remark over the loudspeaker? haha?

how early is not too early for alcohol on a plane ?

I took a 9:55 plane this morning and a little less than an hour after take off we were served a breakfast. A few of the people around me ordered wine.

I think I’d be less surprised if they ordered vodka or whiskey, thinking maybe it’s fear or stress of flying, or I’d assume they’re flying in from another time zone (this being a subsequent flight and spirits helping them with jet lag), or I’d see them as addicted and simply needing hard liquor to start the day off right. But wine? why would you have wine with breakfast? and it’s not even any special wine you’d think who cares what time it I really would love to taste it; it’s wine they serve on a plane! I remain confused and bewildered.

Is it the I-need-to-get-the-full-value-of-my-ticket-which-comprises-alcohol?, or is it the it’s-for-free-I’ve-got-to-have-it need? Whatever it is, if it were a bar I wouldn’t notice, after all you go to a bar to have a drink. But on a plane?? at 10 ?

american hotel showers

This is probably too private for most people, but revealing it serves a purpose;) I like to end my showers with cold water. Authentically cold. It started probably 10 years ago during a ski holiday somewhere in Slovakia, where the cistern was not large enough for the amount of guests and whoever got a shower later then earlier got the colder water. Nothing worse then a cold shower after a long day of skiing in the cold. But towards the end of the holiday the few unfortunate times I was not among the first to shower I actually started liking the cold water. There was something very soothing about it. It was only a positive experience if first I got at least a few minutes of really nice hot water. That was the beginning of a daily routine. After I returned home I just could not have my showers any other way and it’s been like this ever since.

I grew so accustomed to the practice that I am completely unaware of practising it. I was until I started visiting American hotels. By American I guess I mean where the furnishing is American, ergo where the capital is American, or majority guest nationality; whatever the case, it is something I found only in this side of the Atlantic and not necessarily mainland USA.

I am an open mind, or at least I like to think of myself that way. I travelled a lot since little and still do, so I know not everything has to be the same and different places have their different ways. But the American hotel showers just drive my crazy. Who do I complain to? The issue is the shower knobs or shower dial, the whole system of picking your waters temperature and intensity.

Let me explain. In most European establishments you have 2 dials, one to regulate the amount of cold and one to regulate the amount of hot water.The more of whichever water you choose the stronger your flow. But if you choose very little of both temperatures, you can have your balanced mix at very low intensity; and if you choose a lot or maximum of both temperatures, you have a strong or maximum intensity. Basically you are the master of ceremonies. You decide.

standard European 2 knob

standard European 2 knob

I have also seen 2 faucets, each for each water, which I admit is not convenient and probably only present in very old hotels as a nice but impractical relict of the past. And I am not lobbying for these.

2 faucets - very bad solution according to me

Then there are systems which have 1 handle. Usually moving it right/left gives you different proportions of hot/cold water while moving away/towards you gives you different intensities of the selected by you desired proportion of hot/cold. This is simple to use even if you foam in your eyes, you can still arrive at your perfect temperature and intensity with one hand and closed eyes.

handles which move left/right and away/towards you

handles which move left/right to control temperature and away/towards you to control flow intensity

And there is the system I keep on encountering in American hotels. grr! This system has just one dial, which moves one way to turn water on, opposite to turn it off. Unfortunately the dial serves also as a temperature regulator. As you reach the maximum intensity of water you reach burning temperatures. As you turn back towards colder water the intensity of the flow turns to a drip. And when I reach my satisfactory cold temperature I no longer have a shower, I have a drop every 2 seconds:(

most uminaginative shower system

most unimaginative shower system

How come so little imagination for an activity so important, so daily and, I thought, so cherished in the US?

Absurdities in Poland again

Thanks to one of my Facebook contacts I found out about another court story in Poland. As the links I give can only be read by Polish speakers, I decided to do a short summary this time. Apparently one of Poland’s prominent politicians, one which is actually known and recognised abroad, I would even say, one which is liked abroad, said an unfunny joke in the presence of the wrong audience.

The joke was, according to me, just not amusing, maybe a little juvenile and, probably to most, politically incorrect. It supposedly begun with a question: Do you know that Obama has Polish roots?  The offensive, to some, reply was: his grandfather ate a Polish missionary.

Everyone has their level of sensitivity and their specific sense of humour, so whether you find it hilarious or not depends on so many factors such as age, nationality, upbringing, probably your political orientation, your knowledge of African and Polish history and most likely a few more. Nevertheless to any educated person, I am guessing, this joke comes across as not politically correct, bearing in mind the public figure who said it and the public figure it was about. I don’t see it as racist though. Which is what the Polish Minister is accused of. And I certainly don’t see it  as grounds for taking to court. Which is what certain politicans wish to see happen to the Minister. Poland are you bored???