Author Archives: Oxana Gutu

Thank you, Riga!

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It was amazing to experience you the second time in my life. I was ten during my first visit. The Dome looked gigantic and the streets and roofs seemed from Anderson’s stories back then.

So, thank you today, for

your sunny self and rays of sun on your walls

a gentle intro into winter,

the youth creative spirit on your probably most visited spot

amazing dinner at 3 Pavaru in good company. This place is special:

the open kitchen in the middle of the restaurant;

the coolest waiter who knows his job so well that he anticipated all my wants and needs (food-wise, if other ideas get into your minds),

a surprising entree on the house,

the finishing touches the chef magically handles right under your nose,

a blend of flavours and tastes that takes you to the world of wonders

And, most importantly, thank you for very efficient, committed and generous partners, a pleasure to work with.

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A manual for cleaning women: selected stories by Lucia Berlin

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It is my first experience with Berlin. It will be memorable. I would read a line, then close the book and savor the words and the feelings they bring. A smile in the corner of the mouth. A raised brow. A look into the sky. A chin bending to my heart. Anger. Peace. Wonder. A sense of lost and found.

I found Berlin’s writing multi layered and pluri dimensional. I felt puzzled and pissed off at the same time but not in a dismissing way. It enflamed the curiosity to continue reading through the 400 pages of the Manual. I read them her life’s stories told by other characters and a manual for letting go of the past or cleaning, if you wish.

Truths that will change the way you see yourself – re-post

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A beautiful piece by Marc and Angel: ” a short excerpt from our New York Times bestselling book, Getting Back to Happy: Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Reality, and Turn Your Trials into Triumphs:

“In the end, all the small things make a big difference.  Every step is crucial.  Life isn’t about a single moment of great triumph and attainment.  It’s about the trials and errors that slowly get you there—the blood, sweat, tears, and the small, inconsequential things you do on a day-to-day… All of this has strengthened you.  All of this has led you to every success you’ve ever had.  All of this has made you who you are today.  And all of this proves that you have the strength to deal with the challenges in front of you.”

http://www.marcandangel.com/2018/09/16/10-truths-that-will-change-the-way-you-see-yourself-today/

Back to school. Oh dear

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The School year restarted. So did a myriad of complaints. Parents complaints. And then we are surprised kids complain. And by the way “they have no reason to complain”, the parents say in one voice.

After hearing so many parents complain, I remembered about the wonderful book What All Children Want Their Parents to know: 12 Keys to raising a Happy Child by Diana Loomans. One these keys is “Leave your Values”.book

If there would be a championship of complaining, I would probably also get a prize, if not a medal of some sort. It is so much easier to complain then to acknowledge and appreciate for the human brain. We still can:

Appreciate that kids can go to school (I’ll not bring in the numbers of children around the world who do not attend school as they become family providers very early in life).

Acknowledge that a person invested in career of a school teacher, which is fun, if you are high everyday.

Appreciate the neural connections that form in the child’s brain, even if we know the mantra “the school prepares the kids for the jobs of yesterday and not tomorrow”.

Acknowledge your kid’s efforts and aspirations, struggles and successes, friendships and relationships ups and downs, etc.

Appreciate your role as a parent, who lives his/her values.

Acknowledge that school is important, but more important and life lasting is your relationship with your child, when the results on the evaluation sheets perhaps do not meet your expectations.

And have a slice of cake, or two, together to celebrate every school week 🙂 It works like magic.

A birthday experience: cakes and more.

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For my birthday this year I wanted a new family experience around something we all love. And that is easy to choose. We are all into cakes and making a cake by learning from a French pâtissier in France sounded just right.

I chose Atelier de Yann in Colmar, Alsace. It is a multi concept store: boutique factory, tea time, ateliers de patisserie, opened in 2015 by Yann Navarro, maitre pâtissier, chocolatier. And it was a perfect choice. The first word which came to my mind to describe this place and the service is i m p e c a b l e from the registration to the class to the unboxing of the products of our hands at home. I am very happy to note how client-oriented are the owner and staff, something of a gem in France. I notice it when I encounter it. I am grateful that they adapted to the presence of my kid, in a workshop otherwise designed for adults. In fairness, she has better self-management and dexterity than many adults I know.

The class was conducted by Yann, the owner of the place. We navigated through the stages of the Succès Pistache & Framboises, under his patient and humble guidance. We all felt at ease with maneuvering, matching and spoiling, tasting and mixing, taste and quantity balancing, regardless of the age and level of baking skills. Now the pastry bag has no more secrets from me. I also loved that we could each manifest our own creativity at the decorating stage without being bound by French pastry rigors. And there are many.

We left with a sense of great satisfaction as all our questions were answered with the clarity of a great master and the generosity of the host manifested tiny yet significant details of the true hospitality.

It inspired us to share the experience with friends over a cup of coffee. No that we could not devour the three cakes at once.

We will no doubt come back for more and warmly recommend this temple of nurturing the love for French pastry, with our best wishes of success and prosperity to Yann and his team! If I would award Michelin stars, one would certainly go to Atelier de Yann.

Meaningful souvenirs

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Meaningful souvenirs

Bringing staff from trips is tempting. Money is easier spent on vacation. A new item brings into the house the need for space and care. Only thinking about dusting off all those trinkets on shelfs makes me tired. And there is not so much space on the fridge for new magnets. If it is not integrated into your kitchen furniture.

In Amsterdam I discovered a new kind of souvenir – make your own mug. It is proposed by Heinen Delfts Blauw, the ceramics maker.

It brought a new experience of coloring it together with my kid: discussing the colors choices, dividing the work, waiting for the final result while it is in the oven, sharing the first sips of water, … And that is what I call souvenirs.