happiness

How art helps to shape personal style series. Pointillism by a non-professional eye.

So how an artwork influences dressing sense and style? For me, it is first of all the interplay between harmony of colors. The artwork  provides amazing examples  f how crossing the limits can be interesting or not at all. Kind of a study material to deal with my reactions. Here I would like to discuss a specific example of an impressionist artwork that I enjoy. I choose impressionist Paul Signac`s work as a first painting to discuss because of bright colors that I adore.
Inspired by  Instagram posts from @denis_gardari,  I aim to pay more attention to how I observe paintings. In addition, I felt like clarifying a question about pointillism – what kind of style is this?
IMG_8650
So here is a work from Paul Signac “Golfe Juan” (1896) as an example of pointillistic style.  The painting is currently a part of a armament collection in Worcester art museum. The specifics about this particular painting is in different from classical Impressionism structure: the canvas is “framed “ by  bay and trees. This work was painted in the South of France, showing St Tropes in the opposite side of the bay.
Many of current SS18 collections present pink-green combination. However, no matter how naturally these two colors look in nature, it is hard to incorporate them in everyday personal style without going over-the-board. And by this I mean not the brightness of the colors but the fine borderline between a great taste and kitsch. I found this particular painting to be the gemstone that provides a guidance for a very tasteful combination of these colors that are expressed in painting but are taken from nature. If you take a closer look, you ll notice that the ratio between green and pink is far away from being 50:50. There are dark green shades that rather serve as a frame and add accent. I think, this would be a great example of how to blend green and pink into an outfit. Little accents of darker green are just enough.
Discussing this painting further, lets talk about pointillism and how it is related to impressionism. Pointillism was invented by French (any doubts about it?:)) impressionist George Seurat. Intriguingly, he studied a book that was written by a French chemist Eugène Chevreul, who worked on developing oils and dyes; Charles Henry and American  physicist Ogden Rood, who worked a lot on color theory. Interestingly, color theory at first was an idea of de Vinci 9 Circle: artist-scientist-artist?:)). Anyways, the work from scientists influenced impressionists in a way that lead Seurat to come up with a new technique that he termed a “ separation of colors”- divisionism. The quintessence of this technique is in use of pointed application of pure color that results in optical mixture for a person who looks at the painting from a certain distance. The main advantage of this technique is the possibility to achieve more vibrant colors.
Signac was establishing Salon des Independents where he met Seurat. Signac followed and helped to develop Seurat’s technique and he named it a pointillism. Not so long after, however,  Felix Feneon ( a writer and an art critic) renamed this style one more time and referred to it as neo-impressionism. Therefore, divisionism, pointillism and neo-impressionism is the same technique.
In accordance to impressionniste.net, “Seurat’s first large painting (206x305cm) “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” – 1884-1886 may be considered as the founding masterpiece of Divisionism.”

What life crisis has to do with dressing up

As absurd as it sounds, the relationship between life crisis and dressing up does exists. I am not sure if there is some gender specifics in this concept, but I would suspect that both, men and women has this connection. 

Obviously, there are many reasons for life crisis, which is a very general term that has different manifestations depending on particular individual, his personality, reason, and lifestyle. One common thing, however, is the need to change something. Whether it is job, family , lifestyle or health habits – all these require lots of energy, efforts and patience. But the crisis does not wait. It is heavy on everyday life. Right now. I found out that changing the way you look and dress helps to change the feeling about yourself and add spark to everyday life. It is like a spring to a bigger change. Interestingly, it is not necessarily the better dressing up ( although this helps!), but rather a different one. It can be also a downscale for sometime – why not if it makes you feel free from rules. From the other side, extra perfume and makeup paired with nice dress does wonders to many people.

In short, to begin the life change from changing the look is easier. And clothes is the easiest way to change the look. So why we forget about this? I think, partly, because once we get into philosophy mood, we stop thinking about clothes – as it represents materialistic  and  superficial  way people consume goods. Does not look as an attractive model for spiritual development and anti-crisis therapy. I already hear the argument about yogi who do not care about their outfits. hahahah! On the first place, they will not allow the crisis into their lives, and second, they are not supposed to care about many other things as well (like job and relationships). So if you choose yogi path, clearly, my advise will not work. However, if you care about every day life, outfit change might help:) and besides, it is fun too!

 

IMG_6196

 

Why this year tassel earrings will save your wallet and outfit

In the times when the transition between a workday and a dinner is narrowed to the  distance between the workplace and the restaurant, an ability to modify the outfit in no time is precious. Statement accessories are the key to such transformation. Below is  the solution to this “no time –  pretty me” dilemma. 

Whether you wear yellow scale high heels or a pair of sneakers to your work, going out requires a little of an upgrade. Jewelry is one of the best ways. However, nobody will carry extra golden pieces in their bags the whole day. A super-hot trend that costs very little and provides plenty of room to experiment is tassel earrings. Tassels earring represent a simple and beautiful way to upgrade most of outfits. For the cost of a fraction of a jewelry, they make a statement and boost the mood.

I also found out that wearing tassel earrings with very causal clothes (grey pullover for my yellow tassels) helps to create the everyday cozy chic. Bold colors and textures are the key. At the same time, the simple shape and less kitch always is an advantage. Have fun!

 

IMG_4258

IMG_4558

 

Perfume: to use or not to use – finding a balance between a chemical and a personality

When harmful chemicals surround us, reducing their impact on our health becomes a critical task. Recently, many holistic centers, fitness studios and workplaces force people to avoid using fragrances. Such strict rules have an impact on people who love wearing perfumes. Here I discuss, shall we fall into “no perfume no chemical ”  policy and how to draw a healthy line in order to achieve a harmony. 

 

IMG_3691

 

Few weeks ago I walked into a recently cleaned public bathroom, and a lady who was cleaning was still there. The bathroom smelled so good so I made a comment and expressed my sincere thanks to her. She smiled and told me that another lady who just left the bathroom just complained about suffocating smell. Since that day, this bathroom never smelled perfume. Right, we need to reduce chemicals. I happened to know the lady who left the bathroom just before me. I see her having soda and spraying a sunscreen ( healthy advise) with oxibenzone! Seriously?! A chemical that goes into the bloodstream and acts on estrogen receptor can be used while the bath perfume not?! I understand that a small fraction of people can develop allergies against certain perfumes. I also understand that a strong smell can be annoying but at the same time, leaving the house without a perfumes sets a different mood.

FullSizeRender

In fact, some people feel naked without their little cloud of comforting aroma. This is a part of their individuality. Certain perfumes might have strong psychological associations. I have one perfume that I always use during my presentations as it comforts me and helps me to set up the right tone of my talk. The secretary who uses aroma feels pretty and therefore is in a good mood ( comfort zone). So why to prevent her from having this?  Let her have this expression of her personality and be happy at work! Sure, I advocate for a delicate smell and not for “everyone dies – I am on my way” usage of perfume. At the end, this is a delicate procedure or a ritual,  to spray eau de toilette and walk into this cloud or to use tiny drops of concentrated perfume on the pulse zones.  The use of perfume should be a respectful act but also lets be more tolerating towards individuals. Let them have their personal aromatherapy! This will definitely make our life healthier!

 

How to style a budget-friendly winter wardrobe

Start now and built a nice wardrobe that will keep you warm, stylish and cozy during all your winter activities. Here I summarize items that are essential to make you look stylish during cold months. Unlike summer dresses, people with limited budget feel that buying winter clothes is an expensive task and therefore exclude any options for stylish garments. Budget varies from person to person, someone can afford anything and another person can afford $10 a month – so focusing on right items will help to fit any budget and yet to look good.

Fashion never stops, it runs at an enormous speed in terms of changes of technologies and in terms of money. A form of art that is multiplied to exponentially growing production.  Hard to follow and almost impossible to chase. Therefore, for anyone who works in a different profession and is not willing to spend all earnings for an Instagram moment, this post might be useful.

Winter is cold in a large part of the globe and requires warm clothes – right. What to buy? Great outfits that are advertised by brands often look amazing, but then we end up buying a dark-colored puffy coat ( still in trend, but don’t you think, that the whole NYC looks like one puffy coat clone?:)) Below I listed the alternatives.

Ski jacket. Purpose: winter sports, playing with kids, ski vacations, winter walks. What to buy: I would choose a white or another simple color that will fit to ski pants, jeans, and sweatpants that you already have. I would not care about the brand but to make sure that the thermo-insulation is good.

IMG_0468IMG_2950Wool coats. These are my favorites. The must-have colors are: beige, camel, grey or black. These neutrals always look stylish and chic. These are worth investing into – a classic wool coat of a good quality is a timeless item that serves 10-30 years. So here budget does not mean cheap. Find one on the sale at the end of season.  Straight knee-long or belted maxi coats are the best options. This type of coats go well with dresses, skirts, jeans, or dress-trousers. High-heel boots or sneakers.  Work or weekends – where them anywhere.

Bright-colored coats. Here most of people will disagree – how a bright-colored item can be a good investment? In case if you are very limited with budget, the first two options are enough. However, if you get one – remember – a color should fit you and the quality should be good. It is better to invest in one neutral color coat than in few bad quality items – it is obvious for others but most importantly, it is obvious for you. You are going to wear it everyday and feel in it good or not. In my life, I had an experience of having a bright-colored coat that was super warm, classic fit and that served my mom and me for 30 years. Great investment. Therefore, do not exclude bright-colored items from your options.

Fur coats. Eastern Europe is all about fur coats. Looks chic, high price-tag and serve for a long time. I do not wear fur, but the faux fur is fine. It is still warm if you wear a shear coat. The price varies, but companies like ASOS have some good options. I would choose light color, this year pink.

Puffy coats indeed are in trend, they are practical , warm and durable. So if you have only one option – opt for this one of a good quality. Wear to work, date or ski vacation.

Good luck and have great and active winter!

 

 

A Perfect Dinner Out: do`s and don’t`s

Here I discuss the idea of how to ensure joyful evening with friends. At first, one would argue that with real friends we do not have to make any plans. And this is true too. But when we MAKE plans, we want to have fun. Isn’t this a real life skill? I also touch up on circles of people that surround us. 

Photos: chef and  the owner of Nuovo restaurant in Worcester Alexander, mascarpone figs, an espresso with biscotti liquor. 

Taking time to meet our friends often requires significant planning. The older we get, the more carefully we choose with whom to spend our free time. Especially since there is no such a thing as “free time”. Not because all of us are workaholics or “tiger moms” (some are, though).  Simply because when a person is self sufficient, the feeling of being bored comes from doing something one doesn’t like and not from being alone. In this regard, anytime that we spend with someone is actually “making the time” to spend with this person. Whether it is a conversation over a phone or a dinner together ( drinking with friends on Skype counts too:). How to make sure that those few hours that everyone “made”  are spent together joyfully and leave a good “aftertaste’?  The real zen comes here and not during yoga class. Really, calling drinking parties a zen? Unless the life is not restricted by yoga sessions, yes. Being present, involved and content not only during guided by a certified instructor meditation is an important skill. Being able to set the mood and enjoy life is one of the mindfulness skills to learn .

Right, lets go out for dinner! Having gone to many dinners with friends in the past, I noticed that some of them are fun and joy, while others ..hmm minimum waste of our time. What makes this difference? People first. Agree. Years after years I am trying to eliminate toxic people from my life and plant the people I like. Just like gardening, these relationships need attention and care. And yet, I have few relationships I am not happy with. The reasons vary, but I do minimize the interaction.  But then , there are people who are not my friends, but whom I know as nice people. We do not necessarily share same values and that is ok too. And there are friends, close and not so much, but friends.  In any case,  people are people. So when we go out, I make sure, I do not have strong opinions but rather choices and options. I also pick the place to meet, where people can be late but the rest is not annoyed (restaurant with a bar works well or a nail/hair salon before dinner). If we are out as a small group, I would prefer rather a small cozy place where we can chat, instead of a loud or crowded place. We need to relax, so I also found that fancy restaurants can be intimidating and often snobbish, and this does not really make them a great environment for long conversations ( going to club is different, it is crowded but you are not stuck). On the other hand, small bars, cafe and local restaurants are all great options. I literally hate “family” restaurants. Perhaps there is a good one out there that I never visited. Huge pig-size portions of bad quality food to share..Really? When tight with budget, cafe is my choice.

Once clear on place, the mood is the key. What, you never had a long whining conversation with best friend? :)) Unless this is a “rescue someone” dinner, the mood is the key. I am not good at cracking the joke, but discussing work the whole evening is boring (again, there are exceptions to that – rare ones, when a person is very excited about something). Even after a hard day, on the way to dinner I say myself, this is going to be relaxing! Nice people, good food and drinks – paradise on earth. It is usually enough to set the pace:)

The food. I think, the best thing about eating together is the break. The time between meals to chat, drink and simply to feel the moment are vital. Hungry fast eater (like me) will finish all in 20 min and will feel guilty of overeating…  so take  time for everything! For food and for friends!

Enjoy your life and your friends!

P.S. All above pictures were made in Nuovo restaurant in Worcester, MA. A mix of Italian and Albanian food, artfully presented ( just loved those mascarpone figs!). We had a great time there and got to meet charming and professional chef Alexander.

Seeing things pretty: a Zen skill and a social media

The idea of blogging came as an attempt to balance the load of everyday life and to compensate the of living my day as a “checklist”. As a consequence, for a couple of months, I begin taking pictures that reflect little details of my daily life. What I noticed is that I start to look at world around me in a different way. For example, having my cup of coffee became more of a ritual, but also appeared in front of my eyes as a chain of “snapshots” of pretty pictures.

As a person, who used to oppose the idea of social media (except for professional) as an unnecessary substitution for friendship and a waste of time, I now have to admit that my new account on Instagram is full of snapshots that I enjoy every day.  From this I beging to conclude that “forced” ( as I am interested in taking a picture) search for a great frame is more than just a photo – it helps me to develop a forgotten skill to observe what surrounds me. The “checklist ” became secondary to my realization of “the moment” and this is one of ideas that I hope to incorporate into my life.

IMG_2988

The photo above is a snapshot that I took at my work while working on laptop and glancing out of the window. I saw the same view many times, often noticing the construction. However only recently I saw the beauty of the plant that flowers more than a month! Isn’t this a Zen way of living? If yes, the role of social media in this transformation is a very curious phenomenon.

IMG_2769