16 January 2017

The day I found what my talents are


Today was one of those days where nothing came easy. I even had a hard time convincing Cris and Tud to go see a movie. We eventually did so and it was really a lovely movie: Vaiana (Moana). What happened before and after the movie was complicated but there was also a conversation.

8 January 2017

Snow life 2017


I am not big on birthdays. But when it comes to first snow of the year, I am all in. I took a day off on Friday and guess what, Thursday night it snowed like in fairy tales. I was over the moon especially since boys were on vacation too. We left the warm comfort of the house I grew up in

New Year's Eve 2017


I've been meaning to recreate the 2013 New Year's Eve for the past 4 years. This year I did

2 January 2017

My 3 words for 2017


In an effort to switch from frustrating new year resolutions to new year guiding "lights", this is my fifth "3 words" exercise. The longer I do it, the harder I need to dig deep down my soul to learn what I can't find as much as I'd like to. Precision is key. Overall I am the same me. However, every year does bring new challenges and old ones I haven't adjusted to yet.

31 December 2016

If I could wear anything for New Year's Eve 2017


"Give a woman the right dress and she can conquer the world" is my version of this shoe quote. This silk dress has been on my mind ever since I saw it for the first time a month ago. I noticed it from the outside and it dragged me inside the store to admire it more. My imagination is running wild now thinking about a complete outfit, or even 2.

30 December 2016

Nailed it - in the gray


Lately I've been alternating between 2 shades of gray for my nails. The opaque shade is my favorite "Liv" in the Gray . For special occasions, like the 2 days of housework before Christmas, I chose My Private Jet.

28 December 2016

Exhale


I get home and change myself into something clean and comfortable but nice. I'm making myself a coffee even though it's dark outside. A. laughingly asks me to shred a cabbage. He already knows the answer is no. Not tonight. I get a call from a friend asking me to go out. I say no, not tonight. On my way to the sofa I get the remote control, my laptop and my phones. I have everything I need within arm's reach. I am going to watch

25 December 2016

Merry Christmas!


We opened a restaurant last night because Santa brought us a loaded shopping cart toy. Cris was the chef, Tud took orders and I was the bartender. Dino was our first guest

17 December 2016

What I really, really want


Dear Santa,

I've had more than my share of sweets this year so no candies for me, please. I suppose everybody is asking you for world peace and good health. Of course these are always on my mind but, this year, for once, let's make it about me only. I'm making a list, checking it twice so, If I could have anything and everything this Christmas, here is what I'd like:
  • a full day with A: from dawn to dusk, breakfast to dinner with everything in between, without any distractions;
  • the books of all the people I follow. Don't worry Santa, I'll make a list for this as well;
  • speaking of people I follow, lunch with Seth Godin, my biggest inspiration;
  • minus 10 kilos;
  • an exquisite bag, always on my list;
  • a surprise getaway for my parents because they are me and I am them;
  • a magazine subscription to Porter;
  • Flowerbomb, eau de parfum
  • 100 followers for my blog's facebook page.
Thanks a lot,
Aura

So, what do you really, really want? Have you thought about it lately? Would be great to share your wishes in the comments here. Santa's watching and waiting.

12 December 2016

1st of December getaway


As much as I like visiting new places, the familiarity of going back to one I know well is comforting. One might argue that 8 kids in a house may not sound comforting at all. It turned out kids had fun their way which left us, the adults, the opportunity to relax our way. Here are some pictures to tell the story of our time in Curtea de Arges, first week of December.

Dirt is good and getting way too dirty was the best part for Cristian and the other kids his age. They built a fort similar to the one they did in Trivale woods this summer.







After all this construction work, climbing the hills around and strolling the town streets, a fire was all we needed.











At times there was a lot of noise around. However it felt quiet and sometimes this is just what the doctor ordered. Plus a puff of snow.

A joy a day keeps the doctor away!

P.S. my favorite place at Curtea de Arges, besides the excellent shops there

7 December 2016

Saying something stupid like...


It all started with something stupid. I had just left the house to meet some friends when my high heel broke. Superstition says it's a sign you'll meet the one. Right then for me it was a sign I had to get back home and change. Little did I know it was going to be the night that changed my life.

12 years ago I had my last first kiss. I admit I fantasize about having a first kiss again, or, more "politically" correct, a kiss that feels like a first one. Oh, those stupid romantic fantasies women have! 

12 years into our relationship our story feels more of a comedy than a romantic one. Dark comedy because often times I think bad thoughts about my husband. I am a bad girl, what can I say, not in that way, though.

Today is not about me. Today I honor the man that made me a fiance, a bride, a dog and a cat owner, and above all, a mother. 2 times because if it were up to me I'd never stop having kids.

Some days I think about divorce. However, the last 12 years, I never met a guy who seemed better for me than A. I love the very few words we need to agree on the little things in our lives. I like his confidence, generosity and luck. I like the trips he plans for us and the "You are so pretty" compliments coming when I think I deserve them the least. I even like his aggressiveness because I need my man to dominate me.

If there is one thing I hate about him is the smoking that puts a closed door between him and the rest of the family.

What I love most about him: he is honoring the commitment he made 10 years ago. I'm sure he was too young then to know what he was getting into. I'm also sure I haven't been the perfect wife. I just hope I will always be the one and only wife for him. He's still the one for me. All that matters is that WE ARE.

Happy birthday, honey!

P.S. Honey is our song and Something Stupid is a favorite of mine.
Photo valigoaga

6 December 2016

Saint Nicholas Eve


It was one of those special days kids wait for and talk about months in advance. This is why I decided to make it so that my kids will enjoy it as much as possible. I tweaked the St. Nicholas tradition and left the presents on the window sill before kids got home. Growing up I always welcomed St. Nicholas the night before and not in the morning. Which is perfect for a school night.

To my surprise, Tudor spotted the gifts 2 minutes after the boys got home. He first asked if I put those things there, and I pretended I know nothing about it. A very rare occasion of white lie, otherwise I never lie to my kids.

To make a long story short, we went wild: we shared 2 bags of chips while watching cartoons past TV curfew time, we ate sandwiches in front of the TV even though we had a cooked dinner in the fridge and played some more after TV time. The long afternoon ended with a good bath which the boys enjoyed possibly the most. Ocean blue water was the star of the night.




We had joy, we had fun, we had children in the bathtub. I wanted to give them a little extra something to enjoy besides sweets. I chose a personalized Christmas snow globe and some bath products: foam, a magic towel. The fizzing bath ball that colored the water blue was what they liked most. I had a really hard time convincing them to remove the bathtub drain stopper as they didn't want the special water to drain away.



When preparing the gifts for the boys I added a little something for the parents as well to make the tradition more convincing. However my special present was brought to me by Cristian: 
- Mags, you got the smallest present even though you are the best/most dutiful of us all (ro: "cea mai cuminte")

There was no time left for bedtime stories but we created our story just the way we like it.

A present a day keeps the doctor away!

P.S. a great gift for kids and another wanderful compliment from Cristian

23 November 2016

Human after all


Part of Cristian's homework for Personal Development class was writing down what he would change about him. Not knowing how to answer, I confessed this is a tough question for grown-ups as well. 3 days later, listening to Human on repeat, with frustration of all sorts cornering me, I have been thinking hard about my defects. In no particular order:
  • I yell at my kids when I can't control myself anymore;
  • I overeat when feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, especially on Friday nights when the crazy paced work week is over;
  • I have yet to learn how to love my husband freely, without asking anything in return;
  • I have daddy issues which I project on my husband, expecting more from him than he can actually offer. He surely has issues of his own, don't we all?!
  • I don't demand enough respect from the 3 men in my house. They feel that my time home is exclusively theirs;
  • Weeks go by without any me time. And I do miss me, so much. I miss my thoughts and putting them in writing;
  • I have very high standards for myself as opposed to the kindness I enjoy treating others with.

See, I am moderately screwed up. As if there is a middle ground when it comes to being deeply flawed. Moderately because I think there is still hope. And admitting all these may well be the beginning. I hope so.

Finding joy in ordinary is my coping mechanism. I am far for having a perfect life and far from figuring it all. As much as I would like to, I can't do it all. Can't have it all. And that's fine, some days.

"I'm only human, I do what I can. I'm just a woman, I do what I can." (Human)

May you be kind to yourself today!

Love & Kindness,
A.

1 November 2016

Halloween '16


It must be the novelty of this celebration that I like Halloween so much. It gives me the opportunity to build our own family traditions around it. And let's face it: silly or scary costumes topped with candies and other treats. Who can say no to that?! I have been saying yes for the past 4 years and I like our celebration more and more each year. Here is a glimpse into how we had fun this year.





A party a day keeps the doctor away!

P.S. Army of ghosts from last year and our first Halloween little party

30 October 2016

Ahead of time- my experience with TEDxBucharest


My day at TEDxBucharest was a luxury to begin with. A day of my own to immerse in bright ideas. It ended up being like the speed dating session I never had. But with dreams, not men. Some dreams charmed me more than others. I heard stories about success against all adds, medical innovation, trend watching, feminism, sociology research, volunteering, LiFi, bio hacking, implants and digital lifestyle, resilience, autonomous technology and VR. Pretty interesting topics, but what I really liked best were the questions I was left with:

Which dots will you connect?
What will your customers want next?
When did you last see a statue of a woman?
Who are you mentoring?
What is your story?
What would you do if money were no issue?
Why do we work?
How can we raise hapy/balanced kids?
What is your life's mission?
What is consciousness?
How are you remarkable/worth making a remark about?

When I came back home, Tudor climbed on my back to fall asleep. Which I absolutely adore. As I felt his weight falling asleep on me, I also felt the weight of all these questions still left unanswered.

How can we all prepare for the future? How can we be ahead of time?

A question a day keeps the doctor away!

P.S. 12 things I need to be happy

17 October 2016

My compass at 36


I look into my heart and outside too, almost nothing has changed. I look into my mind and somehow I feel more settled than a year ago. And settled is good. Maybe I know "1 year more" of navigating though life. With acceptance rather than frustration. Possibly because I am running to 40 now. Don't we all run, these days?! Somehow I just grew more accustomed to the pace. Or is it just because today is a good day?! Or maybe, 36 years on earth, and I finally found that thing. You may call it: balance, holy grail, the path, inner peace, happiness, infinity, whatever. Today I call it my compass. It shows me the north and the south and the est and the west. And everything in between. This is what I use as guidance along life's way, my way:

Kindness

I am sure I got this from my mother. Her calm and kindness are the greatest traits I inherited. It was only after I become a mother myself and failed a couple of times at it, I decided I never wanted to have that awful feeling of guilt again. My close family sometimes lovingly tells me I am too kind. Which I take as a compliment although is not meant that way. But I keep on doing my thing because this is what I want my kids to say about me: "Mom is kind and we do fun stuff together all the time"

"One day you'll understand that it's harder to be kind than clever" says Jeff Bezos in  "What matters more than your talents"  speech at Princeton.

Trust

I see successful people around, yet their lack of self confidence transpires through their actions. They lose energy over small dramas. Of course I too, doubt myself sometimes, but most days I trust me. And I put trust in my close family and friends. If disappointment comes as a result of their actions I say to myself:  " It's not you, don't take it personally" and I move on. "Self-reliance is the greatest art". More interesting thoughts on trust from "the one and only" Brene Brown on "The anatomy of trust" 


Family

We were on a nice vacation when Cristian says out of the blue: " A family never stops" . Of course this was followed by one of those deep conversations only Cristian can spark. The truth is family was my only "ambition" in life. The only thing I pursued with both heart and mind.  I am very grateful to have it for the last 10 years now. It is my number one priority, the place where I get most of my struggles, where I put a lot of work and forgiveness. But in the end of the day, nothing makes me happier. And this is what families are for: a happy place to turn to everyday.

Sleep

This may come as a surprise but sleep is my secret weapon. Enough sleep gives me the strength to accomplish a lot during one day, in a good spirit. Sleep has become non-negotiable for me and my life is so much better now. Proud I found this even before it become a thing. Arianna Huffington started her sleep revolution and you can find more about it here: On Family, Success and Sleep.

For the first time, I'm more 40 than I am 30 and I am pretty fine with it. I admit I was surprised to see some gray hair this year and some other stuff going on with my body. However, I love what I grew into on the inside. That's the best part of being 36. You know what you want, you know what clothes fit you and you know exactly how you like things to be done. And most of the times I claim my way.

Today is a good day. May all your days be merry and kind!

xoxo,
Aura

P.S. my picture is part of the series "I feel princessy" - thus the happy pose I do when I feel special and rich as a princess, while traveling to a new place.

5 October 2016

October Alphabet


A is from Aura, cause it's nice to see your name written down.
Book I just finished: How to be Parisian wherever You are . Exceeded my expectations from the very first chapter with this piece of advice: "Always be ...: when standing in line at the bakery on a Sunday morning, buying champagne in the middle of the night or even picking the kids up from school". Fill in the blanks.
Cooking with Cristian recipes from Jamila,  like zucchini tart and stuffed potatoes.
Dreaming about a trip to Marocco.

Easy- the latest series I watched on Netflix.
Fashionista crush: Camelia Craciunescu Huls  via TheCoveteur. I love everything about her style so much that I got into Instagram to follow her. And she is from Romania!!!
Game I play with the boys: "The Last Straw: Success is in the balance". I have been waiting for 8 years to play this, since I bought it when I was pregnant with Cristian. Also it reminds me of  Marocco game I played with my grandpa when I was Cristian's age.
Home decoration plan: buy some nice apartment plants to cheer up the long winter to come.

Inspired by 30 Days of Genius with Chase Jarvis
Joke I laugh even now, thinking about it: a very angry Tudor is threatening Cristian to tell on him once dad comes home. Since he is out of town for 10 days, a very calm Cristian is quick to answer: "Don't worry Tud, you will forget all about this (by the time dad is back home)".
Keen to start planning for the Halloween kids party.
Learning how to live without sugar, 4 days and counting. Maybe this time I will master this, cause it got to the point I couldn't control my addiction.

Music: excited about the Depeche Mode countdown. I am so ready for another album, hoping this is the surpise.
Netflix fix: "Chelsea" when I want something short and fun.
Obsessing over latest Zadig&Voltaire bag collection.
Purse I would love to wear this month: this tricolor bag .


Quote on my mind: "If you can't love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?" Ru Paul. From the outside one would think I am good at this, however, on the inside, I feel I have a lot more to learn about love.
Reading a wonderful series on parenting in different countries: Motherhood around the World from A Cup of Joe.
Series I have been long waiting far: "The Fall, Season 3". And it's not only because of Jamie Dornan, which I consider putting first on my list. Ashton beware, you have competition!
Treasure the last warm and sunny days of the year.
Using the internet to find answers when it comes to homework so I can help Cristian deal with it better. Here is a good article.

Video I can't stop watching: Pentatonix & Dolly Parton: Jolene. Music aside, they are all so beautifully different.
Wanting some time of my own...
Xanthic like leaves in the fall (xanthic means yellowish, cause words that start with x are hard to find).
Yearning to squeeze some creative juice out of this busy and bored soul.
Zen from getting 8 hour sleep most nights.

What's on your mind this month? How are you having fun this fall?

P.S. this is the first in a monthly series I plan to keep me on the creative track

12 September 2016

Back to school '16

By the time I am writing this, well into the night, I am sure you are all fed up with back to school photos on FB. I am, too. But this is not for today and it is not for anybody else other than me. Truth is I can't remember any of my back to school days, although I remember I liked getting back to school. In case this happens for my 2 boys, they will have the www to go back to. I will surely do so when I won't get to walk them to school anymore. So I am privileged now and this is how things should go in history.

To begin with, my fridge never looked better than last night. I should switch from flowers on my kitchen counter to flowers in the fridge. They are such a lovely surprise and nobody could tell you anymore that your fridge is empty. Note to self: make sure to buy edible ones next time.


Tadaa, the classic picture. It may look easier to take than it really is cause kids don't normally just pose. Luckily it was too early in the morning and they were partially numb.





I love the shirt on shirt combo I prepared for Tudor, provided that the collars are different. A little self praise didn't hurt anyone, did it?!

The most heated moment of the day, other than the pile of clothes I had to iron at 6am in the morning, was Cristian's joy when he met his best friend from school. I was happy to see it was mutual and witness their excitement.



Notice Cristian's face after a lot of time in the spinning wheel. And of course he didn't like me taking pictures of himself. Of course it didn't bother me at all cause sometimes I don't like stuff he does to me. And we are far from even.



Same parks after school, same stunts. I love the routine of it all, the things we do while we are waiting for Tudor to finish his short day at kindergarten.




Tudor was very happy with his day. We visited some more playgrounds and of course there was room for some brotherly disputes along the way.







Boys will be boys and first days of school will always be special. In the midst of it all, I found peace in the shadow marks on the playground's carpet. I wish my school year was as serene as this photo looks to me.


 May you find peace and sun and shadow wherever you are! Happy school year to you!

P.S. back to school day in 2015 and 2014.