My 2019 getaways… to make up for 2020’s 🙈

Exploring, Travel & Wanderlust

Travel is always on my mind, but I always postpone the time to make a decision and start planning when and where I want to go. To be honest, I have a bit of the paralysis by analysis (so many possibilities!), plus some guilt when considering all the things I have to learn, do and create at home. Furthermore, when the decision is made, I have plenty of research to do to book and plan the trip.

Looking back, I’m pretty glad how last year’s vacations came out, but so far it looks like this year will be completely different.

For now, let’s look at the past and forget about the future for a while (what a turn of events!)

MOROCCO

MOROCCO

There’s only one place nearly as fascinating as the vast ocean and it’s the vast desert. I didn’t get to the Sahara desert in Merzouga, but I did go all the way from Marrakech to Zagora, even a bit further, to step onto some dunes.

These are beautiful but the vast, rocky, desert is no less fascinating. I surely enjoyed the bus ride through the Atlas, the vastness around Ouarzazate and the palm grooves in Zagora.

It feels incredible to be in a place so different but so alike, and so close by, but still far from home. Of course, we visited Marrakesh and stayed several days, went to Zagora, got back to Marrakesh and then stayed in Essaouira. I can’t travel and not go have a look at the sea, regardless of where I am.

It seems Essaouria is the wind capital of Marrakesh ( I don’t know how I always end up in such windy places), but it was such an experience, staying inside a town where it seemed like the sea was raining over it – when we would walk out from our guesthouse, we would get wet with the salty water crashing on the other side of the walls, just a couple of streets away.

Morocco was quite an experience (well, quite a few good ones) and it made me add so many places to my bucket list!

~ ~ ~

ROME

ROME

There are places that one simply has to go to. I like cities, but I would not go on holidays just to one… THOUGH for a long weekend, they are the perfect escape to break from routine! I’d sum it up as a few busy days walking a lot and having an overdose of visual inputs. I’m dying to be able to keep going on getaways to all major European cities (why, Covid, why!! 😱)

~ ~ ~

GRAN CANARIA

GRAN CANARIA

That was almost the perfect holiday: a week away to a warmer place (even if we didn’t leave the country). I booked us a small apartment by the beach and a car to move around freely! It was low season, and honestly, the weather wasn’t on our side. We got plenty of amazing beaches to discover, we run up the mountains (and what a path we followed, that was a total highlight of the trip – for which I have no visual prove 😅), visited many coastal villages, and did such normal things as going to the cinema and the mall. Such a chilled vacation!

I loved Maspalomas dunes: dunes of sand ending by the sea! So awesome! – but again, so windy. And we came across an octopus while diving in one of the most beautiful beaches. But no surfing, duh! 🙈

PS: Such a sad but true confession… I was preparing this post for the end of 2019…

SYS *

Lena

ever imagined if?

Ever imagined how your life would be if…?

Exploring

“Have you ever imagined…?” The first step to any change, new thing, possibility or chance starts in our minds, in our imagination. Do you think that’s true? “But what if…?”

I’ve written before about the importance I think imagination has, but let’s touch on that one more time. Why? Because it is really the tool I use the most in my life. 

Welcome to your creative life

Humans are creative creatures. We look for solutions to problems using creativity and imagination, helped by previous experience and common sense, as well as shared knowledge. There’s always someone who says “well, I’m not creative”. Well, probably you actually are, just in an area of your life you don’t think of as a creative field. We don’t need to know how to draw to be creative, nor be makers or designers. We are creative every time we try to find a new way to get or achieve something (be it a “thing”, a goal…). When we’ve tried the easy and proved paths and we keep looking for another one, we are being creative. Be it by trying to make a dish out of the leftovers, stretching our money this month or creating a loving space at home by rearranging our furniture.

But imagination does so much more for us

How do you discover your dreams? How do you know if you want to spend more time with a person? How do you know if you can be happy in your workplace? How do you know where to travel? 

You imagine it. And learn what you like, what you want and what you don’t by going over it in your mind. We imagine the future and we imagine alternative presents. It’s the fastest way to build an opinion on something and decide if that pursuit deserves our time and energy. It may not always be accurate to reality, as many thoughts, mindsets and fear can interfere in our perspective, but it’s our least-invested way of learning and trying things. It’s the first step for change. And let’s not fool ourselves, life is ever-changing even when we try not to think about it. 

If you love it, you’ll hold it softly 

I’m starting to believe that if imagination is not valued as it should it’s because it can confuse us more than terms like “creativity” and “innovation”.  We can’t pin it down and identify it as easily, we can’t list it in our resumé, there is no tangible proof of it. But it is certainly a transferable skill.

Still, because imagination can easily take us to wishful-thinking and irrational possibilities, there’s an aspect of it that gives it a bad reputation. We are here to solve problems, not to create new ones. This, though, should not get in the way of starting that fire.

Imagination is the first step

As a designer, there’s nothing I use as much as my imagination.

Whenever I have to create something, a graphic image, for example, I first imagine how I would like it to look. What do I wanna say and how? Then I may get help from mood boards and inspiration images as well as references for similar things. After that, when actually designing (creating a layout, choosing the font, the composition, the colours and photos) I don’t go on just moving everything all the time and adding and taking it out… I firstly do it mentally, imagining how I could change or move that to better capture the image in my head, the desired final result.

In life, we may do similarly. We can imagine how we would like it to look, to feel like. Then, we think about what we’d need to change and how that would work out. We imagine the possibilities and do some internal tests to see if it’s worth the investment of our energy and if we could get those desired results.

The thing about imagination is that it is a door to a world of possibilities but not certainties. It’s a tool for exploration.

And we are all explorers. But only once we take that first step.

WARNING: Action is still required.

SYS

Lena*

BTW, I made these! (most of them)

Creating

Challenging times call for creative days and so today I’m showing you a couple, not a piece of art on their own, but I hope they’ll awake your creative itch and make you dream of sunny warm days heading to the beach.

SCRUNCHIES!!

I had been dreaming of making my own scrunchies for years. Literally. If these quarantine months had one good thing was that I could not use the “no-time” excuse for my old projects. So I finally did it! I had some fabric with my own pattern designs that I’d bought a couple of years ago, so I put it to use. It was a fun project to do but it also involved a lot more hand-sewing than I thought. And of course, I prefer the speed of my sewing machine. But the practice is practice!

FYI : I followed this tutorial https://mellysews.com/how-to-make-scrunchies/ and I still have my patterns available on Spoonflower.

WHAT ABOUT THAT DRESS??

This was originally a knee-high dress, with no waist. I loved the top part and the back (sorry no pic!) but I never wear long skirts. Mini length is my favourite! So I cut the dress and made a belt from the same fabric; now it falls with a nicer fit and has a bow in the back! Not a mini dress that I’m gonna wear to the office but I’m sure it will be one of my favourites for hot summer days, with its lightness and flow.

Some lessons learned

1- Calmly read all steps before doing anything. I lost a lot of time figuring out how I was supposed to fold and turn the first scrunchy because I haven’t read carefully the part in which you turn the tube halfway .

2- Don’t be so afraid of cutting and making the seams smaller. I was afraid to cut too much of the dress for the seams and ended having a huuuge hem at the bottom. Next time I better measure twice and use a running stitch instead of going directly to the sewing machine. I’m still thinking about redoing the whole thing now.

So… kind reminder to myself: think before doing and don’t rush!

~ enjoy the process ~

SYS

Lena**

sun is shinning

A ray of light

Creating

Finally, a ray of sunshine.
These have been long, dark, cloudy weeks. Many days that blurred into each other… But time has passed, for better and for worse. I’m older, my hair has grown and my eyes probably have more wrinkles from fiddling for hours and hours in front of a screen (or multiple screens tbh). So spring has come, and the days are longer and they are, slowly, getting warmer too. When I get the chance to get out, I’ll be able to enjoy it so much more intensely. And I’m dying for that moment to come.


So this is the good news. Meanwhile, the swallows have arrived, the flowers are blooming, the weeds are growing so tall from all these rainy moody days. All green and ready for us to get out there and enjoy it.
I hope we’ll get our kind of normal lives back soon and I hope I’ll have learnt what I want more of, what I want less of and mostly how to keep making the most of my life. And wish you have too.

SYS

Lena**

I need you

Exploring

I need you.

And this world of ours needs you too.

We need your vision,

your passions,

your thoughts, your doubts,

your hopes and dreams.

I,

we,

need that light that shines when you’re inspired.

We need your sense of humour, your willingness to learn and to change the world.

~

It’s about the path you’ll walk and where you are headed.

It’s who you are, who you’ve been and who you’ll become.

I need you to be important, to feel important.

Use your talents, share what you can,

but, foremost, find a way to be and do you.

~

We all need you, we all need all of us.

There will never be too many stars in the sky.

Keep on shining. ✨

~

My commitment to creativity in these lock-down days

Creating

You know, where there’s change, or where there’s a problem, there’s an opportunity. 

And even though I hate being forced to be kept at home, I may not deny that these days could be really productive if I do things well. But they should be fun as well.

So I’m doing this mini-challenge of dressing up everyday as if I was going to work and sharing it – and hopefully it won’t be just another selfie post for Instagram.

Is that vanity? Is that a waste of time? I like to think that I’m practicing some skills : I’m styling, I’m making aesthetic decisions, I’m getting practice with my new camera, getting comfortable with how I look and the act of sharing it. And I love when clothing reflects how you feel inside!


Is this all? 

Hahaha nop. I have plenty of creative projects waiting for my attention. And a lot of resources to check up, and actual work. But you know what, as I can’t pursue a balance in life (no meeting with people, no swimming, no surfing, no running, no biking, no beach time…) I may try at least to juggle different kinds of projects that can help me hone my skills. In this way, even if I don’t accomplish and finish all my projects, I will have improved myself!


What’s the point, if nobody sees it?

Would you dress up if no one could see you? In the past, I wouldn’t. When the days come and go and nothing changes, it’s easy to lose motivation (for anything) as there is no compensation waiting for you in a foreseeable future. Although, guess what? There will never be. The motivation that you need is knowing that in the future you’ll be a better version of yourself because you did what you thought you had to do. You decided it, you struggled in its pursuit but you did it, even if some days you failed. You progressed, you made an effort, and that’s what really counts. Even if nobody sees it. You know it. Every past experience adds up to who you are becoming, even if it doesn’t show. 

While staying home these days, nobody sees us if we don’t show up on social media (or personal messaging / calls / DMs). But we still decide how to do it. Will you be sharing this exceptional meal you’ve just cooked? Will you be showing your past vacations? Or will you enjoy this time on your own to do the work that is never shown? Like the household duties, the studying, the listening to your own desires? 

We have temporarily lost the freedom to go out, but we have won the freedom to stay in, to stay invisible, to do our own without asking for permission or approval. Let’s take advantage of that. And let’s keep our minds sane.

To Be Updated – daily 

Sunday 22/03

This weekend had a special feeling. Like time has been paused, like there was more silence in the world (probably there was). This is the start of some weeks that will be different. Trying to be positive here, but I already liked how weeks were. With no outdoor activities to do, it’s time to be creative and do more of the indoors stuff. But…

Monday 23/03

It’s never a good day when you start it by having to erase the hard-drive of your computer. So I got a busy techy day, trying to make my Macbook come back to its full functionality. But no time is ever wasted, so I cleaned my car 😛

I spent sometime too dreaming up this fantasy like scenario, peacefully playing with a typewriter, worrying about nothing else than the letters on the paper…

But on these calm days, I feel everything but peace…

When time stops and the magic happens

Tuesday 24/03

You know what? I’ve been wanting to wear this blazer since the day I got it. So, I thought, well, as it doesn’t seem as if I’m gonna have the opportunity right away, why don’t just wear it today? So yes, I loved working from home with this on. Why wear pajamas when you can look busy-chic?

Wednesday 25/03

Chose to show up on a quite cold and sad Wednesday in pink and black, heavy textured items. Maybe too much of a soft look for such a moody day. Wanted to bring in some light, but only got new shadows (did you get it ;)?

Thursday 26/03

Did I see the light? There actually was a window of time during midday when the sun finally shone in the sky. Then, it actually rained. When Thursday arrives, I always feel like the week passed by too quickly. It was no exception. I woke up with a firm intention though, that even if I’m not gonna be on fire all the time these days I’ll be making an effort to try to change my scattered self to a focused one. I’m well-known in my circles for always being over the place, I like so many things that I’m always pursuing multiple interests at the same time. It’s a great way to have a broad view of the world but also a good one for not going deep into anything. Now, it may take me a while to learn how to stop the multitasking, the multi-interesting thing, however, I must start at some point.

And because I woke up full of energy, I got myself my brown ankle boots, a pair of shorts with hose and a jersey to be comfy and casual. Ready for my tea party with my zoom friends. But where’s the booze?

Friday 27/03

There’s been moments of sunshine, so we can say the week has improved! Apart from that, though…

Saturday-Sunday 28/03-29/03

Let me take a break and reflect. The weekend calls for time away from the week routine, even in these lock-down days. I’d like to be able to embrace it like any other day and spend many hours on my computer, but, after being used to using the weekends for doing very different things, it’s not easy to not to do so. And yes, I skipped this commitment for the whole weekend. How embarrassing… Well, not really. Saturday was for exercising, cleaning, watching a movie and doing some crafts. Sunday was for sleeping until late -it seems I needed it, as I didn’t hear the alarm go off- cooking, painting and a bit of computer projects. I could have shared my go-to-gym clothes, but… Better days will come.

Monday 30/03

Do you know something I really love about working from an office, with set hours? You can’t get bothered with tasks that are not part of the job, no personal life or personal projects coming in. Time is completely blocked. That’s something I rarely get at home. Part of it is my fault, but it’s just easier for anyone or anything to take your attention away, especially when you don’t live alone. I honestly have a great admiration for parents and the like who manage to work from home. I should find my situation so easy!

But anyways, today I’m showing up again! Got the comfiest pants in the world, super-stretchy black corduroy plus the basic black blazer. And heels. Because you get a better view of the week over heels. 😛 Pink sweater underneath.

And guess what? Today snowed. 🤦‍♀️

On other news, I decided that today’s the last update for this post. I may keep on with something similar (probably a Me-Made-May article) but won’t be updating it everyday. Let’s see if I can create less quantity and more quality for the next edition. Also, doing tasks in bulks is more productive and I have to focus, so… See you at the end of the week!