What Do You Think? – Decisons Aren’t Easy

Hi everyone! It’s been a LONG time since I’ve last been here, but I’ve got something I’d love to hear your opinion about so please do leave a comment if you feel like it.

So I’ve been at uni for a while now and since my bachelor studies are slowly coming to an end my mom is kinda pushing me to do a semester abroad, which I have been thinking about but I am that kind of person that WANTS to do all the things but basically never does them until someone pushes me to do them. I know that this could be a really great opportunity for me to grow, become more independet and get out of my very comfortable comfort zone more.

Now my first instinct and thought was to go to Saint Petersburg, Russia. I have never been there but have always had a huge fascination with the city. I think you could call it my New York City. It migth be because of my favourite childhood movie Anastasia that plays partly in St. Petersburg, but ultimately I do not know the reasons, it’s just the way it is. So, their State University has an agreement with my uni and offers courses in classics, which is my major. They are however in Russian and requier a level of at least B2. Although I am starting Russian as a minor this fall, I’ll only reach level A2, maybe B1, by summer next year. There is however a possibility to visit a Russian course in summer that will prepare you specifically for the Russian courses at the St. Petersburg State University. To conclude, St. Petersburg has always been a city that’s been on top of my list and if I’ll be there for one or half a year it will be a great spot to discover lots of other places I haven’t been to before, like other cities in Russia, Finland or the Baltics. It would have benefits for both my major and my minor. However, I feel like classics, especially the latin and ancient greek classes are hard enough in my native tongue, and will be much much harder in Russian.

Now however, last week I’ve been to Innsbruck, Austria. It is about 4 hours away from Zurich, where I currently study. And I have absolutely fallen in love with the city. I never would have expected it and honestly I haven’t felt this way with any other city or place yet. So naturally I went to check out their uni and they do offer courses in classics too as well as Russian. So again I could do my major and minor. Another plus is of course that it will be all in German, my mother tongue. At the same time of course it is a great possibility to learn and improve another language while staying in the country, but the already challenging courses will be a lot more manageable this way. There would also be no Visa troubles in Austria. I have been to a lot of places in the region already, like Switzerland of course, several places in Northern Italy and Germany. So there will be less to discover than from Russia, but there should still be more than enough. Especially since the tyrol region offers breathtaking landscapes and mountains. And a last point is after falling in love with Innsbruck I have actually been thinking of maybe moving there after my studies. I have always thought about moving to another country but haven’t found a city or place that I truly felt like I wanted to be there for more than a couple weeks. With Innsbruck I feel like I might have found just that and studying there for a year or a half would be a little test for me to find out if this really could become a home to me.

I feel like Russia would definitely make me come out of my comfort zone a lot more and would do for a spectacular time. Austria on the other side is so close to home that I feel kinda weird about chosing it for a term abroad but then again I thought to myself it doesn’t always have to be far away and my choice doesn’t have to impress other people.

So what do you guys think? Where would you go? What pros and cons do you see? Have you been in similar situations?

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Am I a Bad Person?

Well, how’s that for a dramatic post title?! Granted I don’t think it’s THAT bad with me (yet?) but the more I read, hear and watch about minimalism, ethical fashion and zero-waste movements the more I feel like maybe I’m not doing enough. I know (and it’s important to always keep in mind) that minimalism isn’t a competition and that it’s not perfect. But my inner perfectionist? It wants to be perfect. So badly. So whenever I take a step forward I feel like the goal I’m striving towards is also moving further, and I’ll never get there.

One of the first measures I’ve taken when becoming a minimalist was to consume less especially given clothes and other fashion items. I was feeling more free, I was spending less and was helping the environment through it too. But then I came across articles and documentaries (e.g. The True Cost) and I realized that maybe alone consuming less wasn’t enough, I also needed to consume in a right way, in an ethical way. So my euphoria over consuming less was quickly dimmed by the realization that I nevertheless wasn’t consuming ethically. And that is something I still struggle with. I want to be good to this planet and its people, but I’m also a student trying to become financially independent from their parents. And let’s be real, ethcial brands ARE more expensive than fast fashion brands. OBVIOUSLY. They use better materials, they pay better wages, the list goes on. And in theory that is what I want. I’m an idealist. I regulary have some kind of breakdown because of how unfair the world seems to be sometimes and how much greed is destroying. But I’ve also grown up this way. I’ve grown up always looking for the cheapest price and that is hard (way way harder than I ever expected) to get away from.

So yes, I want good conditions and fair wages. Yes, I want eco-friendly methods used. I want all of that and more. Yes, $40 for a shirt makes sense given all those circumstances. But to a person growing up spending $5 or $10 on shirts and not earning much it’s sometimes still really hard to spend those $40 on a plain shirt, even though I understand all the reasoning behind it and even support it.
Writing it down like this it sounds even more horrible than when I just whisper it in my head. But it is the ugly truth. While minimalism comes fairly easy to me, ethical consumption (and the price of it) doesn’t. It is a hard battle, that as of now I still often (mostly, okay) lose, but it’s better than not fighting at all. Some day I’ll get there.

January Favourites 2017

Welcome to my first favourites post! This is kinda late because I wasn’t originally planning on doing this, but since I’ve tried to be more concious about life in general lately I ended up thinking about what I liked about January, so I thought I might as well make a post out of it. Especially because I really enjoy reading these kind of posts on other blogs, giving you more of an idea who the person behind the blog is and what type of things they like besides what the theme on their blog is. And it’s a great way to write about things that usually wouldn’t make it into a post. So, I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoy reading your favourites.


Fashion Faves

Headband
My very favourite piece this month was this headband for the winter that I got some two or three years ago (before I got more concious about my buying habits). Now, you have to know that I’m not the kind of person that wears hats or anything on their head, and we do have proper minus temperatures in the winter. But as so often in the past I thought “It’s kinda cute. I will TOTALLY wear this, even though I never wear these kinda things.” My mom was also skeptical. In those two/three years I’ve worn it exactly twice well, before this month that is. We had family from Poland visiting us for a week so we went a lot of sightseeing and taking long walks in freezing temperatures (coldest January in 20 years WHAT) and since this headband is literally the only Thing I own to protect my head/ears from the cold I had no other choice but to take it, and I LOVED IT. I wore it like 10 times this month. And what makes me even happier about it is that it didn’t go to waste. I love re-discovering older pieces.

Dress
 
This dress I was first very reluctant to try but I found that a lot of times those pieces that you’re not completely convinced by on the hanger can become absolute favourites when you put it on. I’m also usually not for that much print but I simply fell in love when I tried it on. It has a nice length (I don’t like them too short) and the cut out at the back is done so perfectly that you can wear a bra and it isn’t visible. Anyhow, while it already was on sale I waited some more because I knew that eventually it would be marked down even more and a lot of them were left. However, when aforementioned family visited they ended up buying it for me. Not complaining, although I do love a good hunt. 😉


TV Faves

I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!
My most most most favourite reality TV show is always on in January and I legit look forward to it the entire year. It’s the German version of I’m A Celebrity. Originally a British show (theirs is on every December), where twelve “celebrities” (most of them aren’t that known, but you not really knowing them is part of it, really) spend two weeks in the Australian bush. They get different trials (really gross stuff, such as eating cockroaches, worms, different animal parts and really all you can imagine, but also action challenges) and whoever is left at the end of the two weeks (audience calls) is King or Queen of the Jungle. Okay, listen I know it doesn’t really sound like fun but it is the most. A lot really depends on the hosts and the jokes being made, and also the German Twitter section is amazing. It’s a real fest. The British and German versions are the longest running ones, there have been I think two seasons in the US but it has been discontinued as in a lot of other countries, too. Australia has just picked it up again for a second season that I believe is currently airing.

Australian Open – Fedal
An absolute favourite has been the epic Federer vs. Nadal final at the Australian Opens. I was so wishing for it to happen and then it did! I love them both and was kinda hoping they could somehow both win, HA. It was such an intense match and I loved both of their speeches at the end. I can’t believe how humble and nice they both are. It was simply amazing. Roger definitely deserved it after his long break due to an injury (Fun Fact: Roger lives right on the other side of the lake from where I live), and I have such a soft spot for Rafa, when he said that maybe Feds deserved it more than him I cried. Oh dear.


Random Faves

The Kindness of Strangers
I had the whole month of January off from Uni but I still had to go there a couple times to get a few things done. One time I went on an early friday morning. At the first station the tram driver greeted everyone, when People got out at the second station he wished everyone a good last day of the week and then a nice weekend and finally at the third station where I had to get out he said: “And to everyone who has to work on the weekend, don’t worry about it. I have to, too. But at least it means we’ll have off next week instead.” And it made everyone laugh and smile on a cold and early morning. My whole day was made and I still think about it sometimes. It’s amazing how just a few simple words from a person you don’t even know can bring so much joy. Thank you, stranger.

Family Visit
As I’ve already mentioned my mom’s uncle and his wife came to visit us for the first time. I’ve only met them last summer when their son got married and my mom being his godmother got invited and took me with her. Therefore, I was quiet nervous since I’m generally very anxious about visits and even more so when I don’t know the people very well. But it turned out to be absolutely wonderful. Other then when my grandparents or someone visits, I felt like they were actually treating me like an adult. We had great conversations and we went on a lot of different small trips, and I just felt comfortable and at ease with them in the house.

Snow
As always we didn’t get any snow on Christmas, but then in January it snowed and it snowed and it snowed and it was absolutely gorgeous and beautiful. I marvel at how every single time snow is still so magical to me.


What did you enjoy most in January? I’d love to hear about some of your faves!

SWITZERLAND SECOND – Explained

Chances are you’ve seen at least one of the videos of European countries applying to Trump to become “second”, since America is first, obviously. The whole thing was started by a Dutch late night show, followed by a German one, which then called to all late night shows around Europe to create their own video. #EverySecondCounts was started. Next to the Netherlands and Germany, also Switzerland, Belgium, Denmark, Portugal and Lithuania have joined so far. More countries, such as Slovakia and Luxembourg will release their videos soon, and hopefully more will follow. You can check out all the videos right here (or on YouTube, if the side’s crashing again). They are well worth it and sure to make you laugh.

Whereas I understood all the references in the German video, I felt lost with some of the things mentioned in other countries’ videos. If you felt like that too watching the Swiss video here are some of the references explained that don’t have anything to do with mountains, cheese, gold or money:
(The Swiss video was created by Late-Night show Deville in cooperation with SRF (Swiss Radio and Television) all screenshots are taken from the official video.)

The first ever Bond Girl was Swiss actress Ursula Andress. Now if that ain’t sexy.

And St. Moritz is next level clean. When I visited last spring I felt like I was in an indoors studio because the streets were so clean, but we’ll get to that lovely town later.

This is probably one of my favourites. This is the same square as in the picture above, and shows a Zurich-ian tradition, the Sechseläuten. It takes place every year in April. The Böögg (the snowman) filled with firecrackers (the biggest one in its head) is put on top of a 10 meter high pyre and is then burned at 6.00pm. Once the cracker in the head explodes the time is stopped. The faster it burned the faster summer will come and will therefore last longer. Last year it was pouring down rain and the Böögg took the longest time ever to burn, a full 42 minutes. In comparison, the fastest one burned in under 5 minutes. Whereas the fest in itself is way older, the burning of the Böögg took place for the first time in 1902. You can watch a shortened and private video of the 2010 burnin here.

Joining of the EU is a topic that comes up in Switzerland every once in a while. For example, in 2001 where 76,8% voted against it.

Saint Moritz is a luxury resort in the alps. During the winter season it’s full of celebrities and high-society member, a lot of them Russians.

In the last year there has been a lot of talk about DADA in Switzerland since the movement celebrated its 100th anniversary. Due to the situation in World War I Switzerland and especially Zurich became a place where artists could meet and discussed. Dadaists rejected the logic and aestheticism of modern capitalist scoiety and therefore expressed their art through apparent chaos and irrationality.

DJ Bobo is a Swiss singer and dancer who was part of the EuroDance Scene and basically just put on really big and extravagant shows. Fun Fact: My first ever concert was a DJ Bobo concert that my parents took me and my sister too. The theme were pirates and the whole stage was basically just a huge pirate ship. While I’m a bit embarassed by this now, I can’t say that I didn’t have fun. If you’re up for some crazy shit watch this and this.

Actually, we’ve only won twice. Once in 1956 (I didn’t even know about this one) and once with Céline Dion in 1988 (pictured), and she’s not even Swiss. Watch her performance of Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi.

I can see why Trump loves alternative facts so much. Apart from those two times we won, Switzerland probably never got twelve points. For all of you who aren’t familiar with the Eurovision Song Contest, each country that participates has one set of points to give away, and let’s say that Scandinavian countries most give their points to each other, Southern Europeans to each other, etc. But it’s also highly political, for instance a lot of Eastern European countries won’t give points to Russia because politics and history. And since Switzerland is neutral, we’ve never really had any alliances and therefore have no friends at all, it seems. We’re mostly chilling at the lost spots together with Germany and the UK. If we even get into the finals, that is. Most of the time, we don’t. Last year Ukraine won because they’ve been having a tough time and deserved it. So basically, it’s a singing competition but not really a singing competition. But Australia will never understand. 😉

A little nod to Switzerland’s Direct Democracy, or well as direct as it gets. Four times a year we vote on different stuff and basically everyone can propose something and if they get enough signatures we get to vote on it. Pretty cool.

You could call Jass the national game of the Swiss. It’s a card game that uses a different card set than for instance poker or black jack. Fun fact: I even learned how to play it at school. It’s serious business.

The Trumpf is the best card and is officially translated as the Trump Card or simply Trump, because it well, trumps all the other cards. Makes sense.

This organisation is controverse even in Switzerland itself. It’s for people who have non-curable diseases, and the organization assists them with dying in dignity. They don’t just take everyone though, strict rules have to be fulfilled. There are actually several such organizations in Switzerland such as Dignitas, of which you might have heard if you’ve read Me Before You by Jojo Moyes or seen the movie based on it with Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin. Thus, the term Sterbetourismus, i.e. something like dying-tourism, has been coined.

And a little bit of Roger at the end because it would be sad without him, right?

Closet Decluttering for the (Aspiring) Minimalist, and Everyone Else

This is a topic that is discussed a lot, and I feel like it is because it is what is easiest to start with and where it’s easy to see an impact. While minimalism or decluttering is always a continuing activity, I think that it is especially the closet that needs a lot of work, I know that it is so with mine. I started my (concious) minimalist journey with decluttering my closet, so maybe this can help kick off your journey, or just leave you with a nicely organized closet.

I would recommend to do all these steps section by section (e.g. shirts, sweaters, dresses…), but if you’re anything like me you’ll want to see your closet empty anyway and put everything on your bed/the Floor, just to have to put most of it back again without having had a proper look at it. It’s your choice though, really.
All of these steps aren’t meant to be done in one day. To be perfectly honest, it’s a constant effort. Take as much time as you need, and you have.

Where do the sorted out items go?
Think about what you want to do with the clothes you don’t want to anymore. You want to donate it all? Prepare trash bags. You want to sell some of the stuff? Add a seperate box to put these pieces in. Maybe you want to have your family and friends have a look over your stuff? Add another box.
Prepare accordingly.

Check Condition and Fit
This is a step that you should have in your mind during the whole process. Does it have holes, is it uncomfortable, is it too big or too small, is the colour washed out, are there weird wrinkles or bulges that don’t go out through washing/ironing, etc.? Then it goes.

Choose Your Favourite and Least Favourite Pieces
This should be fairly easy. Go through your chosen section and pick out the pieces you wear a lot, like a lot, you enjoy wearing, are comfortable and you would basically just want to wear all the time. This should be fairly intuitive. Put them back in your closet.
Now do the same with the pieces that you secretly wanted to have gone for a looong time, we all have them. Maybe it feels like a chore to wear them, or the material is scratchy, or you just never really liked the style of it. Again, go with your intuition. Put these pieces in their box (donate, sell, pass along).
It doesn’t matter how many pieces you sort out in this step it’s just to get you started.

Try and Error
Try the rest on. How does it feel? Do you feel comfortable? Is the material comfortable? Does it fit your lifestyle (e.g. can you wear it to school/work/…)? Does it fit your current style?

Repeat Steps With Every Section
Chances are you’ll still be left with quiet a lot of stuff. If you want to minimize and optimize further, try the following steps (and remember: you can do this in the span of weeks or months).

Create Outfits
Now go through all your pieces one by one and try to create outfits. Try new combinations you’ve never tried before. Ideally a piece can be combined in a lot of different ways and styles, e.g. a summer dress can also be worn in winter with thights and different sweaters/cardigans over it, in summer it can be worn with different shoes (elegant, sporty,…), and it can be up- and down-dressed according to the occasion. As I said, this is ideally, but it is totally okay to have some pieces that maybe can only be worn in one way, if you still really like this pieces and you enjoy wearing it. However, if your goal is a well-curated closet, try to minimize those pieces.

Store Pieces Out of Your Sight
If you’re worried about regretting giving a piece away, store it in a box somewhere out of your sight. When the season’s over, let’s say it’s a sweater and winter is now over. Chances are you’ve never thought about the sweater and haven’t missed it. You can now dispose of it. If you did have a moment where you thought “if only I had that sweater…”, well you’re in luck. Get that sweater out, it is a keeper now.

This is a constant process that isn’t done after one decluttering. As you evolve, you’ll have to sort out other pieces and get new ones. You’ll have to change your attitude and views on consumerism to maintain your new closet. But this might be a topic for another post.
But for now you’ve done the first step and I’m sure you’ve done a hell of a good job!

If you have any more tips share them in the comments!

Minimalism: Lifestyle vs. Style

If you tell someone you’re a minimalist, they will most likely think that this is how your closet looks like and the rest of your living space too. Now, that can be how a minimalist lives and dresses but it doesn’t have to be. The confusion of minimalist lifestyle and style is what created most of these clichées about minimalists.

Both of these concepts are related, both strive to simplify and eliminate the unneccessary, and yet they are quiet different. I would say that minimalism be it in art, fashion or architecture has strict rules, or maybe not that strict rules, but there are rules. The fashion style has to be slick and clean, without any chichi and without much colour or patterns, since they don’t really have a use (except for maybe originally the army print). You can’t wear a shirt with a leo print and ruffles and call it minimalist. But you can wear it and still be a minimalist.

The wonderful thing about minimalism as a lifestyle is that it really can be and is for everyone since there are no rules. As far as I’m concerned, there are as many forms of minimalism as there are minimalists. You can love colourful clothes, you can be a collector of things, you can have knick-knack all around the house, you can have yellow walls and green furniture – you can have all of that and still be a minimalist, IF all those things bring you joy and don’t ever make you feel overwhelmed. You can take minimalism and make it your own.

In a perfect (and maybe a little boring) world every minimalist would also adopt a minimalist style. I mean that would make perfect sense, wouldn’t it? But this world is chaotic and it doesn’t always make sense. In this world you can wear all the ruffles and sequins and prints (and mix them) and still be a minimalist. Or you don’t. Maybe one day, you do feel like going for that black and white, sleek as hell look. And maybe that one day is also every day. Anyhow, how fun with it. No one ever said minimalism had to be boring!

I’m a Bad Blogger – and I Like It

The last time I’ve written to you was right before I left for my summer vacation. I had a few posts scheduled, but not nearly as many as i would have needed to keep my schedule up. I suppose that’s why I’ve never really been and never will be a good blogger. Maybe I’m more of an in-the-moment person. I want to write when I’ve got something to say and something to share, and feelings don’t really have schedules so maybe this whole blogging thing never really made sense to me. I love writing and I will continue using this blog from now on but on my own terms. It shouldn’t be a chore to me, and that is one of the many things I realized in 2016.

I know we’re all supposed to hate THAT year, but honestly? For me personally, it’s been a really good year. I don’t really care about the Kardashian-Jenners, but maybe I do have one thing in common with Kylie – 2016 has been the year of realizing things, HA. I think I now know more about what I want to achieve in the next few years and how to do it and I think I know more about who I am and what’s really important to me and how to stand by my principles. And I also know that THAT is something that matters in life. Well, to me it does. I’ve changed a lot this year and for all I know, that’s a good thing.

There’s more to come and it might not all have to do with books and reading, because well a person is made up of more than just one passion. While some people like to just update on one topic (which is absolutely fine and actually what blogs are probably supposed to be) but I just don’t feel it’s right for me. I want this to be authentic and I want it to be me. That being said, 2016 was the year of thinking, hopefully 2017 will be the year of doing. And I don’t think it’s ever too late to wish you all a fulfilled and joyful new year!

See you soon,

Diana