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.

Advertisements

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?

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

Hector and the Search for Happiness by François Lelord

English translation published by Gallic Books – 2010 (originally published in 2004) – 164 pageshector happiness

Hector is a successful psychiatrist. But next to people with actual disorders, he treats many others who are unhappy without anything in their lives being really wrong. Dissatisfied and unhappy himself that he can’t help those, he sets off on a journey to find out what really makes people happy (and sad). Meeting old friends and making new ones, Hector not only learns about others but also learns some important lessons himself.

The only shadow on my happiness is when I tell myself sometimes as it’s all going well, it can’t last, that one day things won’t be so good.

This book is part of the series Hector’s Journeys with other books in the series being called Hector and the Secrets of Love or Hector and the Search for Lost Time and a bunch more that haven’t been translated into English (available in French and German though).
I usually wouldn’t have picked this book up but I saw it at a charity shop and it seemed familiar to so I got it. Turns out it’s familiar because a movie (with the same title) came out in 2014 starring Simon Pegg, Rosamund Pike, Stellan Skarsgård and more, directed by Peter Chelsom. Although I haven’t seen the movie, so if you’ve seen it let me know in the comments what you thought about it!

Sometimes happiness is not knowing the whole story.

Psychiatry is such an interesting field but I really don’t like books or movies with psychiatrist in major roles and I’m sorry that this book wasn’t able to prove me wrong. I’m a fan of Simon Pegg so having in mind that he played Hector, book Hector disappointed me alot. Unfortunately he wasn’t likeable at all. He kept talking about beautiful woman and how he can’t look at them when they talk because they are so pretty and then he simply stops listening to them whenever they talk and there were some generally sexists and “old-fashioned” statements made, too (fine, mind you that was first released in 2004 before the new wave of feminism, but boy it’s still the 21st century).

The basic mistake people make is to think that happiness is the goal.

Now, I actually checked a couple times whether this isn’t a children’s book, it isn’t, because the way it was written felt so much like it. The sentence structures were very easy and things kept being repeated how they do for children who only just start reading, and the book kept posing questions that it would answer straight away and it was just so weird. I don’t mind reading children’s book from time to time but this book had none of the charm Dahl books have, for instance.
Oh, and having sex is called “the thing people do when they love each other” which again is wrong on so many points. If it isn’t a children’s book why talk around it like that, and it isn’t mentioned only once but like a lot on Hector’s travels, although he has a girlfriend back home. Also, you can love each other without doing the do and vice versa.

Many people see happiness only in their future.

All in all, there were some nice parts in this book but nothing life-changing. I didn’t enjoy the style, and the characters were all very generic and had no depth (it is a very short book but still no excuse). Now that I look at it it’s obvious to me that I never enjoyed these kind of books so I really don’t even know why I picked this up, oh well.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson

Published by the Penguin Young Readers Group – 2004 – 370 pages

Nina, Avery and Melanie, who form the Bermudez Triangle, have been best friends for life. bermudez traingleHowever, this summer they will be seperated for the first time. While Avery and Mel stay and get a summer job, Nina attends a program at Stanford. When Nina comes back after ten weeks nothing’s the same anymore. While Nina tries to keep up a long-distance relationship with Steve whom she met at the program, Mel and Avery became more than friends. There are secrets and lies, the friends grow distant just to grow toegether again. It’s a whirlwind of feelings, finding your identity and learning to forgive.

You might have figured by now that characters are the most important thing for me in a story, so a big part of this getting such a low rating from me is due to them. None of the three main characters is in any way likeable. Avery never takes responsibility for her actions and runs away from everything, Mel is clingy, naive and never understand what is going on around her and Nina is self-centered and obsessively in love with a person who treats her horribly. Now, I know these are all traits we all may have at times, too and I’m all for characters being real and not always being perfect and agreeable, but in all of the 370 pages each of the girls might had one scene in which she was bearable. The only nice character that I enjoyed was Parker, but even he made a horrible joke and was into like three girls in the course of the book. But all in all, the boys were generally more bearable (gosh, I hate saying this, but it’s true in this book). Johnson is great at writing boys. She’s horrible at writing girls.

You know how you can sometimes tell when a person might like you? There’s just something about the way they look at you or the way they keep trying to talk to you?

Let’s move on to the relationships. So, they’ve been best friends for pretty much their whole lives and I honestly barely felt any real connection between them. Like when Mel tells Nina something that’s really important to her and Nina has to fake her interest because she can’t stop thinking about her boyfriend/ex-boyfriend. Yeah, best friend award definitely won’t go to any of these girls.

 Irony is the word I forget the meaning of immediately after I look it up, but I kind of feel like I live in a constant state of it.

Now to the LGBTQA+ part, or well rather just the L and the B. This book was written over a decade, this has to be noted, and representation is great. Now, I can’t judge how accurate all of that was, I’ll leave that to people who actually relate to it. I did think it was great that one of the characters seemed to struggle with the whole “gay” thing and questioned and denied it, because I suppose that does happen to people, too. And it was great that Mel wasn’t the “stereotypical lesbian” but then there’s a scene where they go to a dance for lesbians and guess what EVERYONE HAS SHORT HAIR!!! yeah great way to ruin it all.
And then there’s Nina who’s asking herself after everything she says or does “omg is that/am I homophobic??”. And when she dances with a girl at a party (as you would dance with any of your friends) “omg it happened, am I gay, too. Will people think I’m gay??”

Sorry, this review is so messy but this book was really messy, too. Everything was pretty predictable. There were some nice scenes and moments, but most of it was just enervating.
Anyhow, I was gonna give it 3 stars at first but so many moments that just made me shake my head happened in the last 80 pages, and the last impression is the lasting one so…

Rating: 2.5 out of 5