Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hitchcock's Definition of Happiness

“A clear horizon. Nothing to worry about, on your plate. Only things that are creative, and not destructive. Well, that’s within yourself. Within me I can’t bare quarreling I can’t bare feelings between people. I think hatred is wasted energy. And it’s all nonproductive. I’m very sensitive. A sharp word said by say a person who has a temper, if they’re close to me, hurts me for days. I know we’re only human, we do go in for these various emotions, call them negative emotions but when all these are removed and you can look forward and the road is clear ahead and now you’re going to create something. I think that’s as happy as I would ever want to be.”
-Alfred Hitchcock

My definition:
Happiness can be found in the smallest things.
A look. A smile. A word. A touch. A scent.
Happiness is a choice. You choose to be happy.
It's within yourself. It will always be something unique to you alone, and completely different to the next person.
I don't believe in Happiness. I believe in moments.
Happiness is those moments in life when you actually feel complete.


Monday, May 28, 2012

Music Monday: Crystal Fighters

You know when you’re on the Internet, and one click leads you to an amazing video? Well this is the story of how I discovered Crystal Fighters, a British/Spanish electronic/folk band formed in London in 2007. They also do remixes for famous artists like Two Door Cinema Club, The Wombats or Pony Pony Run Run on top of their debut album, Star of Love, released on October 2010 in the UK (April 2012 in the US).

'At Home' (acoustic - Live in the Woods)

'Champion Sound'

'Follow' (acoustic - Live in the Woods)



P.S.: Here is my post about The Heartbreaks on YM&C! Check it out!

The Empty Bottle

Sometimes, I feel like those great ships, you know. Able to go anywhere across the seas. Limitless. Invincible. And never looking back.
But the more I think about it, the more I realize the whole thing is just a lie.  
Because my great ship is actually stuck in a bottle. A huge one. And even if it gives me the illusion of infinity, at the end, the barriers are still there, more real than ever. 
Tennessee Williams once said: “Don’t look forward to the day you stop suffering, because when it comes you’ll know you’re dead”.
 But the grief is so present, so strong, that I can’t feel the pain anymore. It is part of me. 
My aunt once told me I have a lake of sadness on the inside. And this lake may come from a lack.
I think she’s right. And I think everyone has his own lake.
It remains to find what is our lack. And do our best to fill it.
And so, maybe, the ship will leave the bottle. Someday.

It's been three years already,
I love You to Death and back.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Finals Are Over... Now what?

I've taken my last test this morning, turned in that final International Relations paper. But now I'm done, what the eff am I supposed to do? Well, first: HELLO SUMMER BREAK!
Then what? Let's make a list since I cannot sleep.

1. FAO... Time to rest! I refuse to do anything productive for the next couple of days. I'm just gonna lay on my bed all day long and stare at the ceiling while listening to music. And sleep. A lot.

2. FAO... Prepare for moving! I have a month to pack up my apartment as I'm not going to live with my sister anymore next year (she's moving to another city). That means a ton of work to do. I'm not mentally prepared for this shit.

3. FAO... TV shows are back! Well, I've already seen most of my favorite TV shows season final. Fortunately, I still have a few more episodes of Girls and Game of Thrones. Plus, summer specials are just around the corner yay! So I'm planning to watch True Blood and Entourage with some friends and ice cream.

4. FAO... Go to the gym! I'm gonna start a new exercise routine and try my best to stick to it. Now that summer has come, I have to get fitter and lose weight —Yeah... Let's just drop the ice cream.

5. FAO... Read for fun! I have a collection of letters between Scott Fitzgerald and his daughter to finish, then I'm gonna start the second book of the Hunger Games series. I'm also thinking about reading the Harry Potter series again.

6. FAO... Learn to drive! It's been 2 years since I reached the right age to get my driver's license. Now, I'm picturing myself driving my mum's car under the sun, listening to my summer playlist full blast. BEST THING EVER. I really need to pass that freaking test!

7. FAO... Pick up a new hobby! I've always wanted to try drums and start a scrapbook. Now is the time!

8. FAO... Travel more! Well, my sister offered me a trip to London for my 20th birthday but there was a problem with the flight so I guess we're not going. Now she's planning a week in Spain. Hope we'll go. Anyway, I'll come back home at the end of July so I'll be able to say I travelled from one continent to another.

9. FAO... Let's get the party started! I'm back into the social world people, cheers!

10. FAO... Stress over the results! What if I failed?!

Peace out,

Monday, May 21, 2012

Music Monday: Ben Howard

Last week, I received an email from my little sister saying, and I quote, "Check out this video! It's so YOU. Love xo".
So I did what she told me. Actually, she was right. And that made me smile.
Ben Howard is an English folk singer/songwriter whose debut album Every Kingdom was released in October 2011.

Hope it'll brighten your days.

Let some sweetness in...

Old Pine


The Wolves

Keep Your Head Up

Always Love,

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Q&A with Monica Popa-Tolontan

Monica Popa-Tolontan was born and raised in Vaslui, Romania. I met her for the first time on July 2008, during a trip to the UK, and we've become friends since then, sharing the same interests in Arts. Now she lives in London, studying Management & Marketing while living her passion: photography. I support her and like her work so much that I couldn't not share her talent with you. She's great. I'm sure you'll love her photographs. 

"Each photograph is different in each other's eyes. Mainly in what we see we project our obsessions."

M: Give me a Cliffs Notes version of you as an artist: 

Few years after the communism went down, 1992 marked the birth of Monica. Name with Greek influence meaning lonely. She presented a high interest in arts but not as strong as in 2008 when she joined the Photography Club at her high school. There she developed her interest in digital photography and until now she tried her best to become the best.

M: Top 5 influences, GO! 

I don’t really have separate or "top 5" influences. I find my influences all around me, it could be in friends, books, strangers, a bar, an old photograph, etc.

M: One picture you took. The story behind it:

I took this picture whilst I was visiting Israel, and we just came out of this monastery, and because it was so hard for some old ladies to get there, we were actually talking about how hard it is for old people to get to a place where they can get peace. And instantly I saw this old man going up this terrible hill, dressed very poorly and very sick. And I thought this could turn out as a very powerful picture, and it did (at least I think so).

M: This picture hold such emotions! Powerful, indeed. Now, answer your first thought, free association to these words :

Coffee — is my guilty pleasure, for sure.
Poppy — It reminds me of the yellow fields in the summer in my country, and from spot to spot there are red poppies filling the fields, like blood.
Eye — Eyes are one of my favorite body parts, they can tell the truth even when the mouth lies.
Sky — The sky is my little refuge when I want to dream all day long.
Obsession — Powerful word, that everyone is afraid to share with the others. Their obsessions are taboos sometimes, but I believe we should share our obsessions more.

M: What's your favorite place? 

Camden Town in London. It’s a pretty free place and anyone there is an artist. You can get a lot of muse there and the food is absolutely amazing. 

7. Your latest musical obsession: 

Lately I have been listening a lot to Birdy but also Beach House Terrazza radio, which is a chill-out-funky combinations of great vocals, great chill-out tunes and summer vibe.

M: I love Birdy! Recommend one movie: 

I have two movies that marked me a lot. The first one is Chaotic Ana, a Spanish movie which, to be honest, I cannot describe because I think everyone should watch it and interpret in their own way. The second is Powder Blue, a drama, but also a very artistic movie —from the cinematography point of view.

M: What’s on your nightstand right now? 

(smile) Right now I don’t have a nightstand. But it will definitely be my lucky rings and Paulo Coelho’s book Aleph.

M: Motto to live by: 

Addicted to the moment. Simple but there is a lot of meaning behind it. 

M: If you could invite one artist to a tea party, who would he/she be (living or dead)? 

Hard question, but I will probably choose Dali. He has a wicked side and I would have loved to have a conversation about art and his view on life.

M: I know you're working on a new project called «1001 states of mind». Tell me more about it : 

This project is my latest big challenge because I only have a year to photograph 1001 portraits with different stories and emotions behind them. It all started from my little obsession with facial expressions and how people express their feelings (any kind) in general. I believe that is a very powerful project considering that each model has to express something that had an impact on their lives hence, a sad emotion or something that is joyful or anything that they want. Also the time limit is quite small considering I will be busy with other stuff but I am willing to try. So far I only have a few portraits with a line to accompany the photograph (usually from songs, or own reflections) but what the person transmits could defer in people’s perceptions. That’s why I didn’t want to put an emotion, and I chose a phrase or a few words. At the end of the day Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. 

M: Include a photo of a Self-Portrait (any materials acceptable):

M: Love is better than any drug.

Check out more from Monica:


Monday, May 14, 2012

Music Monday: Lucy Rose

I discovered Lucy Rose while I was listening to some acoustic performances on Watch Listen Tell and she blew me away. Well, it's hard not to fall in love with her sweet voice. When I listen to Lucy, flowers, warm sunshine and butterflies fill up my heart.

Lucy Rose is an English singer/songwriter from Warwickshire. She is currently recording her debut album and contributed vocals on the Bombay Bicycle Club albums Flaws and A Different Kind of Fix.

'Night Bus'

'All I've got'

'Red Face'

...more from Lucy on:

Official website

Hope you loved it,

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Perks of being Twenteen

Even if I keep telling everyone it’s “one year closer to death” and blah-blah (not joyful at all I know, don’t hold it against me), I LOVE BIRTHDAYS. I mean, who doesn’t? And seeing I’m a hidden birthday lover, I can truly say that EVERYBODY adore birthdays. Super giant cake, tons of gifts, great music, all the people you care about gathered in the same place... 
In short, FUN, FUN, FUN! 

Well, I’m turning 20 in 18 hours, and I’m so excited! However, I don’t like the idea of not being a teenager anymore. Peter Pan once said to Wendy: “Come with me where you’ll never, never have to worry about grown up things”. I know that, at some point, in the not-so-distant future, I would have to start worrying about grown up things. But I am not ready to grow up. Not. Ready. At. All. 
Peter, won't you take me to Neverland with you? Yes? No? 
Guess I'm already too old. 

But just because I will no longer be a teenager doesn’t mean I can’t be careless and irresponsible, does it? I must have a few years of pranks left in me. I begrudge being told that I am too old for something, or that it’s time to start acting like an adult. While I am well aware that I now have responsibilities, I am not too keen on taking life all too seriously. 
I vow, then, to enjoy being Twenteen

Twenteen is this marvellous age where you can enjoy all of the benefits of living on your own, spending your money how you want to and staying out as late as you want without feeling the need to justify your decisions to anybody. Twenteen is that wonderful empowerment of knowing that you are in control of your own future and that it can be whatever you want it to be. Twenteen is being able to sing One Direction songs at the top of your lungs at 3 am pretending you're part of Glee Cast and start a giant food battle in the middle of your kitchen/living room —now it’s your house so who is going to tell you you’re being immature or silly? Except maybe your housemates, which means they are a) boring or b) grown up. Fortunately, my flatmate appears to be my little sister who knows me for a while now and didn't kill me/herself. So we're all good. 

Unfortunately, getting older is inevitable. And to think that the brutal jump for your teenage years to the ones of a true man, like Barack Obama or Ryan Gosling, is only separated by one day is so depressive. Thus whilst I am not willing to let go of my teens and embrace my twenties, I intend to have a lot of fun finding that somewhere in between. But I'm wondering something... 

If I stay awake all night before the D day, can I stick with what I am now? 
Fingers crossed. 

Let me be forever young,

P.S: Peter, if you ever read that (do they have Internet access in Neverland?), I'll tell you what I want for my B-day. Help me stay forever young!! No? I even let you kidnap me. Pretty please? I'm not going to tell my mom, I promise. Still no? You little leprechaun! I hope Captain Hook will catch you and feed you to the crocodiles.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Make Your Life a Masterpiece

“Live life to the fullest.  You have to color outside the lines once in a while if you want to make your life a masterpiece.  Laugh some everyday. Keep growing, keep dreaming, and keep following your heart.”
- Albert Einstein

Living life to the fullest is enjoying life today, right now. Enjoy every minute of every day by making the most of what you have. And if you loose something in the process, let it go.
Nietzsche once said: "That which does not kill us makes us stronger". If you do not let it become an obstacle to your growth, it will strengthen you so you'll be able to accomplish whatever you want.

We are only humans, we all make mistakes. But it doesn't have to stop you from believing in yourself. You need to hold on that dream and keep moving. 

Think POSITIVE. Try again. Fail Better. Laugh at your mistakes, but learn from them. Take life as it is, but don't take it too seriously, and HAVE FUN more than anything.

This is YOUR life. 
So Live. Dream. Love. Fail. Laugh. Repeat.

Make your life extraordinary.

Carpe Diem,

Monday, May 7, 2012

Music Monday: Foster The People

Well, I  was in Paris last weekend to see Foster The People performing at the Bataclan.
I've followed this band since 2010, after Pumped Up Kicks' release, and it slowly became one of my favorite bands. I couldn't miss the opportunity to see them live. So my sister bought me their concert tickets as a gift for Christmas.

And what a gig! It was DOPE. A band I've never heard of before that night was opening for them. It's called Mini Mansions and you can check it out here. Pretty cool band.

Here are the music videos of FTP live performance. Put on playlist mode and see the awesomeness by yourself.

For those of you who still don't know who Foster The People are... shame on you! JK. But since I'm super nice and in a great mood, I'm gonna enlighten you.
FTP is an indie rock trio who make atmospheric, psychedelic, (and other ending in "-ic" adjectives) dance-oriented pop. Formed in LA in 2009, the band features keyboardist/vocalist Mark Foster, bassist Jacob "Cubbie" Fink, and drummer Mark Pontius. Two musicians, Isom Innis and Sean Cimino, also tour with the band (you can see 5 people on stage, so don't worry you don't have any vision problem).
In 2011, the band released its full-lenght debut album, Torches, available on iTunes and Amazon.

After the show, we joined up with the band at LE TIGRE by l'Alternative where they're planning to DJ till dawn.

Don't need to tell you it was one of the best night of my life so far. I can now cross one more thing off my Bucket List.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tarzan, French Riviera and (nearly) Best Cycling Award

Dear people who say you can never forget how to ride a bike, I'm gonna tell you a secret: I've forgotten how to ride one.
I said it. And I'd like to think I'm the exception to the rule —well, it makes me feel less worried about Alzheimer and stuff.

But thanks to my dear friends who always support me, my bike riding issue is not on the agenda anymore (and I must admit friends are quite scary when they turn into Iron Ladies).
Let me tell you how I overcame my fear/weakness/exception-to-the-rule in one weekend.

A month ago, one of my closest friends called me saying she was booking our next weekend in Canyon Forest, a high ropes course, on the occasion of her cousin arrival to France.
My first thought was: "Cool! What am I going to wear? I need to go shopping."
But then I realized I had no effing idea what we were supposed to do there.
I called her back and she told me it's a physical activity, a kind of obstacle course, so I had to wear sweatpants + T-shirt. Great. I hate sports. 
From then on, I was obsessed with finding the ultimate sportswear —if my friends are reading this I'm pretty sure they're laughing at me, AGAIN — so I'm gonna skip the part where I tell you how I found the perfect pair of sneakers. 
I was finally ready to face that Canyon Forest shit. 

Then, I travelled to Nice (we were all meeting up there), and I wasn't prepared AT ALL for what came next. 
As we all know, Karma is a bitch and it could't give me a break for a not-so-peaceful weekend with my friends now, could it?
As I was unpacking, my friend really dropped a bomb when she told me we had 10 min of bike riding in order to reach the course. I wanted to fake a stomach flu, but was too tired for that, so I simply told her the embarrassing truth.
I couldn't ride a bike. 
She smiled and said I had an afternoon to remember. 

We went to The Promenade des Anglais, and after several minutes of struggling to rent a bicycle, I was finally standing next to my giant blue bike on the cycling path. It took me exactly 53 min to learn how to ride a bike again: 50 min of stillness —me almost crying over the hopeless situation, my friend shouting I could do it — and 3 min of actual pedaling. 

The following day, we all went to Canyon Forest. And the crucial moment came when the counselor lead us toward our bicycles, telling us to follow him.
There was a big problem though. It had rained the whole week and the course was VERY muddy, to say the least. But we carried on.
I mean, hello? I can't pedal through a river! I learned how to ride a bike 18 hours ago for crying out loud! Nobody cared. 
My bike stopped right there as I couldn't pedal anymore. I had water just over the ankle. My sneakers were definitely screwed. And the worst was yet to come.
After that incident, my one pedal was completely stuck and, as I freaked out, I hit the mountainside. My left hand was bleeding like hell. Well, I was a mess.
The odds were definitely not in my favor. 
Nevertheless, I managed to reach the others safe and sound and we started the obstacle course.
High ropes adventure involves climbing on trees, crossing weird wood bridges, getting through barrels hanging in mid-air, riding zip wires... Tarzan style. In short, a very exhausting activity to which I've taken part for only 15 min. I couldn't feel my arms anymore. And I've fallen from a tree. Twice.
But don't worry, you're being tied with ropes. So falling doesn't kill you.

On the way back, I had no problem riding my bike. The landscape was just gorgeous and I really enjoyed it. 

Glad to say I'm no longer the exception to the rule,