Wednesday, 13 April 2016

How to use smart reminders to stay organized

My favorite way to have access to and read about the subjects I'm interested in is to subscribe to newsletters from people that make it their job to be great in different areas of expertise.

Of one the projects I'm following with great interest for equally great advice is Get Organized Wizard

I'm periodically receiving by e-mail suggestions of how to be better organized: an area that is always challenging to me given that on a daily basis there is so much to do and so little time.

So a few days ago I received an e-mail on how to use smart reminders to get organized (the title of the blog is the title of their actual advice session).

So I'll take the opportunity to share its content with you:


If your memory fails you constantly there are a few tricks you can do to help you be better organized. We call them, smart reminders.

Here are some examples of smart reminders that will help you to be prompted at the right time!
* Don’t want to forget your water bottle when you go to the gym, but right now the dishwasher’s running? Turn your gym bag upside down.
* Gotta take something with you? Leave it in front of the door.
* Several calls to make? Put the callee names on post-its and pop them on the phone.
* Keep forgetting to use your gift certificate? Put it in your wallet – in front of your credit card or cash.
* Wan't to stop night-time snacking? Put those motivating photos right on the fridge/pantry door.

Until next week, stay happy and organized!

It sounds so simple but yet so efficient. I'll start trying this and let you know how it turns out. In the meantime, could you please share what other ideas you use so you keep yourself on track with your busy schedule?

If you liked their approach and with to receive similar suggestions, you can subscribe to their newsletter by visiting the page Get Organized Wizard

Note: The title of this post and the content of the e-mail belong to Get Organized Wizard and were not altered by me
The picture was found via Pinterest
This post is not sponsored

Friday, 11 March 2016

10 really cool ads that stick with you

Are you an ads addict? I know I am. I like most the ones in the magazines I read.

Least...the ones on TV, because I find them more invasive - they interrupt whatever you are watching, you can't avoid them unless you change the channel and they are on repeat quite a lot.

There are some that are really smart and catchy but most of them...not so much.

I've found via Pinterest some very original and disturbing ads people chose to promote their message. Cool ideas indeed!

I just couldn't stop laughing when I found this one. Priceless! :D

Simple but effective

I like the optical illusion created here. Wraps the new product very nicely

I found a lot of strong, even shocking ads against smoking. The visual game played by this one is the best for me so far

Isn't this the best way to you the already existent decor? :) I would say heck yes!

Simply genius :)

This one really sends some chills down my spine. Belt up!

I like it a lot that campaigns against drinking and driving got more creative and went beyond just telling the people you shouldn't do so and so. This kind of visuals stick so much better.

Fireworks? No! Pasta? Yes! Nice one Barilla!

Note: All pictures listed above have been found via Pinterest. You can see all the awesome stuff I found via Pinterest by following by boards here:

Friday, 4 March 2016

Point of view: Society double standards toward women

As a keen observer of what happens around me, I noticed that on many occasions society has some double standards regarding women, which make our lives quite difficult at times, especially at work, but also on a personal level.

For example, I've seen from the interactions around me that when a man fights to sustain his argument he is often seen as strong - people expect that kind of reaction from guys. But in the same discussion, a woman is expected to be nice, sympathetic towards others and seek the middle ground to make everybody happy, instead of fighting in the same way.

But, when a woman doesn't speak up for herself in an argument, she is likely to be perceived as weak. If she speaks up however, she has high chances to be seen as having diva-like behavior. The effects of this behavior are most visible professionally but affects personal life quite a lot too.

Also, when a woman is angry, rumor has that she's in period of the month. (sigh and sigh some more...) but when a man is angry, people don't find it so unusual or give it such a bad vibe.

And the examples can go on.

It makes me very happy to observe that more and more young girls today are witty, opinionated, they fight for their rights and their beliefs, will not take no for an answer and will not accept someone's arguments only because the discussion partner is a dude but because he might actually have a point.

I've noticed that society changes. Slowly, but it does. In some (possibly quite many) years from now the same society might expect women to fight more for their rights and beliefs and be opinionated instead of just being team players and mediators.

In the light of my blunt introduction above, I feel I need to mention this: I do not hate or dislike men. Not at all. Most of my friends are guys. I am married and have a son.

So what do you do you were raised to be the nice person in the room, even when you don't feel like it? How do you handle the moments when you feel you are at disadvantage? Please let me know.

My advice is to aim to be very good at whatever it is you are doing. People can gossip regarding your gender, looks, finances, sexual preference, opinions but results are harder to dismiss.
Here is a list of suggestions:


When they are angry and shouting, guys have a scientifically proven advantage: their deep voice. The male voice goes has a low frequency and the woman voice goes into goes into a high frequency.
What does it all mean to be more procise? It means that a woman's voice when shouting will sound quite bad to the ears because of the high frequency of the voice and will make people wanna keep distance instead of listening what the person has to say. A man's voice will get people's attention because deep voices are well...more attention catching.
So how do we get past this disadvantage (when you can, cause if you're really angry nothing will actually matter in that very moment) I use a thing I call cold anger: I raise my voice just enough to be noted that I did it, but not so much as to shout. And I try to present my argument by looking my discussion partner(s) in the eye, talking slowly and articulating carefully each word. It works better if you can control yourself to not use a lot of gestures so that people will listen to what you have to say and not be distracted.


Women tend to apologize much more than men, even when it's not their fault. If you've done something wrong, then you need to apologize and that's that. But unless you should really be sorry for what you just did, don't say that "S" word.:) Why? Because saying you are sorry all the time says you've done something wrong. And especially in the work environment, people who leave the impression they make mistakes all the time are not seen very well.


Women tend to accept bad behavior from others just to calm the situation and not upset others. I'm returning to my earlier point that many women were taught since childhood to be nice, accommodating and develop strong motherly traits like always taking care how other people feels, even when it means accepting not OK behavior like screaming or not so nice words: because the other person was angry but they are good people, because they are the boss, etc.

If someone treats you badly, be firm, polite and refuse to accept being treated in a way you don't like. If you accept to be treated badly by someone, other people might think it's acceptable and might do it too. Plus: your self esteem will not be doing very good in time. We can't change society perceptions overnight, but starting to say no in a firm positive way is a good place to start.


Not really related to the points above but I find it worth mentioning: women are not expected to be good in male dominated fields, driving being one of them. So I feel most women "rise" to the expectation. I don't know about you, but I've lost count of the jokes and and stories guys (mostly) were telling about the bad driving habits of women (from the way they behave in traffic to the way they park).

If you have a car and don't feel comfortable driving it, go drive alone (so you don't have a nagging someone around telling you what you do wrong) around the city when you can so you can get better accustomed with it. Try "feeling" the car, its size, how it reacts when you drive it, how it feels when you make turns. Try this until you feel comfortable climbing a hill or getting out of a tight space. Go to a supermarket's parking lot when it's empty to practice parking. You don't have to become the next Michael Schumacher of the city roads, but if you're driving, please do it right.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

How does the future look like to you?

Have you ever wondered how will the world look like in some decades from now? I think about that quite often, with mixed feelings: with awe because I'm a very curious person and I love how new discoveries in all science areas improve our lives, and with a lil bit of fear (ok insert a little bit more fear here) because well...I'm gonna have many more years behind me. I do imagine myself as a sexy (yup yup), witty, elegant old lady but...the fear feeling is still there. Now...brushing off melancholy, I'm gonna go to the more fun part of this story. I'm gonna tell ya all boys and girls, what I imagine we'll find in this mysterious future of ours: In about 20 years from now...


1. The first that comes to mind is actually a classic one: I think all cars will be able to drive themselves (the option exists nowadays but it is not widespread) and people will be allowed less and less to take manual control of their vehicles. I thought about this ever since I saw this cool 2004 Will Smith movie I,robot (a must see if you're asking me) where this very concept was introduced. It would definately solve a lot of issues, like having to get a driver's license, saying no that beer with friends because need to drive home afterwards.

However, like with all things, I like the idea of having a choice over what you want to do. There are many people around me that truly enjoy driving as a way to relax. For me, my car means only a means of transportation (a really nice one though): I really appreciate the protection it offer in rainy or snowy days or when I'm just running late, but...driving it not one of the areas I'm most passionate about. I prefer when someone else does it (like with public transport) because I get a little bit more time to read, chat with my lady friends, read the news or check my Facebook account. :)


Knowing how to code in some language will be as important as it is right now being able to do basic operations on a computer. Since we use technology more and more in our everyday lives (most of our work day is spent in front of a computer), I think it will be just as normal (and expected) to be able to communicate with that technology in a way it can understand and respond. For many folks, the thought is totally scary. But, try thinking of it as learning a new foreign language. If you get past the idea that coding is just for geeky geniuses that live in a totally different universe, it might even get a little bit fun. (don't start throwing with those eggs at me just yet :p)
I admit, this is something still on my goal list so I'm not quite there either. But...still on the list.


We could be able to see TV shows like 3d holograms. Imagine how it could be to be virtually in the first row at a designer presentation or if you're a guy, to be able to actually be in the middle of a football game with the players running all around you. Crazy!

If that sounds totally like chinese to you (assuming you don't know Chinese, that is) you can get a grasp of what I'm talking about here.

Fun game idea for you or to play with the little ones: Did you know you can create a basic 3d hologram with your phone? If you're curious, you can find the how-tos here.


3D printed organs will be used as mass market solution to a very wide range of purposes: from printing our clothes based on a file sent by the online shops you like (instead of waiting for days in a row to be shipped that hopefully perfect fit dress), to solve the issues caused by long transplant lists, as all organs will be created to be compatible with one's DNA (which, to be honest, is such an awesome thing).
Even building and decorating a house will be "affected". Imagine how awesome it will be to see that perfect coffee table "being born" in your living room and under your eyes. Honestly, I can't wait for this stuff to become more affordable and commonly used. My wardrobe is waaaaaiting :)
Note: 3d printing (for objects, medical purposes, etc) exists nowadays but it is not mass affordable or mass known.


Last but not least on the list:my son Levi will be 20 years old... A cool guy just finishing college, going to Uni and heading to his very own path in life. Sigh! OMG! This thought makes me go fill myself a glass of good wine. Cheers to that!

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

10 Posts that inspired me last year

Every year I make some time to go through all the stuff I've saved during the 12 months that passed, make some cleaning through them, delete the things that don't really represent my way of thinking anymore and re-read the inspiring ones. I've saved stuff coming from very different domains: from things that might inspire me in my work, to travel destinations or how to better understand the people around me.


Excerpt: "Want to know what happens to people who spend their whole lives dreaming about fame and fortune, reading about others’ success and accomplishments, and following a who’s who of the influential elite in the hope that some of their magic will rub off them? Not a whole lot. Dreaming, reading, and following will get you nowhere. The only way to achieve any of that stuff is by doing." True, true and true again.


I read this multiple times and there are so many things that are worth mentioning here that I couldn't find only a brief sneak peak to share. If you have small kiddos, this is a sad but useful read.


This wow list of location makes me start budget planning and start searching for cheap plane ticket flights. Sigh...


For those moments we all have from time to time :)


I don't normally belive in horoscopes but it lifts my spirits when people tell me good things will happen in the future for me, that I'm gonna suceed at what I'm working on, that I'm gonna be even more loved and cherised. It brings positive motivation - and this is something everyone needs once in a while. Whenever I read a horoscope telling me bad stuff, I go search for another one with a nicer vibe :). You should try it too!


All of them are pretty awesome but I totally loved the chip which stops you from slouching. Added to my wishlist!


When I read this kind of articles I feel like I'm already living in the future. And it's a very nice feeling to have. I love how new discoveries help us improve the quality of life in such ways that I sometimes couldn't even imagine. I can't wait to hear that we'll be able to save our memories when we get old and insert them in a healthier body after we die. Kinda SF? :) Maybe, but it's worth a thought.


One of the reasons I started blogging was to get better at communicating a message to people I don't know which is useful and catchy. An except from this article illustrates this perfectly: "If I want to learn more about a given subject in a week than I could in a year, all I have to do is write a blog post. And then look at the comments. I'm not doing it just for the story or to get attention. I'm doing it for the takeaway." Blogging is a catalyst for learning. Blogging provides you the opportunity to research a topic, think critically to condense your research and thoughts into an actionable takeaway, and then make that takeaway available internally for colleagues or externally for customers."


This is one of the things I am thinking of a lot lately. I think that in let's say 15 years being technology fluent will be as important as being able to speak English (if you live like I do in a country where English is not the native language). Since we depend more and more on technology in our everyday life, it makes total sense to try to have some understanding of it. This article is worth taking a look.


I find this article very useful especially for women: We (me included) tend to always apologize about everything: even when we have nothing to apologize for. It's good thing to own your mistakes when the situation happens, however it is not so ok to use the S word as a way too often in your communication with others. Because when you apologize all the time you leave the impression that you act like you make mistakes all the time.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Motherhood around the world

"As a new mom I feel compelled to read every piece baby literature I can get my hands on, in order to try (emphasis on try) better understand what's going on with the newest resident of my household: my three months and a half Levi. I guess this is a new fear present in my head around the clock nowadays: what if I miss doing something my little one would need in order to evolve into the best version of himself? And what if years and years from now he'll come back to me asking "Why? But why..?!". Insert big gulp from my part and smell of brain on fire while ...nothing eloquent comes out of my mouth. Nightmarish scenario, I'm telling you. I know I pulled this one out with my I kinda feel I have it coming. :)

As you can probably guess from the introduction, I'm following (maybe even virtual stalking a little bit) a lot of people more in-the-know than I am for information. One of these people I very much like to read from is Joanna Goddard&team aka I follow her posts via (think of it as blog heaven for the lazy - where you can read all the new stuff from your fav blogs).

She posted a most wonderful series called "Motherhood around the world" where mothers from everywhere share their experience on how it is to live, give birth, raise a child, etc in the country they currently live in. I found it very fascinating and refreshing. And even more than that, I found it comforting, which was exactly what I needed. While reading post after post after post I had some "A-haa!" moments from time to time seeing that there is no unique right way to care for kids - people do it so differently starting from education to food, to play time, to... well everything actually.

Of course all those fears I have will never ever be completely brought to silence (and someday maybe I'll come to better terms with that) but, on the bright side of things (which was about time to make an appearance) I think spending time getting informed and reading such materials help me keep them more in control, which is a totally awesome thing for me to accomplish.

Back to the motherhood series I was just telling you about, some of the opinions were in line with my own beliefs, other less so - I am still a product of the way I was raised to see things, but some items are definitely keepers. I've posted below some parts that I'd like to revisit in the future.


Note: The excerpts and pictures below have been taken from


"On napping outdoors: Even in the thick of winter when temperatures are below zero, many Swedish parents put their kids, bundled up in their strollers, outside to nap. They say children sleep longer and better this way and believe the cold and that fresh air is good for a child’s immune system. And here, if you’re sick your doctor will say, open the window when you go to bed at night, fresh air cures all! When I first moved here, I went to meet a friend for coffee in the pouring rain. She told me her baby was asleep outside in the stroller, like it was the most natural thing in the world. His stroller had a waterproof cover, and she could see his stroller outside the window. I realized that it was not actually that crazy when I compared that approach to bringing a wet stroller with a sleeping baby, all bundled up in winter gear, inside a crowded, stuffy cafe, full of germs, trying to find a place to park the stroller, then risking waking him by undressing him so he doesn’t overheat. All of a sudden, leaving him outside seemed like a pretty great option!"


"On teaching self-reliance: Hugo is two, and we recently had a parent/teacher conference with his daycare. The teacher said, “I’m concerned about his coming into the group of older kids.” I asked why, and she said, “He needs to learn to stand up for himself more. When other kids come up and take toys away from him, he just lets it happen.” I was like, well, isn’t that just sharing? And she said, “He needs to either take the toy back or fight. We teachers can’t fight all his battles for him!” I was laughing inside, because it was SO different from how we were socialized as children. In the U.S., we were taught that you have to share, you have to compromise. In Germany, it’s all about self-sufficiency and standing up for your rights. When German friends come over, and Hugo wants to play with something the other kids are playing with, my German friends will say to their kids, “Come on, take it back! Did you not want him to play with it? Go take it back.” It’s not meant to be confrontational or mean in any way. But their emphasis is teaching the child to stand up for himself."

"On non-helicopter parenting: Childhood is a time of freedom and happiness. I see little kids walking or biking to or from school alone all the time. Sometimes on weekends, I’ll see kids in the neighborhood all alone, buying breakfast rolls for their families. Once a kid is around seven or eight years old, parents really encourage more autonomous behavior (that is controlled, obviously). Germans prize independence in children, which can feel a little strange to someone brought up in an American-Italian home (I think my parents would still like to hold my hand while crossing the street and I’m 36). The non-helicopter parenting totally extends into teenagerhood. I remember all my German friends having co-ed sleepovers. When you have a boyfriend or girlfriend, from basically fourteen on, you sleep over at their house in their room, unsupervised. Parents are so much more permissive and trusting—there’s a whole groundwork being laid of self-sufficiency and trust."


"On a diaper-free culture: Babies wear split pants, and they’ll pee and poop on the ground. My American friends say, “I’m so jealous that they potty train sooner,” but the definition of potty training is completely different here. Back home potty training means going on a toilet, whereas here potty training means going on command. It’s more laid back. Chinese moms will hold their baby and whistle, and then the child will go potty on the ground. The other day, while I was walking my daughter to school, we saw two older boys pooping on egg cartons. They’re potty trained to go anywhere—not to wait to hold it and go a toilet. One big bonus: When our kid has to go, we’re not scrambling to find a public restroom."


"On hiring help: I’d never hired a nanny before moving to Abu Dhabi, but now we have full-time help. Our nanny, Tsega, is Ethiopian, and she helps cook, clean and take care of the kids six days a week.

Most domestic help comes from outside the country—Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, the Philippines or Bangladesh—and it’s extremely affordable. People here say “nanny” or “housemaid.” Everyone—both locals and expats—has a housemaid, and often a driver. I’ve seen everyday Emiratis with a maid for each child!

I realize this is a controversial subject for some American women. Among the women I knew in Utah, it was common to have five or six kids and take care of them full-time, with no help. I felt real pressure to have a beautiful meal prepared every night, vacuum lines on the carpet, kids looking like they stepped out of Crewcuts—all while having perky breasts and wearing size 6 skinny jeans. For me, that was impossible. I felt like I was constantly failing. Soon after we moved to Abu Dhabi, our middle child, Asher, was diagnosed with autism, and we hired Tsega because I just couldn’t keep up. She swept in, with her soft gentle voice and impeccable cooking and cleaning skills, and saved us. She gave me TIME! Time to focus on my kids individually; time to actually have date nights with my husband; time to start my own business. Having full-time help has been a huge benefit to living in this city, and it’s something I’ll be sad to give up.

It’s worth mentioning that there has been some local controversy here about housemaids being worked too hard. For example, the Ethiopian government recently stopped allowing the UAE to recruit Ethiopian maids because of reports that they’re literally being asked to work day and night, seven days a week, by local families. I can only speak to my own experience, but we talk often to Tsega about her hours and pay and are very careful to make sure feels she is being treated fairly. I truly feel like she is part of our family and I adore her. Right now we’re paying for her to take computer and English classes so that when we leave, she’ll be in a position to move forward with her career and send more money to her family back home."


On hiring nannies and housekeepers: Jill: We had never hired people to work in our homes before moving to Congo. But it’s expected here for families who are relatively well off to use some of that income to provide work for others.[...]

[...]In Congo, all women are called “Mama So-and-So” out of respect, whether you’re a mother or not. I thought I would be uncomfortable sharing my mama title, but I’m not. It’s a strange relationship—that of nanny and parent and child—but one that is less threatening and more loving than I expected. Now it’s hard to imagine raising children without so many mamas.[...]

"On weight: Jill: There’s no need to step on a scale on the continent of Africa. I know I’m gaining weight when I start getting compliments on my appearance. More specifically, my butt. I’ve been told, with great kindness, that I looked “nice and fat” after returning from a vacation. The tailor who recently made me a dress looked at my lackluster curves and reassured me that she could figure out how to add in boobs and a butt via some magical seams.

Sarah: Recently I took some photos of some of the Mamas in my children’s lives, and Mama Youyou gently brought me Mamitsho’s photo saying, “Madame, umm, hmm, well…Have you seen this photo of Mamitsho? Well, hmm, has she seen it? Is she okay with this?” I told her I thought it was a lovely picture of Mamitsho, and in fact everyone who has seen it comments on how nice she looks. (In retrospect, I guess it was only Americans giving the compliments.)

“Well, Madame, it’s not a good photo,” said Mama Youyou. “She looks skinny. It must be embarrassing for her. You can see her”—and then she yell-whispered—”collarbone!” Body fat is a precious thing here; a sign of nutrition, comfort and a good life.

Jill: The different perspectives on bodies and beauty are something that comes up fairly often. I just read an article in a local magazine about tia foin, the dangerous trend of women using prescription medications to fatten up a bit. It’s the same discussion as we might see in the pages of Marie Claire or Elle about weight-loss drug use among women, but with a completely different spin."


On food: Kids here eat mostly very healthy…tons of rice! Lunch boxes are mainly rice balls—sometimes wrapped in seaweed—with a little egg omelet, sausage and broccoli. The tricky part is that there isn’t labeling like in the U.S. So when you buy eggs or vegetables, you don’t know if they’re organic or not. My husband thinks it’s because all the food is good quality, but it frustrates me not to know. In Brooklyn I was part of a food coop and I bought all organic…Here I just have to close my eyes and buy it!


On marriage: People work a lot fewer hours in Norway than they do in the U.S. For example, my husband works for the government for 37.5 hours per week (8am to 3:45pm, five days a week). That’s typical. Since both parents work, marriage partnerships feel much more equal here. Families tend to eat dinner together around 5pm. The housework is mostly divided, and I don’t know any husband who doesn’t help cook dinner and take care of the kids. I see just as many dads picking up their kids from Barnehage as I do moms.

For the whole series check them on Joanna blog here: Motherhood around the world

I would really love to see a series about Romania too. Thank you for all this wonderful information!

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Food affair: Oven pumpkin

I know Halloween is all over now but when inspiration hits need to let creativity do its thing. So this is how my dear mum welcomed us this week-end..quite a tasty feast, I'm telling you.

And this is how she did it:
* One piece of pumkpin
* 2 tablespoons of sugar
* Decoration: whatever sweet fruits you have available (mum had some raspberries), a tiny little bit of powdered sugar, some pumpkin seeds

Put the 2 tbsp of sugar over the pumpkin slice evenly and put the pumpkin to the oven. Let it cook very slowly for a few hours, and try it from time to time to see when you like the taste. When you like it, take the pumpkin out, add the "eyes" and the "teeth" and enjoy!