Christmas wishlist

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Când mă intreabă cineva ce îmi doresc de ziua mea sau de Crăciun aproape niciodată nu știu ce să spun on the spot. Așa că anul acesta am zis să formez o listă din timp. Am făcut un fișier pe telefon unde mi-am notat, timp de câteva săptămâni, mai multe idei. Let’s start this Christmas wishlist!

Cu ce aș putea începe lista dacă nu cu niște lecturi de sezon. Acestea sunt alegerile mele: Continuă lectura „Christmas wishlist”

Burberry si prima reclama de Craciun

Azi e 1 noiembrie. Da, mă gândesc că știi deja. Numai dacă nu cumva te-a doborât răceala și patul ți-e cel mai bun companion acum. Oi fi eu captain obvious, but I have a point. Continuă să citești. Vei vedea ca nu e ceva foarte lung. Un soi de update.

Având în vedere că nebunia cu Halloween-ul e pe sfârșite și că magazinele încep să își facă stocul de produse pentru Crăciun, pot să încep să nu mă mai simt așa de vinovată că ascult cântece de Crăciun deja de vreo 2 săptămâni. Găsesc consolare în faptul că celmai probabil nu sunt singura care deja face asta. Dar acum începe să fie ok, nu? Suntem în luna noiembrie și toată luna asta e practic încâlzirea pentru nebunia ce va fi in decembrie. Agitația ce va urma nu mă încântă neapărat, însă fiind una dintre perioadele mele preferate din an trebuie sa fac coping cu acest lucru. It’s a given. Just like the shopping for gifts craze. Care e alt lucru care nu ma încântă. Însă nu despre asta e acest articol.

Azi s-a întâmplat ceva care să înceapă să facă simțit spiritul sărbătorii și la fel și atmosfera magică a acesteia. A apărut prima reclamă de sezon. Luând în considerare toate pregătirile care se fac pentru această perioadă, cine mai așteaptă paharele roșii la Starbucks să ridice mâna sus, eu în fiecare an astept, tot cu atâta nerăbdare, să văd reclamele și cu ce idei au mai venit brandurile. Unele dintre cele mai faine vin din UK, a se vedea cele de la John Lewis care sunt absolut minunate din toate punctele de vedere, plus că e garantat că vei asculta melodia pe repeat.

N-am scris eu multe despre advertising aici pe blog, dar e un subiect care îmi stârnește interesul și despre care citesc, la un moment dat chiar eram tentată de idea de a studia psihologia reclamei, având deja un background în psihologie. Anul trecut am facut un articol cu reclame de sezon, mai toate din UK însă. Anul acesta o să fiu atentă să-mi lărgesc orizontul.

Chiar dacă nu îți plac reclamele în general, cred că nu poți rămâne indiferent la un clip bine făcut, care știe cum să te atingă și, să fim sinceri, să te șantajeze emoțional. Pe lânga cele care încearcă (și reușesc) să ne stoarcă lacrimi, am o apreciere și pentru cele care se folosesc de umor în așa fel încât să rămână în strânsă legătură, totuși, cu spiritul sărbătorilor. Exemple de ambele părți poți vedea în articolul pe care l-am compus anul trecut (aici).

Reclama despre care ziceam că am văzut-o azi, e o reclamă de la Burberry, brand care anul acesta își celebrează istoria, tradiția și 160 de ani de existență. Au reușit să facă un spot tare bun, zic eu, care poate foarte bine să fie considerat ca fiind un trailer pentru un film despre viața lui Thomas Burberry, fondatorul acestui brand și al faimosului trench coat. Reclama o poți vedea mai jos. Vizionare plăcută!

Sibiu Christmas Market

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Last year we went to Vienna as a pre-Christmas vacation to visit what we didn’t manage to visit the first two times we went there, but also to see the beautiful Christmas markets as the previous two times we went at another time of the year and didn’t manage to experience what was a proper seasonal market with tempting sweets, drinks and beautiful handcrafted ornaments.

This year we kept it local and went just a few hours out of Cluj, to a Christmas market that is much admired in the country and is hosted by one of the prettiest cities in Romania and one of the must-visit ones.

The weather is not exactly wintery in the country as one would expect it to be. We usually had snow near Christmas, but this year it is warmer than usual. Therefore, no snow. So a Christmassy atmosphere was exactly what the Christmas elves ordered so as to get that Christmas spirit going. I also wanted to get some nice shots to share with you.

It was a very chill kind of day, we just walked around the city centre, enjoying tasty drinks and food, taking some snaps and sticking for the magic atmosphere that the fairy lights threw over the Christmas market once the night came. As you’ll see below, it was quite a beautiful sight.

Have you written to Santa yet? 

Christmas adverts

December is upon us and so are all things Christmas, much to the excitement of those who love this season of cheer and magic. From seasonal sweets, drinks, Christmas movies on TV, carols on radio stations and cities covered in fairy lights, everywhere you look the Universe conspires to get that Christmas spirit running through you. I cannot say I do not enjoy all these things, being a lover of this season too, but there are a few more things I enjoy through the month of December and those are the Christmas adverts.

  • Coca-Cola

You only have to ask people excited for Christmas and they’ll tell you how the jolly season starts when the Coca-Cola Christmas advert starts running on TV. For many years (at least in Romania) they had that advert with Santa and the iconic Coca-Cola truck with the song “Holidays are coming”, but I personally enjoy the new one from the US a bit more. I like how they used popular beliefs and sayings, turned them around and made them work for the brand and for the whole “Share a Coke” idea stating things like:

·         “Nothing in life is for free.”

·         “Don’t believe everything you’re told.”

·         “Nothing lasts forever.”

They apply them to specific situations and proving them wrong. I thought it was on point and very relatable.

  • Sainsbury’s

Another lovely advert comes from the UK and one of their supermarket chains (second largest chain in the UK) called Sainsbury’s, which this year brought to life a very much loved children’s book character, a cat named Mog. So cuddly and yet so prone to trouble as you will see below. In a behind the scenes video it is talked about how challenging it was to deliver feeling and emotion only through the cat’s look and facial expressions as the character can’t speak. I think they absolutely nailed it.

  • John Lewis

The next one, that I want to tell you about, is the most emotional one. It comes from John Lewis, a department store, a brand that each year manages to get the advert’s song stuck in my head for months. Yes, I’ve been following their adverts every year since 2012 and I enjoyed each and every one. The one from this year also raises awareness regarding elderly people, making a strong point in reminding us to value everyone in our lives: “Show someone they’re loved this Christmas.”

  • Curry’s PC World

Now I’ll jump to an advert that is on the funny side, just to lighten up the mood set by the John Lewis one. It’s actually a series of adverts all under the slogan: ‘Spare the act.” It’s a campaign by Curry’s PC World that focuses on the receiving of gifts and on the interactions between people during Christmas. Did you ever receive a gift you did not like and had a hard time putting a smile on your face as to not hurt the person that gave it to you? Do you have trouble pretending that certain food, one of your relatives or your friends made, is good when it actually isn’t, but you want to avoid unwanted chats at the Christmas table? Well, no worries then: Jeff Goldblum is here to save the day and teach you how to act to keep things running smoothly through the holiday season.

  • Mulberry

The last one I chose is a rather daring one, but equally as funny as it reaches to the very well-known nativity scene where the three wise man come to baby Jesus with gifts and wonder at the miracle. What brings people together now in celebration, in a bit of an exaggerated manner as one guy in the advert says himself, is a bag. A Mulberry bag that is. The thing is, it is not just a bag and anyone who has a hard time accepting this will attract unwanted looks. I think this advert is the one that stands mostly out of the crowd between all the other Christmas ads. It’s a Mulberry miracle.

  • I enjoy adverts

I am one of those people who doesn’t really mind watching adverts and gets excited when stumbles over a good one, one that I actually enjoy and feels very “spot on”. One might say “Why get so excited for an advert? It’s just there to get you to buy that specific product and on top of that constantly interrupts your favourite programme or movie.” Yes, that is true. I do not enjoy having a movie being interrupted in the middle of an interesting scene either. But if I see an ad I actually like, I can’t help but think about the brainstorming process, the debates that the team in charge had to have to that point of deciding how the ad will be. Or when did that “AHA!” moment happen for the person that came up with the main idea and how. That is pretty fascinating to me. And if the ad also has a good song then I’m hooked, because it will keep playing in my head and maybe go onto my iPod playlist.

During the Christmas season many brands get into the competition for customers and customers’ attention. Not all manage to put together an ad with a thoughtful or catchy idea that might be cliché, but is represented in such a way that it feels new all over again. That’s why I chose the above ads: they either stuck with me from the first viewing, either nailed the cliché Christmas related slogan, either had a great song or managed to stand out of the crowd in the right way.

  • Final thoughts

Ads like these are ads that might actually make me not push the “skip” button on websites, unless I’ve watched them on YouTube way too many times and has become unhealthy. Also, ads like these get beyond just being regular ads and are also great video content as many have a lot of money invested in things like animation as the one from Sainsbury’s has with the lovely cat Mog (here’s a behind the scenes video). Or the one from John Lewis with the man on the moon and all those space shots, that also stands as a raising awareness campaign for „Age UK” which goes to show that it is not just about selling, but also about helping people that might specifically have a hard time during the holidays. I am a bit curious how many people actually act on it after seeing ads like these that also promote some sort of charity because they can be pretty high in emotion and can make an impact.

Which one is your favourite advert?

Do you enjoy adverts in general?

10 Gift Ideas for Last Minute Christmas Shopping

 

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Choosing gifts can be many times a “risky business” because your inspiration might be running low and maybe you have to buy something for a person you don’t know that well. You can also go into a store and be overwhelmed by choices and don’t know what exactly to choose to also be of some use and not tossed in a corner and forgotten or maybe being passed to someone else.

I admit it:

I love reading. So when people ask me what to get me as a gift I usually say books. If it’s in a form of an e-book for my Kindle it’s even better. For me it’s a winner. If you are not into reading books I recommend you read my blog post where I wrote about reading. Also feel free to share your opinion on it.

If you don’t know what to buy for a dear one for Christmas, I think one of the best ideas is to buy books. At least that’s what I do. In thinking what kind of book to buy, I try first to find out what that person would like, maybe she/he already told me what she/he wants to read, or maybe has a certain interest in a certain subject, or likes a TV series a lot or a movie that is a book adaptation. So, I compiled a list of10 gift ideas for book, tried and tested, for you to be inspired on your last minute Christmas shopping.

1.

Cecelia Ahern is very fit for your mom, sister or a girlfriend who enjoys a light, heartwarming story. Cecelia’s books are always an easy and pleasant read. I recommend “P.S. I love you” or “The Gift” (fit for the holiday season).

2.

John Green is very popular as this year we saw “The fault in our stars” on the big screen. It was the adaptation of the best seller book with the same title. His books fit in the Young Adult category.

3.

“The diary of a young girl – Anne Frank” is a must read for anyone. Maybe you heard about it as it is a famous journal of a teenage Jewish girl who hid with her family from the Nazis during the Second World War, but their hiding place was sadly discovered.

4.

Jamie Oliver’s cook books are a must for people who enjoy cooking and also an inspiration for those who consider cooking more than a hobby.

5.

Mark Z. Danielewski is the author for those who are fond of mysteries and puzzles. His book “House of leaves” will leave you wondering about that strange story a long time after you finished reading it.

6.

If you are looking for more practical and motivational books I recommend “The magic of thinking big“ by David J. Schwartz and “The confidence course: seven steps to self-fulfillment” by Walter Anderson.

7.

“Harry Potter” is a series, written by J. K. Rowling, of 7 books and movies full of magic that are a delight for kids and adults alike.

8.

Irvin Yalom is a psychiatrist who I heard has great talent writing fiction. What I read of his is a book on the fear of death called “Staring at the sun”. Very educational and thought provoking.

9.

“House and psychology” and “House and philosophy” are the perfect choice for a fan of the TV series “House MD” as they deal with the character Gregory House, his behavior and what makes him unique.

10.

Yann Martel’s “Life of Pi” is a lovely story about a boy who spent a long time in the middle of the ocean with a full grown tiger in the same boat as him. It is also a story about courage, faith and how to tell a good story.

Happy Holidays! 

Inspiration in the big city

find inspiration in the big city

find inspiration in the big city by olga-sia featuring xmas ornaments

For me, the third time around, Vienna didn’t really seem that foreign. I mean of course, there are the obvious differences between a truly European developed city capital and a medium sized city such as Cluj-Napoca that slowly takes its steps towards being more like Vienna, for example, being more organized and good looking, cleaner, more entertaining and cultural. But even though I visited some new parts of the city, it didn’t feel like such a cultural shock. I can say that I kind of felt like home. Everything felt normal and into the right place.

This time of the year, parts of Vienna are very dreamy as the city is set for Christmas with fairy lights and multiple markets where temptations, especially in terms of desserts, are at every step. At night it can suddenly become very magical, more so if you try to detach from the crowd of people visiting and enjoy the warmth and strong flavour of mulled wine with some seasonal spiced biscuits while also listening to Christmas music.

It’s nice to be in a city where every walk is a pleasurable one, because of the surroundings, even though at the end, among other things, you are also left tired and with a pair of sore legs. What I mostly enjoyed this time around visiting Vienna, was going to two art museums. A few years ago I was more interested in seeing how crowned heads lived. But this time it gotten in my head that I wanted to see art. So it was only natural that I went to visit The Art History Museum and The Albertina Museum. Both are great places to see, places where you can easily get “lost” for at least two hours and where you can witness great art because you have the opportunity to see paintings by great artists such as Velásquez, Picasso, Monet, Rembrandt, Dürer, Modigliani and many more.

Standing in line to buy a ticket at the Albertina Museum, a young woman came to ask me (and many more) if I would like to fill in a questionnaire for a study she was doing. Knowing how I struggled with research for my master’s degree I figured I would help her in her quest because the help would be much appreciated and it wouldn’t take so much time to do that. The funny thing is I am almost convinced she must have been studying psychology because the form of the questionnaire and the way the statements sounded were too familiar. So I began to fill it in and it made me very aware of some feelings that I don’t think I gave to much thought to, until then. And those were related to the way art made you feel.

At the moment I am writing this for you it is very late and that is probably why I can’t really tell you if there actually is something else that feels similar to how it is seeing, in real life, a famous painting that you previously knew about and liked, for the first time. It is a feeling a bit hard to describe, but it was a moment in which I couldn’t really articulate many words, just a “wow”. I was amazed. But amazed in truly the sense from the dictionary. I just stood there in front of it, not being able to say much for several seconds, only “I did not think it was this big.” Silly thing, right? (And I also know it sounds like a “that’s what she said” thing. So let’s get past the innuendo and move on further.)

The painting I am talking about is one that was on the cover of one of my Spanish textbooks from high school that, since then, it kind of stuck with me, I don’t know why. I am not that art educated so it was not things like technique or lighting or use of colour that attracted me specifically to it. It just got stuck in my head then and there. The painting is “Las Meninas” by Velásquez. It was a feeling I won’t forget easily, even if by that point, when I arrived at the painting, my legs where already sore from walking through galleries and my back also hurt because I stood so much up. In those first seconds of seeing the painting there was only awe and no pain. Art can do that to you.

So yes, even though I saw Vienna for a third time it was a great experience once again. That city has greatness, culture to last you for weeks, sweets to indulge from, walks to assure a good night sleep and also magic to make you dream, to inspire you and also to get that Christmas spirit flowing through you as the holiday season is just around the corner.

In the hope I did not bore you with the many words above, here I have for you a few pictures I took at the Christmas market from the City Hall.

 

 

 

 

Have
you visited Vienna? Do you plan to? Tell me in the comments.