Fashion and Inspiration, Home and Travel, Style and Outfits

“These are a few of my favourite things…”

I remeber my first visit to Liberty London. And what I remember best about is not the wonderful things cluttered all around the space but the space itself, the atmosphere created. It was and still is one of my most cherished places in the world, a magical wonderland with squeaky stairs where I wanted to hide behing the ginormous rolls of Turkish carpets and live there forever.

And then there was the first trip to Venice. And well, Venice has a lot of pretty “things” scattered around the floating city! But for me it was the distinct smell of the salty hot air of the laguna that painted a picture of a shabby chic fairy tale into my memories. It was the first time I saw real palm trees and I remeber wanting to jump and clap, like a little girl! The sun was so bright and warm, I’d never felt anything like it.

You know that famous saying “Collect memories not things”, right? It has always come across as a little bit too patronizing or idealistic to me. I mean. Yes, memories are great but it’s even greater if you have someting to trigger and awaken these memories even when time passes and memories tend to fade. 

It’s apricot season. And up until this point I’d never tasted or smelled a fresh apricot. And the smell is intoxicating! It’s the smell of sun-drenched summer and true joie de vivre! And I want to remember this, really remember the feeling of smelling apricots on a hot summer day in Italy!

We need some “things”. We need people, our people around us to create memories with. And we need that warm fuzzy feeling we get inside when we think about that trip to Florence, Paris or London. We need it for happiness and the ability to carry these emotions and memories within us is, for me, the key to happiness. I’ll always have them, I’ll forever cherish them. These “things” – it can be a post card, a dried straw of lavender between a book, a scar you got when you went to wander on the cliffs. 

This is a picture taken today, on Middsummer’s Eve – a composition with apricots. What an amazing “thing” it is to have a photo of something that reminds you of sweet, sweet life. It’s like a proof that it really happened at a time you want to pinch yourself and ask “was it a dream?”. And I hate having useless things laying around the house and I try to live by Madam Westwood’s famous words: “Buy less, choose well, make it last”. But then there are these things, these little loved ones.

I collected some of them, let me introduce you to my favourite cotton scarf from Libery London (2013), sunglasses I got after returning from Venice with a headache caused by the intense sunshine (2011), a beach blanket from a trip to Jesolo (2016), a plate from Aviano vintage market (2017), my grandfather’s old camera that still shoots film (1970s-80s?), a broken strawhat from the local farmers market that made it to America and back (2016) and these   apricots from yesterday. 

“Cherish the love we have

 We should cherish the life we live”

Because,

“When the dog bites,

When the bee stings

When I’m feeling sad

I simply remember my favourite things

And then I don’t feel so bad” 

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Home and Travel, Uncategorized

About Lignano and Las Vegas – the Past and the Future. The Stories, Pictures and Smells from the Journey.

From here to there and everywhere. How does that sound? If you have that little travel bug in you and the urge to see and feel as much of the diversity and saturation of the world as you possibly can in your limited time on this planet as a human, then that first sentence should kind of sound like a dream travel-plan. Or life-journey?

However you want to look at it, I love experiencing new countries, new food, culture, vibe, people, smells, the colour of the light and the intensity of the shadows on this side of the street and the other. We’ve seen quite a lot of new places this year, spent some amazing time exploring as a family and enjoying each others company in a variety of new locations. And I mean, every time I actually take the time and sit down to write about our comings and goings, I look back in awe and think to myself: “Oh wow it’s been so long since I last wrote anything in the blog!”. I’ve gotten over it though, as we go about our everyday life, I’m way more active in Instagram cause posting a picture is like  getting a Spritz Aperol at the town square – easy, fun, done and done. Writing a post here is more like hosting a dinner gathering – still fun but requires a little bit more preparation, I have to gather my thoughts more and it’s not as spontaneous as Instagram.  I like doing both though, I just don’t host dinner parties every day.

But I would like to take some time and write about our adventures. But instead of dissecting this subject chronologically, I’m going to cover our travels and doings reporting first things first. The last trip we took was to Lignano Sabbiadoro for my birthday. I have some charming photos on instant film that I’d like to share with you and that’s mainly what this post’s visual contribution will be.

For those of you not familiar with Northern-Italian summertime favourites, Lignano Sabbiadoro (sabbia d’oro meaning “golden sand” in Italian) is one of those sweets spots where Italians and non-Italians like to get into their bikinis and speedos, get their tan on and check all the boxes of a proper summer holiday or a weekend.  That includes bike rides along the coastline, enjoying gelato, pizza and seafood and a generous amount of prosecco, spritz, beer or whatever floats that boat! The weather was still too chilly for any real bikini or swim time but we did get a little bit of tan on, enjoying drinks and snacks at outdoor cafes. A big plus was having a room with a balcony overlooking the sea so the old folk could have their glass or two of Merlot in the evening while the little Princess had her beauty nap.

We stumbled across an amazing seafood place called Ristorante Agosti that had a very wide and impressive selection of wine and seafood of all kind. We liked it so much that we actually went there twice – for my birthday dinner and for lunch the next day before heading back home. Robin had her first taste of squid and cleansed her palette munching olives at cafes. Quite a refined taste for a one year old…

Another great find was Ristorantino Baby, we had pizza and pasta with wine and everything was just delicious! The service was exceptional and I loved just sitting outside in the sun in April, enjoying good food and wine and having to rush nowhere.

One of the perks of going in the spring or fall is that you can actually find places to eat and sit down and everything’s not fully booked. If you do go during the high season, be smart and look up restaurants and their phone numbers you’d like to try out and make reservations. We’re not big on calling ahead, I do like to just take a walk and hope we “get lucky” but when you’re starving and you don’t want to end up grabbing a pizza from the street corner (which, don’t get me wrong, can be one of the best food you’ve ever had), making a reservation is the smart, grown-up thing to do.

Lignano isn’t that far from us, takes about an hour to get there, considerably more during the summer though because of the toll booth at the highway causing pretty bad traffic jams. Hopefully we get to go more this year than last year, now that Robin’s older it’s a lovely destination to spend a sunny weekend on the beach, building sand castles and playing in the sea. We stayed there for two nights this time. And coming home we had another surprise, a perfect one, really. We knew we’re going to move at the end of October this year but we were waiting on further information about our new destination from Anthony’s work. The main thing we hoped for was a warm, sunny place that’s not too remote or in the middle of nowhere. Visiting Estonia in March, I got my yearly dose of the cold, rain and snow. Well, how about Las Vegas? Sure, we’ll take it! I must say it’s a perfect birthday gift, I’ve been so excited that I can’t even fall asleep at night, thinking about our new destination. And sure, any one of you that know me even just a little bit, know how I love Italia, the food, the coffee, the wine, the landscape, the architecture, the art, the streets and mood and feel of it all but I have to say, I can’t wait to try out Las Vegas now! I was very sad when we found out that we have to leave Italy for now but a few months have passed and now that we know our new destination, I’m so anxious and excited about trying out this new country, new climate, new continent that I can hardly wait to start this new adventure. Till then, though, we’re going to try to see the places we’ve still missed here in Italy and hopefully  pop by some of the  neighboring countries too. Morocco has been in my bucket list for a long time and Anthony’s very fond of Dubrovnik. The Amalfi coast, Sicily, Rome and Vatican and Naples, Sardinia, Greece – all of these sound pretty amazing before heading 9500 km to the west to get my desert/365-days-of-summer game on.

And I’ll take all the fabulousness of Italy with me in my memories. Remember that wine we had in that little cantina in Verona in October, how the air smelled like wind and prosciutto? Or those vivid pictures we took in Burano, the smell of hot sunshine in August and spaghetti al pomodoro? The eclectic craziness and nuanced face of Venice, the grandioseness and magical diversity of Florence, the narrow roads of Aviano with those white-washed walled homes and the smell of basil and onion lingering on the streets, remember? Remember all that? I hope I will. And then I’ll just get Memo’s Italian Leather, a perfume that has all that goodness in it with that little bit of extra spark to mark the non-recurring Italian spirit and I’m good to go wander in Mojave desert.

 

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Home and Travel

Looking back from Venezia.

The sun was shining so bright today when we headed out to catch the train from Sacile to Venice, that it felt like spring, like the cold, early days of spring.

I’ve been lucky and blessed enought to see this magical city against various backdrops. May it be the cold temperatures and chilly winds blowing through the maze of canals in the winter, the burning hot summer sun making people look for shade in the shady little cul de sacs or the salty sea air playing in your hair while you walk along the the edge of Parco delle Rimembranze, enjoying the warmth of spring and observing the little lizards run along the stone edge on one side of the road and tranquil waves washing the edge of the patway on the other side, this city is always magnificent, always new.

I’ve had the most amazing year of my life here, 2016 was everything and more than I could have ever hoped for. Walking around in Venice today made me a bit sad though, a bit reminiscent because I know that this time next year we will be thousands of miles away from this beautiful city, this gorgeous country.

I can only hope that the new year will be as beautiful and full of love as this one. I’m waving to my friends and family in Estonia, I left with a heavy heart again and soon I’ll have to wave goodbye to Italy too but we will always have our memories, always. Until we meet again, arrivederci.

And to my little family here, you who make up my home and take up my heart – I love you, thank you for this amazing year! Together we stand strong, together we will sail the seven seas… 

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Home and Travel, Uncategorized

Winter Wander Land.

There is “nothing” in a winter landscape when it’s not masked and beautified by that frosty layer of snow. Or is there? We keep wishing and chanting for that snowy Christmas without even trying to find any charm in the nakedness of the nature. We rarely get snow here. Don’t get me wrong – you drive for an hour or two and you usually find snow but it’s not about that. It’s about the winter, excluding snow.

It’s bare, it’s raw. Sleeping and vulnerable. So quiet, on standby. Like that pause between inhalation and exhalation, that pause of deep meditation. It’s nature, taking a breath, slowly, regaining its strength to rise again.

I wanted to go out, prove to myself that there is everything in nothingness. I wanted to take that nothingness and turn it into the core of everything, the core of winter.  Forget about snow. It’s pretty, yes, we know. But there’s more to winter than snow. Just look, focus your attention on the emptiness, the decay and you shall find unforeseen beauty.

Like the fallen bundles of Magnolia leaves in the mud. Imagine them on pink.

Or the dried-up beige and brown Hydrangeas on turquoise. 

Last summer’s green turning into shades of tired green, young yellow.

Grayish-blue strands, like bloodvessels gleaming through  pale pink skin.

That odd one out that chose to bloom and whose juices are bitter with effort. 

My one side is brown and dead but the other one is safe, alive, beating.

They still cradle rays of sun from the days of burning hot summer.

They sleep to wake again.

To be the palm-trees under the Italian sun.

To swing lazily in the ocean wind.

To recite the poems of spring and summer. 

To be the hideout for bees and butterflies.

To grow, spread seeds and rest again.

To be the olive branch of life. To be peace and victory. 

Respect winter and what’s laying under the snow. Just because we don’t pay attention to something doesn’t mean it does not exist.


All pictures by Jane Kukk with an iPhone. 

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Home and Travel

US and A. We in America.

We have this cool little family with this cute little story – an American boy met and Estonian girl and now they live in Italy with this cute little baby. And whenever they can, they go wherever they can. They love traveling, who wouldn’t, right? Well sometimes they do more going than writing about it all. That’s how our fall has been. But the big trip this time was the transatlantic one in September, the itinerary reading Venezia – Paris -Washington, D.C. – Holden Beach, NC – Marietta, OH.

We took off from Venice on the 13th September. BABY ON BOARD! Robin can totally brag to her friends in the future that she got her first two teeth on a plane from Paris to D.C. Beat that! Considering all, she did really amazing, the flight was long and at the end of the day, she was just a 5 month old, pushing out her first two teeth on a plane above the ocean with virtually no crying. I applaud to that girl, she’s my hero!

We rented a car from Washington D.C. and drove for a little bit, reaching Stafford Virginia and then called it a night. We were exhausted beyond exhaustion. The jet-lag hit us pretty bad and Robin HATED the rental car-seat so most of the way from D.C. to Stafford she just screamed bloody murder. Enough was enough, we were very tired and the traffic was awful so we just wined and dined (read: ate burgers and fries at Wendy’s and had a beer at Buffalo Mo’s Tap and Grill :D) and  collapsed on the bed.

So, our plan was to pop by Goldsboro North Carolina, to say hi to our friends and welcome their new baby-girl to this world and reach Myrtle Beach by Thursday to pick up Anthony’s brother from the airport and head to Holden Beach afterwards. Anthony’s parents were already at the beach-house and we arrived there on the 15th September. Everybody kept asking me what I thought of America so far. I think my only answer for a couple of days was “Everything’s like from the movies”. And no, it’s not just bigger and better. It’s HUGE. That whole country is just massive. Thinking back now, what did I like? The waffles, the pancakes, the pies and all the breakfast-food restaurants! And, oh my goodness, corn-dogs are soooooo goood! What sucks? American coffee sucks. I’m sorry but that’s the truth. I missed my dark, black, aromatic, 0h-so-amazing Italian coffee so much that it got very, very frustrating, being on the road trying to track down a Starbucks to get that over-priced coffee with shots of espresso. Cause it was the only thing that came remotely close to decent coffee. I gave up having coffee for breakfast at the inns we were staying in or, well, anywhere for that matter cause once I had taken a sip I just had to dump it out. Italy has spoiled me and I’m happy it has. Now I get it why Italians call American coffee mud-water. That is so true that it hurts!

Our beach-house was just so adorable! With a view that was like…. “from the movies!” Yes, it really was magical, the whole beach-experience. And the wedding! Bride and groom looking so cute and pretty, the ambiance truly fairytale-like. The weather was hot, sun shining, waves singing and seashells sunbathing on the shore. A picture perfect holiday!

We stayed at the beach for about a week and then headed towards Anthony’s hometown in Ohio. Driving through Virginia and West Virginia, we made the trip in one day, with the help of a car-seat head-support that we got for Robin. She seemed to appreciate the effort and would give our ears some quiet-time. Thank heavens for Walmart :D.

Ohio was so beautiful with its forests, nature trails, big-eyed Bambi deer and scenic landscape. If you ever happen to look for an amazing place to stay in Ohio, we recommend Harvest Moon Cottages in Hocking Hills. Anthony’s sister Anita and her husband Kevin have created a truly magical place to enjoy all the wilderness and romantic scenery with your friends or family. We stayed in their little Chateau and spent the evening cooking, sipping wine and relaxing by the fireplace. Oh, and playing their “Find a Dollar” game which was so much fun!

The temperatures were still very hot so we mostly stayed in the shade during the day and sat outside in the evenings, chatting with Anthony’s family and enjoying home-cooked food, the exceptionally warm evenings and good company. And after two weeks of us and America, we headed back home. America is big and breathtaking, overwhelming and surreal at times. Our last evening there we spent in Washington, D.C, walking around the city that holds so much history and power. It was magical and there was a lot of everything to see, to feel, to take in.

But I was happy to come back home, sleep and drink coffee. And eat food that wasn’t deep-fried (cause yeah, in the South, y’all get everything deep-fried!). It was such a wonderful trip but I missed my Italy.

And being back now, we are taking it all in. In October, we went back to Verona, repeated our romantic October getaway, ate cake in bed and drank red wine on the balcony, overlooking the streets of Città di Romeo e Giulietta. This weekend we’re heading down to Florence and for Thanksgiving, our little family will hop on a plane and go explore the marvelous city of Dubrovnik. And Estonia will get us for Christmas. Because they have snow, for now at least. So you better keep your s*@! together, Ilmataat (our so-to-say Weather God) and don’t f this up! Jokes aside, I’m super excited about seeing my family and introducing my little homeland to Robin. The land of blue skies, black fields and white snow. â™¥
 

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Home and Travel, Uncategorized

Stills in Black and White

It’s peculiar how at certain points in my being, I reach for more and more colourless-ness. It has a weird effect on me, colour that is, colourfulness. I just feel it robs the view, the substance of something important. Maybe its stillness. Colour makes everything lively. “To lead a colourful life…” and all that. But what if  sometimes it’s just distracting the mind, the eye and the understanding of your surroundings? At art college in Colour Theory class the teacher banned us from using a b&w filter when photographing a colour circle because seeing it in black and white shows us the tonality of the circle, hence revealing if it is made properly or not. It was a way to cheat and get it right.

Oh yes I did cheat cause I didn’t care much about those 50 shades of yellows. Even now, I love the tuned down palette with maybe an occational accent here or there. A red lip, a green eye, a blue strip of sky. But black and white strips, literally. It draws out the textures, emphasizes the changes in tones, highlights and shadows, revealing the beauty in the flaws. The joy in sorrow, the warmth in abandonment and the stillness in life. The eye can find what it is searching for. 

All pictures taken in Aviano, Italy.


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Home and Travel, Uncategorized

Italian summer #3 Home and Away

Summer. It has a something, something special about itself. Everybody always waits for it to arrive, everybody’s a bit sorrowful when it has to go. And I’ve always been that way too, I can’t wait for summer to get here already after a long cold winter and when the days are starting to cool off I feel a bit sad, a bit nostalgic. You know the feeling. But not too sad because my favourite season is and always will be autumn. But about that later. Summer, guys, summer. This summer has been unreal.

But. Yes, there’s a but. As you might have figured out by now, I don’t bother to take time and write about something if there isn’t a “but” hidden somewhere, a special effect or a remarkable nuance. This summer is different. And this fall is going to be oh so very different too!

We’ve spent a big part of this summer alone with Robin, our precious, almost 5 months old princess. My significant other had to be away from home for 6 weeks that, believe me,  felt like the longest 6 weeks of my life. Especially when you’re alone in a big house with two big fur-balls and a not-yet-so-big baby. We managed, I’m pretty freakin’ proud of myself but that’s another story. The story I want to write about and the story that matters is the tale of having a very special person close to you when you need her the most.

Try to imagine how good it feels to actually talk to your best friend in your native language for real (read: not via Skype) when you’ve spent most of the month speaking to two dogs and a baby, in both Estonian and English but let’s face it, without getting that many words out of any of those conversation partners. It’s weird and it’s beautiful what expressing yourself in your true, native language can mean, what emotions it can trigger when you’ve been lacking that close connection and what it means to have someone close by to reflect that communication, talk back, so to speak. Being Estonian, living in Italy and being married to an American, every day, if even for a second or two, I feel disconnected or misunderstood. And it’s not a complaint, I love that side of my story, I love the challenge of trying to communicate effortlessly and clearly with my American husband, my Estonian family and friends, my Italian friends and my soon-to-be-multi-languaged-kid.

But when my Estonian-Annika came over, talked, laughed, cooked, giggled, wandered and travelled around with us, thought and sat in silence, you know what, it was different and it was special, that feeling that there’s no barrier, no wall between us. Even when we had to tackle some problems or find solutions to our traveling and exploring issues, it was so FREAKIN’ easy and effortless to communicate and figure out the best way to do something because we speak the same language! I mean, literally. I think before today I have never really understood or appreciated it so much. It hit me this summer, that’s been full of brand new challenges, brand new experiences, insights and discoveries on a brand new level. Thank you, Annika. Aitäh, oled mulle väga kallis! ❤

What’s ahead? My mom’s coming here in a couple of days and we can have one last Italian summer adventure before we head to (drum-roll) THE United States of America for the first chapter of autumn. A condo, a wedding to attend to, a big happy family gathering in Holden Beach will be our extended summer destination. And I’ll be sure to take plenty of notice and pictures when we make our way from D.C. to North Carolina. I love each and every one of you that keep an eye on these stories and our adventures. Cin cin, enjoy the happy days of summer that glisten in that calendar of yours!

To illustrate this story about our summer home and away, I am sharing some pictures taken right here, at home. And away, in a cafe, on a street or a pathway in Aviano or a bit further away around Lake Barcis. These glistening days of summer have been something else! 

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