So we are now going on week 12 of lockdown in Istanbul. The most splendid thing that has happened to me over the past three months is that neither I nor my loved ones were infected by COVID-19. Or maybe we were infected? Who knows? I fear that until a retrospective Netlix miniseries comes out about this in 4 or 5 years, we will not fully comprehend what we are going through. In the meanwhile, lots of things are shifting, changing, evolving, emerging and disappearing. As expected, the online consumption of content, products and services is the one main area that has benefitted immensely and increased exponentially as a result of all of this time spent physically away from other human beings. In my usual pragmatic and practical form, I now present you with my favorite, life simplifying purchases that have made my life slightly more splendid these last couple of weeks. Please share your finds as well in the comments.
Anka Selfie Tripod With LED
I bought this from Hepsiburada.com. You can find the exact one I bought here. I googled quite a bit before deciding on this one. I use this for my Zoom, FaceTime, BIP, WhatsApp and Houseparty calls. I also use it as a work out partner by placing my workout videos from YOUTUBE or Nike NTC app on it. I have also shot a few photos and videos using this tripod but my main reason for purchasing it was for video conferences. I like the light feature, although it doesn't make a real difference in daylight and you have to always have it plugged into something for it to work. At night or when there are shadows hitting your face during the day, it does wonders!! Your light source must always be coming from behind the camera so this tripod makes this easy to set up every single time. The light source is decent and the tripod is pretty sturdy. This model extends to about 200 cm tall. So, when you feel lonely, you can stand across from it and almost feel like you are talking to a real person 🤔.
The IKEA BRADA Laptop Tray
This makes video conferences on your laptop a breeze. Just place on your desk, table, kitchen counter, place your laptop on top and sit across from it. The height provided by this little tray ensures that when you sit across from it, the camera of your laptop is exactly at eye level. No double chin views, no wrist strain if you need to write and talk at the same time. I have also used this tray while delivering webinars. I just place the BRADA tray on a high surface (often a shelf or sturdy bar stool) and place the laptop on it. I always stand when I am teaching/ giving webinars online and again this allows me to keep the camera at eye level. This is a real lifesaver.
TENDA WiFi Repeater
This little gadget was the easiest, least expensive upgrade to our connectivity. We now have wifi upstairs and in the far corner of the living room. I bought two of these from here. It took about 5 minutes to set up. The only downside is that if you are moving from room to room while connected, the wifi does often cut out for a couple of minutes while trying to find itself the strongest closest connection. These little gems also work well with the TILGIN machines you get from TTNET or SUPERONLINE for Fibre cable.
Yep. EARPODS. Not AirPods. No charging, no problems. Just great music, podcast, video conferencing experiences via super comfortable buds, a great microphone and a teeny, tiny remote. I also have AirPods but since I am constantly forgetting to charge them, these are a better partner in crime for me. I obviously don't run with these on, because, well, I am not a runner. But long walks work beautifully even with cords The sound quality is just superb. Be careful about what kind you get though as the newer IPHONES models don't work with the "jack" shown above.
So...I am not a huge Pinterest user but I really do enjoy it when I do use it. My friend Didi Altop introduced me to this app/platform/website many years ago after one of our dream-boarding-with-pinot-something-or-another sessions. She noted that this might in fact be the visual "daydreaming" site that I was looking for as an outlet to having two kids in diapers and not knowing what to do with myself in my 7-8minute pockets of free time. Over the years I have diligently pinned stuff that I conceptually and visually liked. Not until recently have I tried some of the weird suggestions on Pinterest offered by millions of other folks (mostly female) with minimal pockets of free time. Here are a few of the suggestions that I have tried that are really, really pin-worthy and worth trying.
My love affair with IKEA is going strong after 30 years. You would expect hiccups in a relationship that has lasted this long...but alas...my respect, admiration and lust for their perfectly priced designs continues to grow exponentially after all of these years. Here are two simple and splendid living room and dining room boards I whipped up for those looking to refresh their small spaces. All the products are from IKEA. Both rooms cost less than 2500 USD in total.
Belki Whole Foods Market'imiz yok henüz ama buyrunuz ülkemizden leziz kozmetik ürünler hakkında Türkçe bir "post"...
I have been a vegetarian for over three decades. When I moved to Turkey 15 years ago I was basically the only vegetarian on the block. Interestingly, over the past few years, more and more people have been joining me in my devotion to and adoration of vegetables and grains.
The problem with eating in Istanbul has never been a lack of vegetarian choices at restaurants. I have never actually returned home hungry after a lunch or dinner outing. However, up until about five years ago, what used to be thoroughly lacking in Istanbul were cool, clean, quick, quirky, healthy, stylish, well-designed spaces in which to grab a coffee or a quick lunch.
Up until I was around seven years old, the best playdates were with friends who had lots and lots of Barbies. But somewhere around the time I started reading, I began racing to friend's houses whose parents had invested in stacks of board games. My favourite homes had their board games neatly organised by color or theme or alphabetised by name.
I grew up in Canada in the 80's. Nothing was "streaming to and fro" back then. It was a time when families were forced to sit around and play board games, drink hot chocolate and watch the snow fall. It was a time when children played together--relatively quietly--for hours without breaking anything.
For those of you who like to get things done quickly or sprinkle fun activities into your day, IPhone apps are still exceptionally useful tools. Like with everything else you own & use you do have to purge your apps once in a while so that only splendid ones that simplify your life remain. Read on to find out which 24 apps I will still be using in 2016.
Kids get to play with crayons and finger-paints, mommies get to play with long-wearing shadow sticks and cheek stains. The only difference is some of our kids' "works of art" never see the light of day, while we have to display our handywork right there on our faces for the world to see. It is so easy to add filters and smooth away imperfections with 99 cent apps but when we try to do the same with real cosmetics we often end up leaving the make-up counter having spent hundreds of dollars only to discover that at least half of our purchases are pure rubbish.
Here is another great gift idea for your precious pre-literate, newly literate 0-6 year olds. We buy a lot of books for our kids. Unfortunately some end up being room decor while others end up being licked, read and re-read over and over again. Here is a selection of our favourites from our library. I have also included five creative ways to gift books to your friends and family...
December is a good month to wrap things up...literally and figuratively. Lots of presents will be wrapped carefully and unwrapped frantically by young and old...wouldn't it be great if everybody found something delightful and useful when they unwrapped their packages? Like for instance an IPad Pro with Stylus Pen (in case my husband who never reads my posts is reading this one).
Just in time for this gift giving/recieving season, I wanted to write a post about what we will be buying for our friends and family this year. Read on for some great gift ideas for loved ones of all ages.
This is a post for those of you who are sick of girly, girly pink rooms. I often hear parents complaining that there are no modern, hip, non-gendered choices for children's furniture in Istanbul. When looking to create an alternative, cool look for our kids rooms, we sometimes have to scour the city for simple, scandinavian-ish, non-disney products. Sure, one could order stuff online or have things made by a "marangoz" (Turkish people have a phone number for at least one carpenter, one upholsterer and one house painter on their iphones) but, really, why go to all that trouble when you could re-do your little hipster's room in a day?
As if you needed another reason to shop online!?! Right? Well, I still feel obliged to share the news of my new online shopping crush. I have purchased 10 items thus far from this UK retailer that has a superb selection of clothing for women, men, children and babies. I guarantee you will be itching to buy something by the end of this post...read on to find out why I am so excited to share my new find with you...
I haven't written in a long while. I would like to blame IKEA for my extended silence. They haven't introduced any interesting products for a while and as a result, I have lacked inspiration. Wouldn't it be great if we could just blame IKEA for all of our woes? Actually, I haven't written because I have been very busy creating content and programs for my training and consulting business. But, two days ago, inspiration hit me like a thunderbolt at a two day public speaking workshop I was delivering for a group of senior-level managers. And so, I am back...trying to add a little more simplicty and splendour to our lives...
Read on to find out how busy executives will benefit from IKEA's new HEMSMAK collection.
This is supposed to be a blog about all things simple...I am supposed to like ALL THINGS simple...But I fear that deep inside me there exists a maximalist eclectic decor monster that just wants to scream "Less is not MORE you fool...LESS IS JUST LESS...MORE IS MORE!" And when this inner decor demon finds itself a new place of worship, she is happy. She declares Kit Kemp the new "Queen of the Castle" and all minimalists are declared "dirty rascals". A recent stay at the Firmdale Hotel Group's London Ham Yard Hotel has changed me forever. I have learned the name Kit Kemp...I will never decorate the same again...you fools...(evil laugh)
I am not a huge fan of the typical red and green holiday decor color scheme. I love softening the traditional reds with pink, purple, magenta, fuchsia, burnt pink, plum, wine, berry, lilac and lots and lots of greens/beiges and other neutrals. If you are getting ready to entertain or decorate your surroundings for the holidays then take a look at these beautiful color and texture combinations for some inspiration.
Unexpected but beautiful colors for the holidays...
If you follow this blog you know that I am a big fan of "Scandinavian design"," natural & neutral decorating" and "modern organic aesthetic" styles. In fact, all of these terms mean pretty much the same thing. I also like concepts such as "Simple luxe", "High-Low decorating", "Affordable luxury", "Bringing the Outdoors In"...the list is long but I won't bore you with the fancy language...
If you want to change the look of your living room start by changing your sofa. Modern, clean, versatile three seater sofas give you lots of room to experiment with different styles. Sectionals (corner units) are often just too big and cumbersome (chunky) for a living room so I always start with a simple clean three seater when designing a room. Here are 9 of the best modern sofas on the market. Many of them are available internationally....all of them are available in Turkey. Let's see if you can guess which ones are the really expensive ones and which ones are my IKEA favourites.
My five year old daughter says that her favourite activities in life are packing suitcases, organising closets and grocery shopping. Yes, it appears that I am raising a mini-me. I took over grocery shopping duties for my family at age 18 when I got my driver's license in Canada. I must confess that up until very recently grocery shopping in North America or parts of Europe was much, much more pleasurable than market shopping in Istanbul. All the big players in Turkey were greatly lagging behind in the game in terms of the ritzy, glitzy, enticing, beguiling grocery-store models we were used to from our international experiences...and the products themselves were a mess in terms of packaging, labelling and product variety/options.
More recently quality food products that are pleasantly packaged have started popping up all over the place. Here are my favourite products...I have tried them all but these are by far the best. See which products made my list...
I love Disney. I love the brand, I love the movies and I love the merchandise. So do my two daughters. I also love Paris. Hmmm...so Disneyland Paris--which is a hop, skip and a jump away from Istanbul-- seemed like an obvious choice for our first family vacation abroad. Non?
Read on to see my Disneyland Paris Tips and Reviews...and please, please do share your Disneyland Paris experiences and tips in the comments!!
My daughter Ada just turned 5 this week. She thankfully chose a Tinkerbell and The Pirate Fairy theme which gave me the opportunity use lots of black and white in addition to the fairy's more colourful palette for the styling of her birthday brunch. It is not always easy to balance the menu/aesthetics of a party geared towards both children and adults...Read on to see if I got it right...
This past weekend we had a lovely dinner at Macakizi Hotel in Bodrum. It was the first time we ate in the newly winterized restaurant which had a fabulous new fall fine dining feel. The warm chestnut soup adorned with lemon foam served as an amuse-bouche definitely amused my palate and set the tone for the revised menu from which I ordered cauliflower carpaccio and homemade ricotta gnocci. De-lish!!
But what does all this have to do with ceramics you might be wondering...Since every detail at Macakizi is always meticilously planned, when I saw their gorgeous tableware last night it took me about a nanosecond to flip over the perfectly thin and round bread plate to check out the brand. (Can you guess which ones were at Macakizi?)
Read on to see my four most favourite fine porcelain/ceramics designers...these will all take tablescapes to the next level...
Imagine a birthday party without balloons. Andd...imagine only one focal point, one beautifully decorated corner...one single, gorgeous, colourful buffet table or dining table. Think of how easy that would be to pull off yourself. I really love party decorations but I don't like to be overwhelmed by them. One glorious spread is enough in my opinion.
Take a look at these beautiful tables for a girly party...or a very feminine bridal shower...
I am not a big fan of sit-down dinners. I am not a big fan of serious, over-glammed adult parties in which thousands of dollars are spent for chair covers and flowers. I am a huge fan of kids parties...but simple ones...preferably self-decorated, self-catered, stylish and beautiful but on the simpler end of the aesthetic scale. Parties in Turkey-especially bridal showers, henna nights (like a hen night without the alcohol!?!), adult birthdays, and most weddings-are often really over the top. I propose we tone it down a little and bring back simple fun to these parties...without girls clad in disgusting alcohol+food colouring infused shot dispensing apparatus (it appears that the plural of apparatus is not apparati btw). Just good old food, drinks, a game or two and lots and lots of simple but splendid styling.
Read on to be inspired...
What do you think of when you think of fall? Here are the first words that pop into my head...halloween, pumpkins, orange, caramel, fall foliage, fireplaces, cozy sweaters, entertaining, pine cones, hunter boots, candles and roquefort-pumkinpie-whisky feasts...
Read on to see how to add some fall splendour into your life...
A website about simple ways to add more "splendid" into your life. Curated finds from Istanbul and beyond, plus tips and candid reviews to make shopping, travel, going out, entertaining and living splendidly accessible to everyone. Life is hard but leisurely activities should at the very least be simple and splendid all the time.