Saturday, August 9, 2014

The City Of Life

Hello all! I am currently blogging from Lebanon. Or, to be more precise, from my hotel balcony where I have a gorgeous view on the Mediterranean sea. I have been since late July, as some of you have noticed from the photos and updates on Instagram. I am overjoyed to be here on vacation and surrounded with loved ones, vibrant activity, epic nightlife, paradisiac beaches, and, almost wherever you are, a guaranteed view of the endless sea. 
I said a while ago that I wanted this blog to take a new direction, and the piece below is a first step, and the first part of a weekly column-style post that touches deeper, more personal subjects. 
For real-time updates (and, currently, SPOILER ALERT, photos of gorgeous beaches, delicious food, and places with historical importance, and snippets of how life is lived here), please follow me on Instagram



Paris CDG Airport, July 25th, 8:18 AM
My flight takes off at 9. I must be completely out of my mind doing this and going back to this country. 

Café Hamra, Beyrouth, August 1st, 4:43 PM
The scene is an eclectic mix, words I could use to define the very essence of this country. Women in hijab sit side-by-side to others in sundresses, mini-skirts and tube tops. The sweet and spicy smell of narguilé smoke mixes with that of the various cuisines, from Mediterranean to American, that this establishment serves. One hears tidbits of conversations in French, English, Arabic, sometimes all in one single sentence, on top of the noise of clanking dishes, pop music on the radio, and, from the street, incessant car horns. 

A long absence, which I thought would last indefinitely, transformed my way of thinking, my values and my perception of things. Things that I took for granted in that distant, almost surreal past, now fill me with constant wonder. Waking up and having coffee on the balcony, with a priceless view on the Mediterranean Sea. The fruits and vegetables bursting with actual taste, to the point that you ask your waiter three times if the orange juice he served you contains nothing but freshly pressed oranges (which it does). Getting a perfect blow-dry and French manicure at a hair salon for five times less than it would cost in the States. Finding, in a tiny shop on a street corner, a pure cotton hand-embroidered abaya that looks like it has been taken right from the Jean-Paul Gauthier runway. Seeing Bryn Terfel in concert on the ruins of a Roman amphitheater where, with a dash of imagination, you can still hear men in shining armour fight valiantly against roaring beasts. 

Forgotten places and logos flood my mind as I watch from the car window, marveled. The Forum de Beyrouth, a beloved atrocity of modern architecture where, as a child, I was always taken to for shows, games, and fun exhibits for little ones. The CIT, a battered tower the logo of which always fascinated me as a kid because it looked like a birthday cake with one candle on it. Bachir, glaces libanaises. The striped red and white towers of the electricity factory. Hawa Chicken's tetrasomething-shaped sign*, now covered in dust no longer revolving around itself. The Electricité du Liban building. Majida Roumi's equivalent of a break-up song, which I had forgotten about but I realize could, last year, have helped as much as all the wine, Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Almond spread, and Xanax that got me through the end of a disastrous relationship. 

The "Keep Calm And..." trend has invaded the country along with edamame and the iPhone-Samsung Wars. Predictable and unexpected at the same time. Apple logos appear on signs at small electronic shops. Random flags of countries bring back to mind that the Word Cup was a mere few weeks ago, and I laughingly remember how the Lebanese partisanship becomes very much like patriotism. And, in spite of not caring for football (as I much prefer the opera), I wonder if one day Lebanon will qualify to play at the World Cup. 

At a time where death and devastation have taken over neighboring regions, Lebanon parties. Lebanon entertains. Lebanon celebrates.  Lebanon lives as if each day was the last. And thinking of it, I realize that in the last eight years, in spite of cutting all links I had with this culture, of swearing to myself I would never return here, of denying my relation to this country, I realize that even though I am essentially a foreign visitor (who was born here twenty-two years ago), with my whole life, professional and personal in DC, and the country where my heart is is France, the part of me that is Lebanese is my reckless approach to savouring every moment of life to the fullest because there is no way to know if it is the last. 

*Note: I do not condone the assassination of cats (or any other living creatures) for entertainment purposes.
**In spite of a recent spike in my ever-low affinity for math thanks to a certain person in my life who makes them very - ahem - appealing (hihihi) , I do not know what exactly the geographical shape of that sign is. Guess I may need some tutoring!



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Friday, July 18, 2014

La mer qu'on voit danser le long des golfes clairs...



*First and foremost, an update: thank you all for the comments that you left on my previous post. I am finally in the mood to put an end to my blogging hiatus, and have somehow figured out what I want to do with this blog, and what direction it will take. Expect many changes, from the layout to some of the content. Thank you for your readership and keep coming back!*

I have always had a very deep attraction to the sea. Some people feel something similar to the country or the skies, but to me, it is the water, with its distinctive smell, it's endless flow, and the peace that comes out of it. I am certain that my dual nature as a Pisces and a Mediterranean makes water even more so my element, and it remains that anything that makes me think of the sea is welcome, as it grounds me and fills me with energy. I get this same energy from living in DC, as there is not one dull moment in this city, but I dream of a cottage somewhere on the coast (maybe in Delaware?) where I can escape to. 
To celebrate the summer and my endless love for the sea, I have compiled below a selection of various home decor items inspired by the sea. You can click on any item to see its price and for more information/purchase.
And if you are in the mood for French music (while browsing through the slides below, peut-être?), here's the song from which the title of this post is taken.
What natural element makes you feel energized, peaceful, and at your best? Do tell me in the comments below! 

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If you enjoyed this post, please follow my blog on Facebook (facebook.com/sonushka) and Twitter (@miss_sonushka)!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Questionings and wonderings

I wonder sometimes if there's a pattern to the periods where I'm inspired to blog, because I seem to always post next to nothing in the spring. While last year, I was going through a hectic, and in retrospect, very distressing time, I'm glad to say that while I haven't posted a thing during the month of May, my off-blog life has been incredibly fulfilling, and the contrast with May 2013 and before is huge. For once, I did not dread the arrival of spring, but welcomed it, and I was right to, as it brought, along with pre-existing joy, so many new hopes and happy prospects in all domains of my life: professional, personal, and even romantic.

On the other hand, one of the explanations to my silence on this blog has to do with the fact that since its creation, I've changed, evolved, and matured enormously. I started with the intention to showcase my style through fashion, cuisine, and home decor ideas; my inspiration (as some have maybe noticed) included blogs such as Cupcakes and Cashmere and Keiko Lynn, but I wanted to infuse Sonushka with my own DC/French influences. It worked, for a while. But I always had trouble taking it to the next level, and catching up with blogs who started around the same time than I did. I had trouble coming up with the motivation to keep it up daily.

During this unexpected month-long hiatus, I realized that it is so because I simply no longer feel fulfilled by the topics I had selected long ago (Style/Beauty/Home Decor/Cuisine/Weekly Highlights), the same way I no longer feel connected to the fashion blogging community. My personal tastes have changed, so has my lifestyle and my approach to life in general, and I can no longer stick with the aforementioned topics without feeling dishonest, superficial, and even materialistic.

So I am currently envisaging two options:
- The most drastic one would be completely eliminate my online presence (at least temporarily) and focus solely on finishing my novel. While it sounds extremely tempting, I enjoy blogging, otherwise I wouldn't do it, and it also provides a welcome break from heavy fiction writing, and at the same time it is still writing practice.
- More realistically, I will probably take a little longer to brainstorm new topics of this blog. There would still be fashion, beauty and home decor, but less intensely. I would regularly feature things I'm passionate about, such as literature, opera, and even politics. Some regular posts would be closer to columns (à la Carrie Bradshaw), and cover more personal topics, such as friendships, relationships, and other life issues.


I know that this may cause me to lose my current readership; perhaps just temporarily, but the fact is that I am no longer fulfilled by the topics I talk about (you can only say that much about shoes), and I am a literary soul, a "femme de lettres", as we say in French (or at least an aspiring one), and I cannot compromise myself with superficial, unfulfilling writing. I am much better than that. So maybe this will be the end of Sonushka as it is now, but let's face it, this year has been the year of drastic decisions, and I haven't regretted a single one.

I will keep you informed about what happens, and please know how much I deeply appreciate your reading of my blog. For every time something I've put together, a photo, a spread, a list has inspired someone, I am happy.


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If you enjoyed this post, please follow my blog on Facebook (facebook.com/sonushka) and Twitter (@miss_sonushka)!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

This Week

I temporarily moved my couch to the windowsill, but am thinking about keeping it there!

This first week of vacation has been extremely calm and rather lukewarm, but I think I always feel this way at this time of the year. On top of it, usual stress, incertitude again, and some bad memories always pick the worst moment to start poking around my mind, and it takes a lot of effort not to let sad, negative thoughts take over, and to keep in mind that I'm in control, and I'm not alone.

There's nothing as delicious as an "oeuf à la coque"!

On the bright side, I managed to actually work on my novel instead of staring at a blank screen, which I've been doing for ages, and while I was saying the same over a year, I've come closer to finishing it. Let's hope it won't take me another century. I've also deeply cleaned and uncluttered my apartment, and while I managed to cover my whole living room in dust by accidentally opening my vacuum cleaner, I feel much better in a well-organized home. I've made many cut-throat decisions when it came to my wardrobe, and am in the process of planning a rather huge closet sale.

Closet purge.

Plans for the next few days include more spring cleaning (or rather, re-organizing the linen closet and the tea cabinet in the kitchen), get-togethers with friends and relatives I haven't seen in a while, writing (the novel and the e-book), hopefully exercising, and enjoying this second and last week of vacation before heading back to the hustle and bustle of work!

Happy Easter to all,

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If you enjoyed this post, please follow my blog on Facebook (facebook.com/sonushka) and Twitter (@miss_sonushka)!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Some inspiration

(via)

I'm a shameless self-professed Pinterest addict. No matter how much I promise to myself that I'll only peek in five minutes, I can end up spending hours on it (even more so because the iPad app allows to pin and explore even more easily than on a computer). It doesn't matter if I have chores to do, a novel to finish writing, a blog to maintain, etc. 
The upside is that Pinterest, in spite of being this flawless world where everything seems so rosy and perfect, inspires me. Whether it is a fashion look, a recipe, screenshots of my favourite TV shows, a DYI project, advice, graphs, artwork, photographs or kittens (my loves!), I feel (laughter, sadness, hope), I learn (informations, skills), and I find in myself the urge to create. A dress I saw randomly helped me visualize more precisely what a character would be wearing in a very important passage of my novel; I was struggling with that scene and all of the sudden, thanks to the dress, I was able to see it alive in my head. 
So here's a very small sample of (random) images that have inspired me lately. For more, don't forget to follow me on Pinterest!