Being nice is not that hard

What happened with my note and some book recommendations

Something really extraordinary happened yesterday. After I left my little note to my neighbors, I didn’t expect a reaction. My guess was that the guy with the magazine idea would contribute to mine out of solidarity. Boy, I was wrong.

What happened with my note?

Later that day, someone rang my door. Being in a lockdown for the past 6 weeks, this is an extremely big event. I cautiously opened and one meter from me a mother and her daughter were standing on the staircase. The little girl was as shy as I am and was hiding behind her mother. The woman asked me if I left the note and I stuttered a “yes”. She then reached out and gave me a whole bag with books and a note. She smiled and told me that there is a lot more where that came from. I had no words to express how touched I was at this moment.

I love these small gestures between strangers. I regret that I didn’t reach out sooner and plan to return the kindness. I’m thinking about baking banana bread and leaving it in front of their door. I’ll see if something else pops in my mind and in the meantime I have a lot of books to occupy me.

Books I read in the last months

In the last couple of months, I was focused on reading classic French literature to better dive into the atmosphere of the city. A lot of stories are written about Paris or take place in its streets. One of my personal favorites is Patrick Modiano. His melancholic writing style speaks to my soul like not so many other authors. He often addresses the topic of identity and what exactly makes us who we are. A lot of his characters are wandering the busy streets of this city and feel like they are alone. They usually are in a quest of searching part of their past that makes them utterly unhappy and incomplete. The books never finish with a happy ending because we never truly find ourselves.

Another book that I have recently read and loved was not from a French author but was still written in this type of “searching for the meaning of life” style that I relate to. “Twenty-Four hours in the life of a woman” shares the curious fact that one little event in our life can completely change us forever. Other than the magical story, I always take pleasure in reading a book about a place where I have been. This love story happens at Côte d’Azur.

While I was studying in Nice, my friends and I often took the bus and traveled to the cities nearby. My personal favorite was Monaco. The tall buildings, the yachts, the unusual town shape. Pure magic. I miss it a lot. The year 2016 was one of the best years of my life.

Before I can continue to enjoy my new books, I’ll be preparing a beloved Bulgarian dish for diner. I just bought all the ingredients and will do my best for I have never cooked this before and my reputation amongst my friends is not as the best cook in the world.

Day 45

Like many others, I tried some of the trends of activities at home. After a month and a half of baking, reading, Pilates and HBO I decided to reach out to my neighbors

In France, it is well known that the 1st of May is not only Labor Day but also a celebration of the flower Lily of the Valley. This tiny little flower with its white petals symbolizes the coming of spring.

My personal association with this flower is that it was one of the “porte-bonheur” or lucky charms of Mr. Christian Dior. It’s said that he sewed it to every costume that he wore. I myself am somewhat superstitious and agree with the French couturier that a herbarium may bring some color to our everyday.

For me, spring is a season for fresh flowers. I love having them around the house at all times. I love bouquets with seasonal tulips, azaleas, peonies, carnations, lilies. I’m not that good with flowers in a pot. My last “victim” was my little Christmas tree. It survived a month before I forgot to water it. Of course, three weeks later I remembered that there is another living thing in the apartment, besides my boyfriend and myself. My overcompensating nature decided to water it twice a week. To be honest, I’m not sure if it died of thirst or it drowned. Anyways, I mourned its death and decided against buying a pot in the near future.

The 1st of May also means that we successfully stayed isolated during lockdown for 45 days. I don’t know about you, but my Instafeed was full of cooking (mostly baking), yoga, or different types of HIIT exercises, people posing like they are doing their newly discovered hobbies. I applaud the influencers who tried to adapt fast and started from the beginning to post about our new reality. Those who stuck to their pre-Covid19 schedule were out of place and got publicly shamed. Like many others, I tried some of the trends du jour.

I started working from home a couple of days before the lockdown. I can easily say that I stay longer at work since I’m actually staying in my own living room. Without feeling the pressure that my train leaves 12 minutes after my workday is done, I can relax and finish the stuff I started. I find it liberating because now I rarely think about work after I turn off my computer. Usually, I continue to contemplate that one little task that I left unfinished, that one email that needed a reply.

Since I have 45 minutes more in the morning (the time I take my train to work), I started doing Pilates. I started baking more. I rearranged my apartment. I suddenly have more time to read. The thing that this exceptional situation taught me is a balanced routine that I would really love to keep after this ends. I don’t want to say that I like my life better, but I definitely needed some time to refocus my energy and reevaluate my time.

For I have recently moved to Paris, I slowly ran out of books to read. I had bought a couple from the lovely little “shops” next to the Seine. Today I got this idea. Well, it was not really “my” idea. A couple of months ago, one of my neighbors left a note saying that we can all exchange magazines after reading them. I need to specify that we have a small yard that one could not access from the street without having a key. So the plan was to leave our magazines in an unused mailbox accessible for everyone.

Today I wrote a little note asking my kind neighbors to share their favorite/least favorite books with me. I promised to take good care of them and return them in less than 2 weeks. I feel optimistic about the solidarity in our little community and am curious about the outcome of this experiment.

Holiday Gifts Guide

The holiday season is around the corner and everyone is stressing out about gift shopping. 
When choosing presents, I try to pick up something small, but cute and at the same time somewhat practical. Here is my guide for this Christmas season.

The holiday season is around the corner and everyone is stressing out about gift shopping. The joy of Christmas has slowly transformed into the dread of choosing the right gift for everyone. We get agitated by our budget or the unavailability of the desired item and slowly forget what the holiday is all about.

We have to keep in mind that one’s upon a time Christmas was one of the few days in the year where people bought stuff for each other and got presents. Nowadays we buy things for ourselves weekly and we don’t “need” so many things. It becomes more and more difficult to find a nice present for someone who already has everything.

When choosing gifts, I try to pick up something small, but cute and at the same time somewhat practical. Here is my guide for this Christmas season.

For everyone who is above 18 years old and has already moved out of his parents, a nice gift would be anything for the house. When growing up, we start to think more and more about the decoration of our home and how our new apartment represents us. Since our home is part of who we are, we should make sure that it reflects our character. As Aleksander Petrovsky told Carrie “I love your house. It’s so you… warm and lovely”.

My favorite French store for everything related to the house is “Maisons du monde” (Houses of the world). They can always tempt you with their beautifully pre-arranged tables. My personal favorite is the champagne glasses with gold ornaments.

There is always the possibility to buy something “Christmassy” like these tree ornaments:

I find candles the most appropriate gift for this time (or any time) of the year. People become more and more obsessed with candles and why not? They make a great atmosphere and can bring mystery and magic into the house.

Candle –

While shopping for our friends and relatives, we should not forget our four-legged friends as well.

To find a gift for the tech-savvy is very difficult because even the smallest thing can be rather pricy. How about these cute power banks? They are fun and practical in any situation.


Another option is this tile that helps you find your keys.


A fun and not-so-original gift for a guy would be socks. With “Happy socks” this present became expected but still appreciated.

Perfume is something that everyone could use. If you are a fan of Jo Malone like me, I would suggest you go to Zara. It’s quite interesting that the woman behind the brand did a collaboration with Zara and you could buy it in the store.

One thing that a woman can never have “too many” is jewelry.


Books are also a gift that I would die for. That’s why I always assume that everyone else is happy to get one as well. You can opt for a table book like this one or get something way more practical like this one:


Or this stylish travel guide.

Last but not least, I found some little goodies in “Palais du thé” or the Palace of tea. You can find it strange, but I feel so relaxed in this place. The small cup of tea you get when entering sets the mood for a warm and pleasant shopping experience. You can smell the different tea sorts and then choose the best one.

There are gift sets as well.

Happy shopping everybody!!