Tag Archives: wine

Today’s new word is FKK, (no, it’s not Croatian).

Pula cafe 100differentplaces blog

Pula cafe, photo credit: 100 DIFFERENT PLACES© Melanie Hahn 2015

Unless the Bura (Bora) is blowing (and often when it is) Croatians are outside – living. They are gathered in cafes under huge umbrellas and awnings, sunglasses donned – hats optional, they are in their gardens, and walking, sometimes dancing, doing their shopping, sailing, scuba diving, riding horses, fishing, swimming and sunning. The concept of a ‘sitting room’ (aka living room) is beyond foreign and does not exist in any of my Croatian experiences to date (thus the reason I have sold nearly all of the normal accouterments found in an American living room). If you are inside with Croatians you are gathered around their dining table eating and talking, drinking (coffee or Rakia or homemade wines – the families of most Dalmatians of my acquaintance have been making wine for between 400 and 700 years) and talking some more. The TV is most likely on in the background in either environment and the atmosphere will be raucous and passionate if football is ‘on’.

But more about being outside.

The thing is that Croatia boasts 3,630 miles or 5,840 kms of coastline so even with an onslaught of tourists (last year 11.3 million) visiting from all over the world from June to August you and yours will not be fighting for beachfront to claim or open water to enjoy. An astonishing amount of her coast is treacherously rocky outcroppings, a good portion golden and creamy white pebbled and finally some sand crescents so beautiful you might never wish to leave especially when coupled with waters so pure they are listed amongst the top in Europe for cleanliness and sunrises and sunsets that still all capacity for words. All along the coast home-owners extend their properties into the Adriatic with charming piers, sometimes enclosing the sea water (yet providing drainage) so that small children can splash safely at high tide in the heat of the summer afternoons. There is a very pleasant landward breeze that cools Croatia ‘in the season’ is called the Maestral.

Now, I am not a country bumpkin. I got over, and embraced (in theory), the ‘bare it all’ mindset of Europeans on my first trip to Budapest and the Hotel Gellert Baths but I must confess that I had never heard the word Freikörperkultur before this trip to Croatia; when your traveling companion, Ken Herron, tells you he spent a summer ostensibly ‘studying’ in Germany you learn all kinds of new things. So here we are, in Istria, doing our best to expand both our horizons, and yours, sharing all with you so that when you come you have the benefit of our experience and to save you some embarrassing (and costly) mistakes in protocol.

Nudists

Photo: Edita Druskovic

Understand this, there are three kinds of beaches to be enjoyed in Croatia – all appropriately marked – those with bathing suits, those where bathing suits are optional and those which for those who practice Freikörperkultur populate (the embedded link takes you to those nine nudist beaches in Istria). The first is self-speaking, take off your clothes here and get arrested. The second is nuanced; the third, if you show up and have bathing clothing on will get you a citation for not abiding by ‘terms of use’.

Further there are 114 Blue Flag Beaches in Croatia (again, reference how pristine the water is) and Istria has 40 of these very special beaches which maintain the highest possible environmental management and quality standards criteria (a new list of awardees is announced each 5 June).

So yesterday, as we arrived in Croatia, I powered through some work and took a much needed nap (making me late for dinner!) and Ken set off to explore Rovinj’s beaches. While I went to see 2Cellos after dinner last night, Ken went to bed. I was up late, posting this YouTube video from the concert, and he was up early. I am packed, but can’t find my diamond earrings, but haven’t had breakfast yet twobecause I am writing this – I best hurry it’s 8AM.

I have no idea if Ken went FKK yesterday or this morning – it’s like “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” but as we enter the first official day of our participation in the #ShareIstria contest I hope you will follow us as #IstraKT (across social media platforms Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and help amplify our various posts on social media.

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me a cup of tea’ in your currency via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com and then, please do share the blog with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

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Pennies from Heaven, when intention and gratitude collide

I pick up pennies. I even pick up tarnished, nasty dirty pennies. “Find a penny pick it up, all the day you’ll have good luck”, my grandparents used to say this to me all the time in my childhood – for them (coming of age just before The Great Depression) a penny had value. At some point in our collective global society the penny has lost value, some of my friends think it an eccentric tick of mine, why bother, it’s a penny kind of thing.  Yesterday morning, as I headed out pennyof my place to ‘walk my errands’ and reflect upon my various blessings of the last 48 hours, I spied a salt encrusted penny on the asphalt, I picked it up, said the refrain of my youth, dropped it into my rucksack and went on my way with a knowing smile in my heart.

Regular readers of mine know that I find great joy in small things, and these will often bring me to tears. So for those of you who are new ‘to me’ allow me to express that some 10 weeks ago I unwillingly returned to the United States after spending 88 days in Croatia.  I promptly experienced epic level culture shock as well as a profound ache so deep that it feels as if nothing will ease this – save for returning. Soon.

On the morning of 7 April I was handling the Twitter accounts for a couple of my social media clients and saw that @CroatiaWeek had just Tweeted out a story about @VisitIstra having a contest to win a trip for two to explore the quietly understated, yet exquisite Croatian version of Italy’s famed (and heavily touristed) Tuscany – oh, #ShareIstria! My heart leapt in both recognition and hope.  When faced with winning such istriaa thing it’s best to have a plan and keep one’s expectations in check. My friend, my best and most consistent cheerleader, Ken Herron was who I called – immediately.  I understood that to make a success of this (on all the levels I needed to for my heart to be satisfied) that my partner must be a supremely capable marketing professional with an industrial strength social media tool kit, be a true bon vivant and someone with the flexibility of character and schedule to make this happen.  The Visit Istria ‘application’ was limited to 250 CHARACTERS.  Anyone active on Twitter will tell you that initially the platform is a challenging and painful limitation but eventually it becomes an art form to hold your communications to 120 characters including hyperlinks and photos. Even as Ken and I both Tweet with Haiku precision we were a bit flummoxed on what would get us ‘in’ as candidates with a mere 250 characters including spaces.  And so, we strategised. I took the ‘what we brought as a combined team’ and Ken picked my brain about what I knew about Istria because he was going to be certain that while playing by the rules we also wanted to demonstrate what we were bringing to the table; a sample of our value proposition as it were.  So he created a meme based on my five minute brain dump, then tweeted and added said Tweet to his 250 character application. I am sharing this in the midst of the campaign because we view our role as being active partners with Visit Istria and its sponsors.  Because I know after 88 days in Croatia three very critical points – that elements of the Croatian government support Big Oil in drilling in the Adriatic and if they are successful it will destroy the tourism sector across Croatia, and threaten Slovenia, Italy, and Montenegro in the process, that the unemployment rate hovers around 23% nationally (considerably higher amongst those under 30) and that the growth of sustainable tourism in combination with the development of a green economy is the only way forward for Croatia; where there are challenges, there are opportunities.  That this effort is the equivalent of a social media Amazing Race meets DWTS (Dancing with the Stars) and not picone of the other candidates is leveraging their candidacy to expand the brand of Istria which (in our opinion) means that the other candidates have completely missed the point of the campaign in the first place. This is SO NOT ABOUT our winning a lovely trip or the promised prize money at the end, though both are motivating factors, our role in this is about creating value for our hosts (just as we would for a client).  Our efforts began with this Tweet.

These are the metrics taken 22 days afterwards – the Tweet is still pulling RTs and impressions which benefit Visit Istria on the whole, not something specific to this contest, but against their objective (perceived, not stated, for the record we haven’t spoken to anyone on their team as yet).  These are pennies, bright shiny pennies in my view. pic2

You know what else are bright shiny pennies in the often anonymous world of social media?, votes from complete and utter strangers. Peeps and Tweeps alike with whom we have no other relationship, who often actually do lovely supportive things that even our best friends (in real life), work colleagues and our family members won’t.  People who reach out to their friends because they respect who we are, that our work provides value to them so they are most happy to ‘help with the heavy lifting’. Yesterday morning as I received message after message of “what can I do to help?” “have shared with my friends” “the website is not letting me vote” and then with the abundance of ReTweet and Favorite Tweet love received I sat humbled at my computer. In watching Ken’s and my profiles on the ShareIstria website, side-by-side for most of the morning swapping positions as most of each of our social media circles voted not just for twoone or the other of us but both of us I cried tears of gratitude. It’s largely the reason I left the house, to be bathed in cerulean skies and huge puffy white clouds, to be at one with being ‘of service’ and connected to all of the universe, to be grateful for following my messages and leaping into the void where magic happens and having a special friend to drag along with me, to find myself having made the short list of candidates to help a region of the country that I desperately wish to make my permanent home, to see my Croatian friends again, all of them, to drink thick hot chocolate with insanely gorgeous desserts, or revel in the oh-my-god most amazing gelato on the planet (BELIEVE ME – far better than the Italians can muster and without the attitude), to think about eating grilled octopus salad while quaffing the breathtaking scope of Istrian wines… oh yes so easy to pick up a nasty, wintered over penny and whisper to myself, “…all the day you’ll have good luck!”

Here are our links:

http://www.shareistria.com/candidate/teresa-fritschi

http://www.shareistria.com/candidate/ken-herron

And so I now get to introduce @kenherron to my beloved Croatia and we are the #ShareIstria team #IstraKT and you can, and should, follow us on Twitter, here on my blog, on Instagram and Facebook, Periscope et al.  We’d love your social media love, and we have plans to give away cool swag because even though we “Wish You Were Here” it’s the least we can do to include you. Join Us?

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me a cup of tea’ in your currency via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com and then, please do share the blog with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

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The latest invasion of Istria – is you.

20141118_121704_HDRIt’s not news to any of my regular readers that I have fallen under the spell of Croatia; for Eighty-Eight days between November 2014 and February 2015 I essentially had the country and its amazing citizens to myself. I discovered a place of my heart and wrote extensively about the nuances of her culture, her history, the tastes experienced, things learned, the kindness and hospitality of her people and her future – hopefully with me placed squarely in its midst. Amongst those writings, a post that went viral (reaching over 54,000 people in a single day, and presently over 121,000 people have read it). Even if you have never read my blog, or been to Croatia, at some point in the last couple of years this ascending star of holiday destinations has beguiled you.

sh

Stjepan Hauser

truffles

Yes, TRUFFLES (the landscape behind is Motovun)

I am certain you have lusted over images of her crystalline waters, medieval towns, selfies taken at her music festivals, picturesque harbors, and bright white stone buildings, piers and walkways. Istrian wines have been celebrated since Roman times, but her most famous export of late is cellist Stjepan Hauser, one half of 2Cellos with Luka Šulić, who was born in Pula. Yes, their video is from the jaw-dropping Roman, 27 BC – 68 AD, amphitheatre there which is among the six largest surviving Roman arenas in the World. And so, having already fallen in love with Croatia, but not yet having set foot near Motovun and its truffles, when I discovered the #ShareIstria campaign by the Istra Tourism Board to expand tourism to its breathtaking vistas I called my friend Ken Herron to see if he wanted to apply with me – our combined knowledge of, and influence on, social media has realised some substantial impact over the last couple of years. Ken and I share a common marketing and communications background, we’ve both spent considerable time in the verticals of hospitality and tourism, food and beverage, heck, we’ve even held the CMO role for the same tech company. Oh yes, and we are both hedonists (he probably a bit more than I)!

Rovinj

Rovinj, Istra, Croatia

Nigel Lamb - Race Day, New YorkRed Bull recognises the value of Croatia as a backdrop for its various extreme sports – and Istria’s postcard perfect #Rovinj once again will host their Air Races 30/31 May and in the past its Cliff Diving has been hosted in Dubrovnik. Sadly, should Ken and I be chosen, we won’t be able to witness the air races as he has a key note speech to give on social media in Singapore at the same time. Sniff. Istria has pulled out all the stops on this campaign, every week three teams of two will be brought to Istria to compete in raising her awareness within the social media sphere of influence, the top team advances to a sort of semi-final where ranking is earned based upon votes from across various platforms and in the end, the team that creates the largest social media impact wins 10,000 Euros. So each of you reading this are important, CRITICALLY IMPORTANT, to our participation – we need you to cast your votes on the http://www.shareistria.com/ website from 27 April to 29 April to elect us to the next level of evaluation – it’s kind of like Dancing With The Stars meets The Amazing Race. What do you get in return if we’re selected? Bragging rights, we’ll Tweet your name out with a “wish you were here”, the five lucky social media peeps that get us the most RT, FT, Like, and #ShareIstria love we’ll actually send you refrigerator art in the form of a postcard from our adventures.

Wish you were here, lots of love, follow us on Twitter, @kenherron and @teresafritschi.

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me a cup of tea’ in your currency via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com and then, please do share the blog with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

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Green glasses.

I write about the uncommon aspects of common things. I write about gratitude and beauty. I write about awareness of the imperceptible in the cacophony of daily life. I write about how we change, and shift in our perceptions based upon experience – and by experience I mean wisdom earned.

Hannah sea glass

My girlfriend Hannah’s sea glass from Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides, Scotland

It is the creation, by hand, of something long lasting that inspires me most, and even the remnants of those long ago hand-crafted items which wash ashore as bits of sea glass, or are found in archeological digs (which sounds so much more impressive than rubbish tips or garbage dumps of our distant ancestors).  The shift I want to write about today is more than 30 years in the making (for myself).  Humankind has drunk from glass vessels for some 3500 years, the first known examples coming from ancient Mesopotamia – now Syria; let the sadness of the destruction of their civil war and ISIS and so forth spill forth just as wine spilt from a broken stem of your grandmothers.

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Waterford Tyrone

In my twenties, I aspired to own a suite of full lead, hand-cut crystal in a pattern called Tyrone from Waterford. My mother made it plain that no one in our family would purchase it for my wedding (though later she had to have their Lismore pattern), but my mother-in-law, Marcia, was of a different mindset. At the time, in the early 1980s, the stems were $31 – $33 and not only did my ex-husband and I receive some for wedding gifts but for Christmas and birthdays thereafter Marcia made sure this was my gift. Ultimately the cupboard held 6 each of Champagne flutes, red wines, and water goblets. I loved everything about them – including that they were special order only and had to wait at least six months for each to arrive. They are still gorgeous, and perfect, and have held some very memorable beverages and experiences.

On an entirely different end of the drinking vessel spectrum, I also love (Great) Depression Era 20150311_105805petroleum glass – the green. At a time when the world economy was reeling from the stock market crash, drought, and massive unemployment, and the global social malaise that would propel all of us into World War II, movie theatres (and others) in the United States of my parents youth gave out premiums in the form of this glassware – pitchers, cake plates, dishes, cups, vases and drinking glasses. I can’t recall when I first became aware of the glasses, though both grandmothers had cake plates with the sunflower (or daisy) embossed on them. But, about the same time as the Waterford was trickling into my consciousness and then my life so too, optic swirled green glasses. At less than a $1 a piece at estate sales and antique shops and with a history of 50+ years of service behind them I was enchanted – and they came home to be used, not just admired.  Yesterday morning I opened a box recently arrived from eBay with 11 of the largest of these I have ever acquired, and delighted would be an 20150311_110111understatement as with the shipping each hand-blown beauty cost less than $2.75. I washed them. I took a picture. I put them next to the other odd green glasses in the kitchen cupboard and truth be told I was RIDICULOUSLY happy. I discovered that the short ones hold the same volume as the Waterford Tyrone water goblets, at which point I did an online search and discovered that these now sell for $200 a piece which prompted my listing them on eBay. A Martini will taste just as lovely in the short versions of my new, very old, glasses as they did in my Waterford goblets. Wisdom doesn’t preclude an appreciation for the rare and exquisitely crafted, but it certainly embraces when it is time to let go and buy some good gin with the proceeds. 😉

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me a cup of tea’ in your currency via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com and then, please do share the blog with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

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Lunch in Dalmatia “triumph of simplicity”

Let me just say I was not being a tenant, I was being a neighbour. I had made ratatouille (mitigating my normal level of spices our of respect for my landlords tastebuds) and brought down a quart for them. I was invited for lunch an hour later.

Lunch in Dalmatia is a vastly different thing than it is in, say, New York City. First everyone enjoys the same leisurely pace as “the 1%” but the cost for an extraordinary meal with good wine and great conversation is different, it is democratic in its accessibility.  No matter how fresh what is on your plate in Manhattan might be the lettuces weren’t picked an hour before a simple dressing of vinegar and the sublime extra virgin olive oil is applied, and it would be safe bet that it wasn’t swimming in the clear grilled fishaquamarine waters of the Adriatic literally less than two hours previous.

And contrary to the Dalmatian concept of pòmalo, at Ivanka’s table lunch is served when she says it is going to be.  Let’s talk about the fish. Slightly larger than a rainbow trout but based upon the taste I would say sea bass. Cleaned and gutted, drenched in a lemon juice and Extra Virgin Olive (EVO) oil and then grilled, whole, outside over olive wood cuttings. I took an extra measure of a 1/2 of a lemon to drizzle over my fish (each of us with one gorgeous specimen on our plate).  Then like a child I was patiently guided on how to use my fingers to remove the dorsal fin and bones, to suck gently on the head to remove the yumminess (I drew the line at eating the eyeballs staring back at me). The last time I ate with my fingers with such dedicated passion was over a plate of awaze tibsbeef Awaze Tibs in 1999 in a ground level Ethiopian restaurant in a section of Boston’s Massachusetts Avenue that fell, like so much, to gentrification.  Bit by delicious bit I left the cleanest plate I have ever left for any meal, ANYWHERE. I paced myself because each mouthful was heaven. I was thoroughly committed to making it like Tantric sex, only eating. The crispy skin, the oil and lemon infused deep within the DSCN9895moist flesh of the grilled fish itself.  In New York this would have had a $60 tab plus taxes and tip. Here the fish was 8 kuna per kilo (yes, $1.30). While I have always been a ‘foodie’ you will want to cry (I did mist up) over the absolute perfection of it should be so lucky to have someone prepare such for you. Anthony Bourdain missed something amazing on his trip to Croatia because (having watched the episode twice) I KNOW that this particular bounty did not pass his lips.  Truly Dalmatian cuisine is, as you will hopefully hear in watching this episode, a “triumph of simplicity”.

Marko’s family, like so many Dalmatians, have been here since  before the Ottoman Turks occupied in 1540. His legacy, the connection to the land, also includes skills at wine making that would be enviable (and medal winning) at wine competitions. I must also offer than given the addition of sulfates to most commercial red wines (offered in the United States) I can no longer drink them because I will wake in the middle of the night with painful leg cramps – Marko’s wine poses no such issue and is astonishing in its body and on the palette.

We don’t share language per se. Some German, some English and on my part some Croatian and yummy noises. In the two weeks I have been here there is usually someone who speaks English to help convey my thoughts and emotions – we went without that benefit over this meal. And what happened was magical. BECAUSE WE WANT TO UNDERSTAND EACH OTHER. Because we are trying to discuss food, and life, and wine and what is authentic. Because over a shared meal, regardless of where we are from we are all the same.

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me a cup of tea’ in your currency via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com and then, please do share the blog with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

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Love, as a journey – guest blog for Last Minute Travel Club

Kiss 1940sCo-published, as guest blog for Last Minute Travel’s Blog.

I recently received an email from my friend Ken at Last Minute Travel and LMT Club – “Would you like to be our #TravelTweetChat guest for this week, the topic is travel and romance…” to which I replied, “Yes, I’d love to!”

11 months of meeting (all kinds of) men through OKCupid, years of thinking (and writing) about ‘happy endings’ as well as the promise of new beginnings, passion, intimacy, tenderness, romance, words to convey longing, reuniting, and love, exploring the world (largely alone) – maybe he wasn’t so far off with his subsequent words of “We need an expert on love and travel, that’s you!”

So to help you plan your Valentine’s Day travels, it’s time to roll up my sleeves!

Chansonnier de Jean de Montchenu, made in France, c.1475. This is an example of a cordiform (heart-shaped) manuscript. It contains 44 love songs by composers such as Dufay, Ockeghem, Binchois, and Busnois.

The romantic love (rather than relationships for political expedience or strategic alliance) as most of Western society understands it can be directly traced to the courtly love of 12th century France. The troubadours and their lyrical love poetry sung to the accompaniment of a lyre or lute, in nearly every instance this courtly love was directed toward a presumed married, virtuous and unattainable woman (an aristocrat surely and written of as a goddess on earth). The words were always of her being pined for by a younger man.  If he was sufficiently eloquent (and physically compelling) she might deign to take him as her lover – a grand passion, erotic love, in French called fin’amour (discreetly conducted even if everyone knew) and, you should know, it was always HER CHOICE to call him to court or to her bedroom. 

So let our journey of love begin in France – but fast forward to Paris in the 20th Century Richard Burton. Elizabeth Taylor - 1969 (42nd)and the scandalous affair that would be publicly condemned by the Vatican, result in two marriages but also two divorces of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

I have loved every experience I have have ever had in Paris – every single drop of the joie de vivre, the taste of Bellini’s and (multiple bottles of) Veuve Clicquot in Harry’s (American) Bar as well as the the Bar at the Hôtel Lancaster, where Liz and Dick would take over two of the eight floors of the hotel when they were in town, the exquisitely appreciative men whose words tried to seduce me into their arms whilst I simply climbed the stairs of Sacré-Cœur, the forgiving effect which my décolletage ensconced in a black lace bra made by Lise-Charmel peeking out from a Chanel jacket had while breathlessly repeating “Je me regrette, Je M’excuse, Je vous prie de bien vouloir m’excuser” in arriving to Palais Garnier et de l’Opéra bastille , alors!, late.  I have never stayed at the exquisite Shangri-La Paris  mais oui, j’ai eu le coup a foudre!

The journey of love doesn’t require grandiosity – I know, I know, it’s lovely but romance can mean just as much when traveling in a late model van.  Skating on the Fond Pond in Boston Common? Followed by a dinner of lobster fra diavolo at The Daily Catch in the North End and cannoli at Caffe Paradiso is perfect in a settled-into-our-relationship-let’s-just-be-kind-of-way. And if you aren’t “in love” or not in a romantic relationship is fenwaythere a better city in America for sharing with a best friend of either sex? I  think not! I mean, Ray Kinsella and Terence Mann sitting in Fenway Park? Are you really going to tell me that their ‘bro-mance’ didn’t make you want to plan your own road trip to Kenmore Square to find your own Field of Dreams?

blue cave

The Blue Cave (Modra špilja) is located at the Balun Cove on the eastern side of the island Biševo

I am falling utterly, ridiculously, in love with the people and country of Croatia. Like two of the other countries of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire I have visited (Austria and Hungary) this horseshoe shaped country is a compelling mix of people who truly appreciate living, who are, as the French would say, bien dans sa peau (comfortable in one’s own skin), an epicurean and oenophile dreamscape made real – found in Istria (adjoins Italy’s Province of Trieste) where Roman emperors regarded the wines amongst the best their empire had to offer, running south and east along the clear beautiful waters of the Adriatic with its 1000 plus islands of the Dalmatian Coast and onto the music festivals and lifestyles of the rich and famous of Dubrovnik in high season and back to Zagreb – the land and the descendants of Bronze Age inhabitants are proving worthy of my heart.  If you can handle the F-bombs of Anthony Bourdain, see his reaction to the food, the wine and his experience from a year ago which aired in March 2013 and I hope you will take up my challenge to see world class musicians Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser as 2Cellos (oh gawd, you have to hear them play!) – just a sampling, to whet your wanderlust.

Helene Berman straw hat

Helene Berman straw hat

There is, of course, a short, definitive list of romantic things that should accompany you as journey toward love (even if you decide to stay-cation)  – Neuhaus chocolates, J & E Atkinson I Coloniali hand cream, (as previously mentioned) Veuve Clicquot, a gorgeous straw hat (protection from peering eyes and the sun, a little mysterious and a bit of serious attitude to carry off), a white dress – not a wedding gown – that manages to convey ‘woman’ at the same time it is visually soft, massages, manicures and pedicures for two to make hand holding, kissing, spooning and love-making more tactically voluptuous (and yes, guys you can do peonies_5this without getting all metro-sexual), a bouquet of unusual flowers (oh, plueze not roses) such as mixed bunch featuring white peonies and stock; if you are reading this in NYC try my girlfriend Hannah Ling’s Gardenia Organic  or if in Stockholm try Jemima Nylund’s Norr Mälarstrand Blommor  (order REALLY early).

In closing, whether your version of love is Muse or Il DivoNi vous sans moi, ni moi sans vous, (Neither you without me, neither I without you) – Happy Valentine’s Day wishes no matter where you travel with your sweetheart!

If you enjoy my blog please share it with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

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Sherlock and UBUNTU – I wish you a very good year!

In anticipation of season three, I have been watching the previous seasons of Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss’ brilliant (ridiculously brainy) adaption of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock for the BBC (shown on Masterpiece Theatre in the United States). Midday yesterday I wrapped up by watching The Reichenbach Fall in ‘the death’ that has the Internet buzzing and in conjunction with the years’ endImage where I take time to evaluate of my failings and successes and lay them down like stocks of a good wine in a temperate cellar, I was struck by the connection to others that makes a life rich beyond compare.  In the new seasons’ teaser #SherlockLives but in his ‘death’ Gatiss and Moffat’s Sherlock has been humbled.  It is clear that he has learned the perils of standing at the center of the stage taking up too much space and making others look foolish and inept;  the hard lesson of humility has been learnt at the hand of his archenemy Professor James Moriarty and, in doing so, Sherlock became the perfect friend.  As Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the inspiration for his protagonist Sherlock Holmes were both Scottish, and this being New Year’s Day and all, the truest song (two versions by one incredible Scotsman) of friendship and remembrance sung the world over – click here darlings!

My thoughts have a natural segue which might be less than immediately obvious – !

Twice this week (yes, and it is ONLY Wednesday!) I have been sent some variation on the observations of Bronnie Ware, as a result I am sure that I am supposed to ‘offer this up’ as as both a Happy New Year greeting and smack-down.  First received was Sasha Daygame’s video on YouTube with Croatian subtitles (coming through a Facebook message on the heels of my heart being rent in pieces from an unexpected source which only someone connected to me energetically could ‘know’ I needed at that precise moment) and then this morning via Upworthy – Jane McGonigal’s Edinburgh TED talk (“my” Croatian and Scottish messages duly noted).

Bonnie, a former Hospice nurse who in helping people at the end of their lives, came to capture these five universal regrets all prefaced with “I wish” ~

  • I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
  • I hadn’t worked so hard. Image
  • I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
  • I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  • That I had let myself be happier.

Please notice that each point here is about living in authenticity.

Incessant blether of all kinds can be heard (or read) about about collaborative communities, about negotiating and empowerment and agile networks but the truth is that NONE OF THAT WORKS if all of those sitting at the table are not coming at the problem to be solved (or their lives) from a place of personal authenticity.  Compromise for the sake of harmony isn’t authentic – it’s destructive.  The real danger of living without personal authenticity at a cellular level is the percolation of resentment and weariness (or cite life as ‘boring’ as Sherlock parrots throughout the series) and then every aspect of growth in our lives, our dreams and aspirations for creating good for the planet are undermined.

There’s a story floating around Facebook and the Internet in general about the philosophy of UBUNTU (here Nelson Mandela explains) it is perfect for conveying the connection endemic to our human condition – even as so many of ‘us’ fail to feel it at the cellular level.

ImageAn anthropologist proposed a game to the kids of an African tribe. He put a basket full of sweet fruit near a distant tree and told the kids that whoever got there first would win the fruit. When he told them to run they all took each other’s hands and ran, then sat down together to enjoy their treats. When asked why they had run as one when one of them could have had all the fruits for him or herself they said, ”UBUNTU, how can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?”

UBUNTU means: “I am because we are.”

Auld Lang Syne has been sung since Robert Burns’ 18th century Scotland, we all live and die (at some point) with many or with few regrets – with vast numbers of friends but very likely less than five will ever be those that you can (or should Imagebelieve you can) truly ask for help as Benedict Cumberbatch in playing Sherlock does toward the end of his character’s ‘life’ of Molly.  In our global village, where we are all connected in “I am because we are” your highest level of personal authenticity is necessary far beyond self, your integrity has huge rippling effects on the energy of everyone and everything and it is incumbent upon you to ‘be’ in fullness of being.

Please, go make 2014 the best not only for yourself but for the rest of us as well.

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