Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ambiente CALIENTE in Zurich this weekend

"Life is short, wear tropical shirts!"
Marc Lampe

Summer is party time. Are you ready to move your body this weekend? I got mine warmed up at Ricky Martin's concert last night. Boy, I realized that last time I had been to a concert people still swayed their lighters. That says it all, doesn't it?

Would you get those smartphone screens out of my face so I can see Ricky Martin's sexy moves, pliiiiiissss!

Anyway, there is some hot Latino music heading towards Switzerland this weekend. From Friday to Sunday, the streets surrounding Helvetiaplatz in Zurich will be colorfully decorated with Latin culture thanks to CALIENTE! the annual Latin Music Festival.

Every year in mid-June, Zürich is gripped by the Caliente fever, when the biggest festival of Latin-American culture in the German-speaking region takes place during a weekend. This combination of live concerts, dance floors, and a market is unique.

Admitteldy it's a wee hike from Lugano to Zurich but hey, now that the new "Autobahn" has opened and you don't need to drive along the Sihltal any longer you can be there in a 2 hour hop. So, go do something crazy this weekend. 250'000 people are expected this weekend to make their way to Helvetiaplatz and the grounds of the Kaserne to party in the open air within the city in a relaxed, tropical ambience, so it must be worth the trip.

The programme features many international live bands and dance shows, as well as plenty DJs and MCs. On the open-air stage at Helvetiaplatz, a colorful mix of well-known musicians and dance groups will give visitors a taste of Switzerland's Latin cultural scene. Lovers of Salsa, Brasil, Merengue, Bachata, Cumbia, Cuban Jazz, Timba, Rumba, Spanish Rock, Flamenco, Mambo and Reggae will be in seventh heaven. The colorful Mercado Mundial at Helvetiaplatz, covering an area of 32,000 sq.m will be bursting with more than 250 market stands, selling exotic drinks, spicy dishes and handicrafts.

While the majority of the festival is free and in a public area, several events do require tickets so be sure to check the Caliente website for special performances that require advance purchased tickets.


To render your weekend escape absolutely perfect book a room at the Seegarten Hotel which lies walking distance from the city center as is right next to the Seebad Utoquai, a public bath which is located on the eastern side of the lake and is housed in a historic monument dating back to 1889. For many Swiss, the "Badi" (local dialect) has been an integral part of their life for years or decades. It is a small world in itself. It offers fantastic sunsets, especially after the sky has been whimsical.


There is a small restaurant offering warm meals as well as a rich salad buffet. The northern (and nicest) end of the Badi is reserved for women, the southern side for men and the two central areas are mixed.

Yes, life is still a beach.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I'm an Organizing Junkie - organizing Recipes

"Thought is the organizing factor in man, intersected between the casual primary instincts and the resulting actions."
Albert Einstein

My friends call me organized. Admittely my Swiss upbring rubbed off and I like my "stuff" in order. I am a big lover of containers. I have silver metal tins, floral print hat boxes, leather trunks, white cardboard boxes, pink wicker baskets, plastic storage fold-ups, OXO kitchen cubes just to mention a few. These also come very handy when moving around the globe, although the movers aren't always happy since MY boxes don't fit in theirs....but that is their problem, frankly!


Anyway I came across this fantastic site this morning which I just had to share with you. It is full of fun, easy, effective organizational ideas. It's called: I'm an Organizing Junkie.


One post that caught my attention was how to gather online recipes (from different sites) in one place rather than just tagging them on every single host website.

Laura uses Microsoft's OneNote but Springpad and Evernote are two free alternatives. OneNote enables her to keep notebooks for endless topics. She has a personal notebook with a section for recipes. When she finds a recipe she wants to try she can either print the entire page to OneNote, so that it looks just like the website or do a simple copy/paste of just the recipe. With either method the original website link is also included so you know where the recipe came from. OneNote also lets you make notes about changes or record how you actually cooked the recipe and how it turned out.


Now, I think that is a brilliant alternative to printing and binding every recipie that tickles your fancy online. Thank you for sharing Laura. Needless to say, I do also love my recipe binders full of printed, stained recipes sitting on my kitchen shelves looking organized! ;)

For MAC users there is a similar programme called "Notebook" by Circus Ponies. Also take a look at http://www.cookmarkit.com. It’s a new social bookmarking site that focuses on recipes. Really easy to follow your friends and see what they’re cooking. Happy cooking everyone!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Where is your favourite blog spot?

"Blogging is an art, same as any other method of self-expression. Some are better at it than others."
Hugh MacLeod

The Blog Guidebook has launched an investigation. The question is: Where's Your Best Blog Spot? Tell us about yourself...we want to know more about how, where, and why you blog.


Since I spend a fair amount infront of my computer doing all kinds of projects - from photo albums and movies to party organization - I was thrilled to discover blogging because it channels all my ideas and productive output  into something I can visualize. I get tremendous satisfaction from feedback, comments and number of page views. I know where I sit and write but I always wonder where other people sit and blog. What does their work space look like? When does most of their blogging happen? How do some of those blogging ladies manage to balance hubby, kids and household while doing such a professional job at posting their ideas, opinions, thoughts, crafts, photos, etc?

Well, I'd like to show you where my blogging happens but I'm in the middle of a move, therefore bear with me. I used to blog out of a lovely "grotto" with a cosy fireplace looking onto my beautiful garden and a view of the Monte Bré. I still need to carve out my work space in our new home. In the meantime, we're on holiday and I'm blogging with Expat son's computer whenever he lets me use it. Mine is in the move somewhere on the road in Europe at this very moment. I can, however, show you where all my magic will be happening for the next two months!


So, where in the world do you blog?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Travel Trivia for kids (and grown-ups)

"The World is a book and those who do not travel read only a page."
Saint Augustine (Acient Roman Christian Theologian)


This post is dedcated to all the mums who are planning looooooong car rides across the country or the continent. Following is a list of fun facts that should get your conversation going during your travels. Kids are a lot better company during a car ride if you keep them engaged in conversation I find, so here goes:

- It is impossible for most people to lick their own elbow. (try it!)
- A crocodile cannot stick its tongue out.
- A shrimp's heart is in its head.
- In a study of 200,000 ostriches over a period of 80 years, no one reported a single case where an ostrich buried its head in the sand, or attempted to do so.
- It is physically impossible for pigs to look up into the sky.
- The "sixth sick sheik's sixth sheep's sick" is believed to be the toughest tongue twister in the English language.
- If you sneeze too hard, you could fracture a rib.
- Rats multiply so quickly that in 18 months, two rats could have over a million descendants.
- Wearing headphones for just an hour could increase the bacteria in your ear by 700 times.
- In every episode of Seinfeld there was a Superman somewhere in the picture.
- In the course of an average lifetime, while sleeping you might eat around 70 assorted insects and 10 spiders, or more.
- Some lipsticks contain fish scales.
- Cat urine glows under a black-light.
- Like fingerprints, everyone's tongue print is different.
- Rubber bands last longer when refrigerated.
- There are 293 ways to make change for a dollar.
- The average person's left hand does 56% of the typing (when using the proper position of the hands on the keyboard; Hunting and pecking doesn't count!).
- A shark is the only known fish that can blink with both eyes.
- The longest one-syllable words in the English language are "scraunched" and "strengthed." Some suggest that "squirreled" could be included, but squirrel is intended to be pronounced as two syllables (squir-rel) according to most dictionaries. "Screeched" and "strengths" are two other long one-syllable words, but they only have 9 letters.
- "Dreamt" is the only English word that ends in the letters "mt".
- Almonds are a member of the peach family.
- Maine is the only state that has a one-syllable name.
- There are only four words in the English language which end in "dous": tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous.
- Los Angeles' full name is "El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles de Porciuncula"
- A cat has 32 muscles in each ear.
- An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.
- Tigers have striped skin, not just striped fur.
- In many advertisements, the time displayed on a watch is 10:10.
- The characters Bert and Ernie on Sesame Street were named after Bert the cop and Ernie the taxi driver in Frank Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life."
- A dime has 118 ridges around the edge.
- The giant squid has the largest eyes in the world.
- The microwave was invented after a researcher walked by a radar tube and a chocolate bar melted in his pocket.
- Most people fall asleep in seven minutes.
- "Stewardesses" is the longest word that is typed with only the left hand.



Source: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Gone with the Wind for 75 years!

“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”
Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind

Margaret Mitchell penned Gone With the Wind 75 years ago. Within the first six months of publication, the novel sold one million copies and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. Hollywood fell in love with the story and brought it to life on the big screen in 1939.


The world fell in love too with the spirited and sassy Scarlett O’Hara played by Vivian Leigh and dashing and debonair Rhett Butler played by Clark Gable. 

At the book's core is its strong heroine, Scarlett O'Hara, the ultimate survivor. As author Pat Conroy notes in the forward to the 75th-anniversary edition of the book, "Scarlett springs alive in the first sentence of the book and holds the narrative center for over a thousand pages. She is a fabulous, pixilated, one-of-a-kind creation, and she does not utter a dull line in the entire book. She makes her uncontrollable self-centeredness seem like the most charming thing in the world and one feels she would be more than a match for Anna Karenina, Lady Macbeth or any of the women of Tennessee Williams."


Margaret Mitchell, a little-known Atlanta newswoman, took nine years to write this giant of a book, and a further eight months to check all the historical references in it. She wrote it bedridden after a problem in her leg. Gone With the Wind was Mitchell’s first — and only — full-length book. Mitchell had a fairly turbulent romantic life — marrying twice in a short span. How much of Scarlett did Mitchell see in herself?
In August 1949, Mitchell was hit by a car while crossing the road in Atlanta with her husband John Marsh. They were on their way to watch A Canterbury Tale. She died in hospital five days later and was buried in Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta.


Gone With the Wind is a true timeless classic that still holds hearts of fans today. Take an afternoon and show your kids some real Hollywood glamour. As far as I'm considered Gone with the Wind classifies as general knowlegde and must be viewed at least once in your life....no matter what age you are!!!

An evening stroll in Lugano

Nothing like a nighttime stroll to give you ideas.
Some fotos of our LongLake experience.


It's all happening in Lugano!


The perfect spot to watch all the action


Gelato to make me smile


I wonder where is planning to go?


A merry-go-round night ride to keep the kids happy!


How come you can never go down town without passing Manor (dept.store)?


One last night cap before we head home!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Celebrate Lugano's ESTIVAL and LONGLAKE

As of last weekend the center road along the lake of Lugano is closed off to traffic on Friday and Saturday evenings much to the locals' delight. This is a clear sign that summer has begun in Lugano. Despite the weather I might add. Families, lovebirds, teeneagers, musicians, streetartists, local ice cream and souvenir vendors all gather to have a jolly ol'time down by the picturesque lakeside of Lugano.


“estivaLugano” Festival has been organized by The Youth and Events Department (Dicastero Giovani ed Eventi - DGE) for 15 years now. “estivaLugano” is full of events that overlook the lakefront of Lugano during its most beautiful season - summer. The streets will be closed to the traffic every Friday and Saturday night from mid-June (Fri June 17th) to the end of August (Sat August 27th).


The DGE is involved in the areas of cultural events, leisure services and work. Most of the activities come in close contact with young people and are also conducted by young people. During these eleven weekends about 60 events are to be held. “estivaLugano” continues to offer music, theater, cabaret, dance and entertainment ranging from world music, jazz, folk, reggae and often involving artists and companies from Ticino. On Sundays the Park will host storytellers for children and concerts of classical music. The areas of activity range from Piazza Manzoni to the Rivetta Tell and the Parco Ciani.
Click here to find all the details of this summer programme as well as the estivaLugano website.
“estivaLugano” presents a new concept this year called “LongLake.” In the period between June 22 and August 1, 2011 the programme will intensify, involving also other events meant to enliven the city center. LongLake counts 170 events, all free, with rare exceptions duly reported in the calendar. Click here for Longlake programme.
Summing up the events of “LongLake” and “estivaLugano” the offer counts 230 shows. That is one big brilliant achievment for Lugano if you ask me.
Anybody who lives in Lugano knows what a lovely experience an evening stroll along the “riviera” of Lake Lugano can be, especially when savouring a home-made “gelato” (ice-cream). So what are you waiting for? Grab your kids, forget about bedtime (we’re on holidays, remember?) and head down to the lake tonight.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

June 23rd is National PiNK Day!!!

"Pink isn't just a colour. It's an attitude!"

Today is definatley MY day. Today is the day to celebrate the colour PiNK in every way you can think of. It is easy to enjoy and participate in this holiday. Bring your pink inner self out of hiding. Wear pink and show off everything you have that's pink, from clothing and shoes to accessoires and make-up. Be creative. Use food coloring to make pink meals. Pink frosting on a cake or cookies will be a big hit today. Have a PiNK party!


Though I can’t find much in the way of a historical reference or origin story on where National Pink Day comes from, I can say that I love any excuse to wear more PiNK! Sure, the color PiNK has been given many different meanings depending on the motives, cause or stereotype. Whatever it is about this fun, girlie color – let’s embrace it on June 23rd!

Dress like a cupcake should feel

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer Party at the Lido with Lugano's Hockey Club

Would you like to meet some hunky hockey players and listen to cool music? It's all happening tonight at the Lido of Lugano. Lugano's Hockey Club are celebrating the nomination of their new president Vicky Mantegazza and throwing a party you won't forget. You'll be able to meet the teams' players in person including the newcomers Jaroslav Bednar e Kimmo Rintanen. So what are you waiting for? Go, head down to Lugano's one and only sandy beach for a groovy summer party!


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

On the road....literally!

Dear readers,

Please bare with me until Thursday. I am on the road cruising through Europe and will be full of beans and ideas upon my return the day after tomorrow.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A lesson in friendship and love

MA PIAS AL ROSA
CREDI CHE GHIGNAA
L’È LA MIGLIUR ROBA
PER BRÜSAA CALURÌ
CREDI NAL BASAÀ, BASAÀ TANTO
CREDI NAL VESS FORT
QUAND TÜTT PAR NA STORT
CREDI CHE I TUSAN CUNTENT
IE I TUSAN PÜSEE BEI
CREDI CHE DUMAN SRAÀ UN ALTRU DÌ
E CREDI NAI MIRACUI
AUDREY HEPBURN


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Summer holidays begin in Lugano today

Dream what you want to dream; go where you want to go; be what you want to because you have only one life and one chance to do all the things you want to do, so enjoy your summer vacation!

Summer holidays have begun today throughout Ticino. 
Viva l'estate!

Here is a link with an extensive list of all summer camps in Lugano for June, July and August:


Happy Summer holidays to all of you!


Friday, June 17, 2011

Outlet shopping in Switzerland: Foxtown

So, yesterday I took my little self off shopping down the road to Mendrisio (15km south of Lugano) to have a stroll through Europe's biggest outlet mall. A stroll is mildly put. Foxtown is a hangar housing 3 km of shop windows with over 160 stores, a casino, several bars and restaurants plus a generous amount of visitor parking.


The Foxtown centre boasts of having prestigious brands at factory prices, and stores in the complex include Gucci, D&G, Armani, Diesel, Calvin Klein, Boss, Gant, Prada, Ralph Lauren, Diesel, Esprit, Adidas, Nike, Replay, Superga, Samsonite, Fratelli Rossetti, Brums, La Perla, Fendi, Tod's, Hogan, Versace and Valentino. In these retail spaces, over 250 top Italian and International brands offer their products at factory prices directly to the customer, with a discount from 30% to 70%.


Personally I like shopping for household goods and sports equipment. Bed Linen, kitchen gadgets, gym shoes and the kids sport's gear all get acquired at a healthy discount. The quality is guaranteed by the brand itself. Trust me you CANNOT resist the temptation of shopping. You can go absolutely wild when the sales are on in July and January.

The best part of it all is that the shopping mall is open 7 days a week from 11.00 to 19.00. Click here for more info!


My personal favourites:
Villeroy & Boch (Store No: 220),  La Casa Italiana (Store No: 248), Ferrari (Store No: 160), Ralph Lauren (Store No: 108), Nike (Store No: 111),  Gucci (Store No. 209), Tod's (Store No: 309), Petit Bateau (Store No. 223).

HaPpY ShOpPinG!!!!


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Bewitched by the moon on Lugano's Monté Bré

The Swiss Hiking Federation invites you to participate at the sixth annual Swiss Hiking Night on Saturday 18th, June, 2011. Whether you fancy a light night walk or  a hike of several hours - Switzerland is offering more than 50 ways to discover a new facet of the Alps.



Lugano has proposed the two following events:

1.) BEWITCHED BY THE MOON....ON THE TOP OF MOUNT BRÈ
The new excursion proposed by Lugano Turismo has a touch of magic to it. On the coming June 18th people who love nature and suggestive atmospheres will be able to take part in a very special hike: a walk along the trail on the top of Mount Brè in the moonlight.

The programme of this night excursion is as follows: Meeting point is in Suvigliana at 6:40 p.m. and at 7:00 p.m. departure from Suvigliana by cable car. Arrival at 7:30 p.m. at the Restaurant Vetta where you'll be able to get a taste of the excellent home style cooking. At 9:30 p.m. departure for the village of Brè (about an hour’s walk) under the moonlight that should reveal unexpected scenarios and fill all the participants with wonder. At 11:00 p.m. return by cable railway and arrival in Suvigliana at 11:30 p.m.

All those who wish to have a unique experience are kindly requested to book by calling the Lugano Turismo headquarters in Tesserete, tel. 058 866 49 50. Booking within 3:00 (p.m.) of Friday, June 17th.
The cost of the excursion is Fr. 38.-  all included.

2.) THE SAN LUCIO - MONTE BAR NIGHT EXCURSION:
The ATSE (Ticinese Hiking Trail Association) in collaboration with Lugano Turismo is organising a night excursion from the San Lucio Hut to the Mount Bar mountain Hut – Borisio barrier on Saturday, June 18th, 2011.

The meeting point is at 6.30 p.m. at Tesserete. The hike lasts 4,5 hours (suitable for fit hikers) with a break to admire the hopefully spectacular sunset near Alpe Pietrarossa with a great view over the gulf of Lugano. A spaghetti dinner will be served around 11pm at the Mount Bar Hut. The hike will end at Tesserete at 2.30 a.m. The hike will take place only in good weather.

The price is CHF 40.- per person and includes:
- transportation by minibus;
- hike accompanied by a guide;
- spaghetti dinner with a choice of soft drinks at Mount Bar Mountain Hut.

You may obtain further information by consulting the website www.atse.ch.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Partying in Lugano - Dolphin Party

Well, the party was a hit! The dolphin theme chosen by Expat daughter seemed to be most adequate given that a one point we had 23 children in our pool. (The neighbors must love us today!)

Yesterday I gave away the secret of a scrumptious Lemon Yoghurt cake recipe. Today - as promised- some ideas for a dolphin party.

The Dolphin Cake:


Amazing what one can do with a Coop newspaper....


Chocolate ganache kindly provide by my baking queen friend...
....makes all the pieces stick together....


..and the end result: a Dolphin cake.

As invitiations we made "messages-in-bottles." Simply fill clear plastic bottles with sand, mini sea shells, glitter, etc. Write your invitations on parchment paper, then roll them into scrolls, and insert invitations into bottles.

As decoration we taped multi-colored blue, green and yellow crepe paper streamers to the ceiling of the play room. We turned on a fan so the seaweed could sway in the "currents".  Let the kids know they are in the kelp bed! A floor covered with blue latex balloons will create an "ocean atmosphere." We also cut out starfish, seahorses, and other sea animals from construction paper and taped some them onto the streamers.

We covered table with a blue tablecloth and sparkled a few blue and transparent glitter stones as well as shells across the table. We added ocean themed party supplies such as cups, napkins and plates, plus flatware in blues and greens.

Here are some Dolphin/Under the sea games:
1.) Water balloon race: Mark a course with chalk or orange cones before the fun begins. Have kids race by running a course with water balloons alternately tucked under their chins, under their arms and between their legs. Kids can't touch the balloons with their hands. If the balloon falls and breaks, you're out. If it survives, pick it up and keep going. Big Hit!

2.) Pin the tail on the dolphin: Used Dolphin clip art but mixed things up by using tails from all sorts of animals - mermaid, tiger, horse, whale, peacock, dragon, etc., for the kids to try to place in the correct spot. Very funny results!!

3.) Octopus Alert: Choose one person to be an octopus. Arrange everyone else in a big circle around the octopus. Have the kids in the circle toss a water balloon back and forth, trying to keep it away from the octopus. If the octopus pops the water balloon by batting it out of the circle, the person who threw it is out. Last child left in the circle wins.

4.) Sinking Ship: Divide the players into two teams and place them in two lines. Give the first players on each team a pie plate full of water. Players must pass the pie plate over their heads to the player behind them until the pie plate reaches the end of the line. The team with the most water left in the pie plate - wins.

5.) Musical Towels: Play this fun beach birthday party version of popular Musical Chairs game. Spread out towels - one fewer than players - and put on the summer music. Children must dance around the towels when the music is playing. When it stops, they must stretch out on a towel like a sun-bather. The person left without a towel is out of the game!

6.) No party is complete without a pinata! Just make sure your kids stand in a big circle in order not to get hit with the baton.



In case you wanted to make a pinata yourself, check out this lovely site with step by step instruction for a home made pinata: www.thesweetestoccasion.com/.



Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Partying in Lugano - Lemon Yoghurt Cake recipe

“Live For Today...Plan For Tomorrow...Party Tonight..!!!”

Our household has a tradition of organzing themed Birthday Parties. Now for my American or UK readers this might not seem like a big deal. In Switzerland it is! Unless you decide to throw one of the two "hot" themes of the moment (in Ticino these seem to be Hello Kitty and Pirates) it is very difficult to find a good selection of partyware. When I say themed Birthday party, I mean the full works: Decorations, ballons, murals, lights, plates, tablecloth, cake, cupcakes down to the Pinata (remember we lived in Spain for a while).

Over the years our local friends and neighbours have come to appreciate our mad parties. We have introduced them to Hannah Montana and High School Musical. We have made them dance to Mamma Mia (even the mummies), taught them to catwalk like princesses with a stack of books on their heads at Princess Parties and went totally wild with various Football Galores. We are still working on the Spanish Pinata song with them. ;)

I get most of the party stuff online. Check out my Party site link here: Party & Toys

In full swing with Expat daughter's Birthday Party preparations I decided to share a few of my ideas with you. I'll start today with the basics: the cake! This lemon yoghurt cake tastes delicious, is moist and mixes with any topping or filling, from fruit to chocolate! Here goes:

Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ cup softened butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp grated lemon zest
3 large eggs, separated
1 cup lemon flavored yogurt

Lemon Frosting:
2 cups icing sugar
3 tbsp melted butter
2-3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp candied lemon peel, coarsely chopped

Preparations:
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degree Fahrenheit. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan. Line with waxed paper. Butter the paper. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl. Beat the butter, sugar and lemon zest in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until creamy.
2. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, until just blended after each addition. With mixer at low speed, gradually beat in the dry ingredients, alternating with the yogurt. With mixer at high speed, beat the egg whites in a medium bowl until stiff peaks form.
3. Use a large rubber spatula them into the batter. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes or the cake shrinks from the pan sides and inserted toothpicks into the center comes out clean.
4. Cool the cake in the pan for 5 minutes. Turn out onto a rack. Carefully remove the paper and let cool completely.
5. How to make Lemon Frosting: Mix the icing sugar and butter in a medium bowl. Beat in enough of the lemon juice to make a thick, spreadable frosting. Spread the top and sides of the cake with the frosting. Decorate with the lemon.
6. Enjoy!



Stay tuned for more Party Tips tomorrow!

Monday, June 13, 2011

The 16th Man....never in our wildest dreams

"The greatest glory in living lies not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall."
Nelson Mandela


Tonight  I watched "Invictus" on the RSI (Swiss Italian TV). The film, directed by Clint Eastwood in 2009, features a superb Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela, in his first term as the South African President. This movie is a slicker Hollywood version of a story narrated by Morgen Freeman called "The 16th Man". I remember being mesmerized last year by "The 16th Man". I just couldn’t stop thinking about the impact this event must have had on the South African people.

"The 16th Man" is a documentary about the South African rugby team and how it helped Nelson Mandela write history in 1995, the year the “Springboks” hosted and won the Rugby World Cup. It is about the courage, the will power, the patience, the willingness to accept, the chance to change and about the determination of a man and his country to abolish old rules and accept the challenge.
Looking back on the Soccer World cup of last summer, seeing Nelson Mandels smiling, Rev Desmond Tutu dancing and a United South African people welcoming the World in a feeling of celebration like no other nation has manged this far, must have been an achievement come full cycle for Mr.Mandela. Finally the entire world was turned towards South Africa and NOT because of some news scandal but because they proved to everybody that they can do it. From a South African perspective (and not only from theirs) 16 years ago, it must seem short of a miracle. Thank you Nelson Mandela for showing courage and applying the will power in order to change a country and it’s history all in less than a liftime.
“The 16th Man” is DEFINATELY worth watching. Absolutely speechless to what a nation with the right leader is capable of through sports. Never in our wildest dreams......



 

A pleasant surprise or 100 years of Nivea Creme

A little gesture can go a long way. Nivea's Swiss marketing team have just made my day. Last week I sent an e-mail asking them where I could find my favourite Nivea lipstick. Chantal Thomass Special Edition "Rouge d'Amour". The name says it all, doesn't it just!?

The bad news was that being a special edition, it had gone out of production. HOWEVER, they did send me the one and only sample they had left in the office hoping to make me happy.

Not only did they make me a happy customer, I thought about Carla and Monika (from the Nivea Make-Up team) all day. Having once been a Cosmetic Marketing Manager myself (in a far-away previous life) I remember how tedious those little requests from one little curious or unsatisfied end-customer were, when your daily battle was with distributors, department stores and other big fish. Therefore, a big thank you girls. This post is dedicated to you.



100 years of Nivea Creme:

A gentle revolution took place in the year 1911. With passion and entrepreneurial spirit, pharmacist Dr. Oscar Troplowitz, dermatologist Professor Dr. Paul Gerson Unna and chemist Dr. Isaac Lifschütz put their inquiring minds together to share their know-how and intuitive feel for the skin's needs to develop a cream that would revolutionise the world of skin care.

Lifschütz’s earlier discovery – an emulsifier called Eucerit – made the impossible possible. For the first time ever, it permitted the combination of water and oil into a stable emulsion. Enriched with moisturising lipids, oils and delicate fragrance components, a snow-white legend was born that went on to write brand history.

Customer connectivity, innovative strength and team spirit are the reasons why NIVEA was the first skin care cream to enjoy world-wide fame.

Nivea Creme's trendy new international spokesperson is Rihanna. The flamed-haired chanteuse newest single, California King Bed, serves as the theme song for Nivea’s 100 Years Skincare for Life campaign commercials, which you can see below.



It looks good and it makes people around the world look good. It’s versatile and has many talents. Its fragrance arouses childhood memories and it doesn’t need to chase fast-lived trends. It’s perfect just the way it is – a classic and timeless product that is now 100 years old:

Happy Centennial Nivea Creme!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Fun Theory - you should try it!

“If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun”
Katharine Hepburn

I came across this site this morning and decided to share it with you. It shows that with a bit of creativity you CAN change people's attitude. This site is dedicated to the thought that something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people’s behaviour for the better. Be it for yourself, for the environment, or for something entirely different, the only thing that matters is that it’s change for the better.



”Take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator and feel better” is something we often hear or read in the Sunday papers. Few people actually follow that advice. Can we get more people to take the stairs over the escalator by making it fun to do? See the results here:





My firm belief is that all it takes sometimes is a smile. You should try it....it even works with the serious Swiss! Have a lovely weekend.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Tour de Suisse 2011 kicks off in Lugano

The weather forecast for tomorrow looks promising, therefore slip into your sneakers and head down to the center of Lugano where, once again, Lugano will kick off the fourth most important bicycle race in the world after the Tour de France, Tour of Italy and the Vuelta de España.

The prologue of the Tour de Suisse 2011 race will be the individual time trial.

The route is not very different from those proposed in 2010, with the exception that the start is on Viale Cattaneo infront of the Congress Palace rather than in the Parco Ciani. After racing along Viale Castagnola the bikers will continue towards the Monte Bre until Ruvigliana, passing the Church of San Giorgio in Castagnola. Once they reach Ruvigliana they will descend towards Viganello before reaching the finish line in front of the Municipality of Lugano.

The festivites begin tonight with the presentation of the teams in Piazza Riforma dedicated to all the people of Ticino. Tomorrow, (Saturday, June 11) the action begins at 12:00 sharp. See programme here. The first racers start at 15:30. Right on the first day, the bikers will be able to get a taste of the challenging mountainous tracks that will lead them to the four corners of Switzerland. Lugano's racing lap of 7.3 km distance (see plan here) is little more than a warm up considering what they will have to face later on in the race. Click here for the map of Tour de Suisse.


You can also win a fantastic week-end in a 5 star hotel thanks to the contest that Lugano Turismo organizes in occasion of the 2011 Tour de Suisse.

Participating is really very simple! All you have to do is give the correct answer to the three questions below and fill in the participation form by clicking here. A winner will be drawn among all those who will have answered correctly.

Question 1


Question 2


Question 3




Good luck and see you in Lugano!



Forza Svizzera! Hopp Schwiiz! Allez Suisse!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Lugano Estival Jazz 2011

“Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul”
Plato

It might not sound very inviting at his very moment but - believe me - the sun WILL reappear! Be ready to plunge into Lugano's Estival Jazz as it celebrates its 33nd year of existence this year.

Lugano Estival Jazz is the premier musical event in Southern Switzerland (Canton Ticino).
Set in the heart of Lugano, in the beautiful 19th century Piazza della Riforma, and in the surrounding town of Mendrisio in star architect Mario Botta's "Piazzale alla Valle", Lugano Estival Jazz attracts thousands of Jazz and World Music fans each year.

The good news is:  All concerts are OPEN AIR and TOTALLY FREE!

Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Keith Jarrett, Ray Charles, Bobby McFerrin, Herbie Hancock, BB King, Friedrich Gulda, Tito Puente, Chick Corea, The Manhattan Transfer, Take 6, Gato Barbieri, Maynard Ferguson, Cesaria Evora, Dee Dee Bridgewater Carla Bley, Barbara Hendricks, Wynton Marsalis, Cheb Mami, Noa, Oscar D'Leon, Jon Hendricks, Paco de Lucia, Van Morrison, Buddy Guy, Taj Mahal, Khaled are only some of the over 300 groups / artists that have performed since 1979.

Click here for this Estival Jazz 2011 programme and see if you might be tempted to join a concert below the starry sky.

Where: Mendrisio www.mendrisio.ch
When: Friday 24th & Saturday 25th June, 2011

Where: Lugano www.lugano.ch
When: Thursday June 30th, Friday 1st  & Saturday 2nd July, 2011

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Umbrellas for your shoes - Shuella

“If a woman rebels against high-heeled shoes, she should take care to do it in a very smart hat”
 George Bernard Shaw (Irish, 1925 Nobel Prize for Literature, 1856-1950)

The weather is going from bad to worse these days. Girls know what it’s like to get all dressed up, put on their favorite pair of shoes (my friends know I am a total shoe addict), go out and then be soaked in a summer shower in just a couple of minutes.

Yesterday I came across a great invention called Shuella. The name Shuella says it all. These boots are the combination of shoes and umbrella. The Shuella is basically a rubber boot that any trendy girl can carry with her in her purse and take out at the first sign of rain. It goes perfectly over any type of shoe, from spiked heels to flats, the only sacrifice made with this seemingly revolutionary product being that of comfort over appearance. The Shuella also has a padded sole to avoid slipping or, even worse, tearing the rubber with the heel, and it fits the ankle thanks to several adjustable straps.


"Shuella came about because I was frustrated that every time it would rain or there was inclement weather, I had nothing fashionable and functional to wear that would protect my shoes. I looked everywhere and when I could not find anything suitable, I designed and created them myself.” designer and Shuella founder Rebecca Miller says.

“My goal was to design an extremely stylish, durable and convenient product to carry in your purse or briefcase. Shuellas are easy to put on and strong enough to walk in with a slip free sole. I’ve also included a cloth to wipe off any excess water before you fold them up and put them back in their convenient pouch. I knew if I designed something that met my high standards that they would be perfect for women everywhere.” the designer explains, adding that the Shuellas come in various sizes so that all women can find a pair that suits them like a glove.


SHUELLA was launched in September of 2008 in the US but given the actual weather situation throughout Europe they might just become the next fashion statement this side of the ocean.  SHUELLA'S are availablefor just $49.95.  There is free shipping in the U.S. and they will ship overseas for just a $12.50 shipping fee. (Guess what, I'll be ordring them in PiNK!)

Go ahead, check out these colorful, waterproof  "Umbrellas for your shoes" at their website: www.shuella.com.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Online shopping in Switzerland - at a discount!

“Whoever said money can't buy happiness simply didn't know where to go shopping.”
Bo Derek (American Actress, b.1956)

Who doesn't like shopping at a discount? Even better if you don't have to drive miles to get to the next outlet store. Having said that, Europe's greatest Shopping outlet "Foxtown" is 15 km down the road in Mendrisio.

If you prefer to browse and shop from home, however, here are two sites that might interest you. These sites offer private sales of major name brands at highly discounted prices. You'll discover an exclusive variety of products in the following domains : fashion items, accessories, shoes, perfumes, watches, home decoration, design, items for children, travels, fine dining, etc.

Discounts range from 30 to 80% off the retail price depending on the brand.

It is quick and free-of-charge to register on both sites and you are under no obligation to purchase. You'll receive a private invitation, by e-mail before each sale starts. You have the opportunity of buying products round the clock, right from home, or from computers anywhere in the world that has an Internet connection.


My favourite aquisitions are kitchen gadgets and electronic devices. Just check out My Store's current vast offer on i-pad & i-phone accessories or their selection of Fox Trot Accessories. I am a total addict to boxes and the recipe folders are smashing.


On eboutique you'll currently find everything from food processor and lady shavers to garden furniture.
These sales are for a limited time only: two days to two weeks for each sale.


My Private Boutique are selling Alessi and Bodum products, so hurry and have a peek.

Here are the three shopping survival links:

My Store.ch
eboutic.ch
My private boutique.ch

Should you live in Italy, France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Spain, the UK or have a mailing address in one of these countries you can also shop at the following site known for exquisite fashion: Vente privee.
European innovator of online private sales, (Yes, they are based in wine-sipping, trend-setting Paris, hence their snazzy name), they have more than 20 years experience in selling exclusive fashion and lifestyle products. Vive la shopping révolution!
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