Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Coffee Clouds

Zira's Cup
Talking talking talking with the wind in our faces, our hair swirling along with the smoke. A moment of still. Clouds now gliding by painting mirror messages on our coffee.

Just the right light. I love this picture.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Real World Summit

I've had a most engaging week. I am feeling  blessed and energized by recognition from my peers. It just so happens that I am surrounded by amazing, positive, working women from all over the world. From the information tech professionals at GlobalNiche  who guided me towards my own online niche to writers and creatives I met through online workshops, Twitter and Facebook - I have received tremendous support from all of them. It makes me so happy!

Anastasia & Tara of GlobalNiche
 I realized, I don't have to be perfect or have it all together 100% to speak my truth. I can gather my Collection and my culture driven passions and 'polish' while I'm working.

  With my collegues I expanded my vision to allow the GlobalNiche strategy to work.

Last week I was nominated by two wonderfully prolific and creative writers Sezin Kohler and Sandra Gea Guevara for a Very Inspiring Blogger Award.

Alessandra Granata
Today I interviewed with Alessandra Granata who writes both Viaggi dei Rospi and Lali Viaggi , which are incredibly informative Italian travel blogs focusing on travel with children. I am feeling quite like a muse, it's true!

 I wish this kind of  pay it forward attitude were prevalent in business or even better - in any interactions people have with each other. I know it sounds like I'm talking about something so important - the World Summit or something. Nope. It's just that whole thing about  generosity, taking a moment to listen, to see.

I don't think that the 'news' cares to report about this stuff. I imagine it's too simple, too nice, too real. Help one another.  It's not new, but also not popular either.


And at the World Summits, whatever else those men talk about they might want to include some lessons from us at GlobalNiche. Because it certainly would  give a lot more power to the people if World Summit types used their platform to tell the people that indeed,  there is enough to go around.  Knowing they are supported gives people motivation to turn around and give support when it's their turn. 
 That's how I see it. 
 When you are not afraid of being left behind you have nothing to loose but to open up.  

Beautiful Bridge
Writers, creatives, dreamers, mom's, goddesses, women, keepers of the hearth, cuddlers of the truth, dancers with reality, subconscious mind mermaids, cultural spelunkers, wild eyed travelers, opinionated and talented people with something to say,with plenty of experience living and navigating the world - these are the people who's words of wisdom I prefer to follow. They are authentic and want me to be my best self. 

When we are connected we can share our wealth and  also promote the light of others.

I believe that those who engage in this kind of outreach  are the real leaders of  the World Summit.

Madame Sezin

Thank you sisters in arms. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Duchess

I want to be the Duchess of Devonshire and feed chickens in organza silk...

The Duchess of Devonshire

Monday, January 21, 2013

A Film: Balkan Melodie

A Film by Stefan Schwietert

I haven't seen it yet but will be looking for it, sounds and looks splendid!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Queen for a Day


I am at this very moment feeling very desired and... well quite frankly, a little nervous because I have had most amazing and flattering news! Two exceptionally talented and lovely people have nominated me for the 'Very Inspiring Blogger Award' and I am thrilled and also a bit alarmed! Here I thought I might be running incognito dot com all these years when in reality...

I am inspiring someone out there!

 I believe 'inspiration' is a word every passionate person wants to hear in relation to themselves. So, my intent, besides following the prompts inherent to promoting the Award, is to continue to inspire - doubly inspire as of now.

The next step is doing what I love to do in life anyway - discover creative jewels-  other wildly inspirational humans beings that care about important stuff and write damn good blog posts to prove it and share these writers, artists, painters, cooks, lovers, leaders with the rest of my world.

My dear Soul, Sandrea Gea Guevara, author of the blog where the self proclaimed multiculturist and heartist lets us read her incredibly luscious poetic words has nominated me, with love and generosity, as an inspiration. For her! 
Sandrita is as exotic as she is poetic and is a fierce visionary in her literary and business aspirations as much as anyone I know. Getting a nomination of inspiration from her means much to me and I am on the moon about it! 

Sandra herself was nominated by another gorgeously talented woman named Sezin Koehler who is not only a published and well regarded author but somehow finds the time to write a mountain of story lines in various blogs many related to Monsters & Gaga -  all of which she keeps up with seeming effortlessness. I adore her and fortunately she adores me too because she nominated me for a Very Inspiring Blogger Award too! To think that I inspire Zuzu, who speaks her mind every moment of the filters...this makes me strong! 
Watch for her, she's going to be big. Hulk big

Thank you goddesses for shining your light on me!

As an honoree, here's what you need to do in order to join the "Very Inspiring Blogger Award"  once you've garnered a nomination...
Thank and link the blogger that has nominated you
Post the award logo to your own blog 
Write a post on the nomination and nominate (15 or so) other very inspiring bloggers
Notify them and then tell seven things about yourself

For inspiration I go to

Sedef's Corner - Ueber gorgeous, history, art, painting, I get lost every time
Fork and Pen - Where a really really smart woman talks about really really good food
loveisspeed - I have no words for how visually luscious this blog is, stories about 'them'
Goddesschess - Entranced. By all of it
Dumneazu - Ethnomusicological Eating East of Everywhere - like I need to say more
I Viaggi dei Rospi - Alessandra, Italian mommy blogger who along with
Silvia Ceriegi at are two of the most connected and informed women on the planet what relates to Travel & Kids. And, did I mention Italian?!
Ken Albala - A prolific food historian with no fear, doubly intriguing for his non recipe-ness
Mark Sink and his wife
Kristen Hatgi Sink - make you want to study photography and get undressed, not necessarily in that order
The Rambling Epicure - Ms Galloway writes daily about food, art and life. Lovely.
Bazar Bayar - Sharing tales and scrumptious handmade crafts from Turkey
The Sassy Radish - Food, glorious food... tantalizing

Favorite subjects besides food, photography & travel? Bosnia & politics, which for me means one man..Marko @ Greater Surbiton.
There are a many more blogs that inspire me located on my blog roll.. take a look it will make you happy.

~~Now. Seven things about me I've been keeping a secret...~~~

~I love to drive really fast and once made it from the Mittlerer Ring to the Starnberg exit in 6 minutes at 260kph. Having said that I lived the first 25 years of my life thinking that I would be chauffered around by various family members, boyfriends or taxi drivers and didn't learn how to drive till much later than most

~My whole life I have pretended that I love to fly, but the reality is that I am  terrified of it and have to force myself to do it for the thing I ironically love doing most - traveling. I might or might not be a pretty good actress

~I have never sung in the shower, let alone in public or even in a closet for fear that someone might hear me... but sometimes driving down the highway late at night...I will let out a peep

~I am crazy about Bill Nye the Science Guy

~My middle name is Paola. I am named after my Bosnian grandmother

~I may or may not have once been Miss March. I know, huh?

~I never ever watch TV though I adore films and could watch 20 documentaries a day

Have fun checking out the nominees!!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

SilvanaMondo Collection - Tribal Jewelry i

$25 Tribal Lapis Necklace
$45 Tribal Carnelian Bracelet
$65 Tribal Lapis Bracelet
$25 Tribal Lapis
$25 Tribal Lapis
$200 Tribal Necklace

SilvanaMondo Collection - Necklaces i

$15 Crystal 
$49 Rose Quartz
$40 Hearts
$28 Star Struck
$38 Coral Sea

SilvanaMondo Collection - Rings ii

$29 Agate Beads
$39 Pink Edge
$75 Greek Goddess
$265 Neptune Ring
$65 Third Eye
$48 Songstress
China Rose
$150 China Rose

Private Collection - Rings i

Silver Square
$22 Silver Square
Intaglio Love
$95 Intaglio Love
Opalescent Power
$75 Opalescent Power
Yuan Ring
$65 Yuan Bone

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Summer 1997

I have a friend. She is like my sister. Our grandfather's were very good friends too. They were born in the beginning of the 1900's and both their fathers owned large tracts of land and were in business with the sawmills. They often worked together in the forests and had respect for each other. Even after the two Great Wars, their friendship endured. Hadji made his pilgrimage to Mecca and my Dedo, who was forced to leave Bosnia in 1943 with his family, repatriated in Germany.

The summer of 1991 I went for a month long trip to Bosnia with my grandparents who took to the hot springs there every two years. That is when I met my grandfather's childhood friend and that is also when I met his granddaughters.

 We loved each other immediately. She and her sisters were shy but straightforward. They wore dimije and fancy blouses. They smoked cigarettes like they were going out of style. They laughed and told jokes and had clear, happy eyes the color of sky light.  They treated my grandparents like royalty on our short visit.  Given the history the two old men shared and the sacredness of Bosnian hospitality this was natural but even more highlighted because on the day we visited it was the first day of Bajram.

We left for home the next day and Suada and I wrote a few letters, and promised to keep our friendship. Not soon after, the war of aggression, the dark period, came to Bosnia and we lost all communication. There was horrible fighting, in and around my family town. My own family was lost to us for a year. No word.

On a rare occasion, already a year after the Dayton, I asked about 'our friends'. There was no mention of the old man or the grand daughters. The lines were drawn. It was fierce for those that lived there. I understood the emotions but I insisted. I got the big eye roll - what does an Amerikanka understand about our lives...

The next year on a trip to see my ageing grandparents in Munich, I slipped into Bosnia via Zagreb and went on the longest, weirdest and saddest bus ride of my life. I planned to go to Sarajevo to film and photograph the aftermath of the war for a story I had been researching but also to visit my family in Central Bosnia. At the same time I wanted to find out about the whereabouts of my dear friend Suada.  When I asked around everyone said 'I don't know' and had tense, worried faces, their heads shaking no, no, no and the eye roll thing again.

Don't look for her. We haven't seen them in years. No one knows if they are alive. You don't know if there are mines on the road going up there or if you will be welcomed. You won't be welcomed. We had a war. It's too early.

The fighting that Dayton had just ended a short two years before was a balled up terrifying pain in everyone's stomach.

My very gentle and kind cousin told me to ask the unprofor soldiers or the police for information.  Seemed absurd but I agreed. Why couldn't they just let me go to find her?

And as we drove into the front gate of my grandmother's old house, up on the hill from the road that leads into Sarajevo, three people were delivering the wood my auntie had ordered for the coming winter.  Just like that, within fifteen minutes of being on our property,  the answer I was looking for was in front of me.  We had called each other through the unseen and been pulled together again, in that moment of all moments. My friend, Hadji's granddaughter was part of the crew delivering wood. Quiet, as she always was and shy, going about her business with the wood, she spoke up after she heard me asking about her in my perfunctory Bosnian.

It could not have been any other moment in time but that one.


August, 1997. Busovaca/Rovna, Bosnia Hercegovina

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Twelve ii

Everywhere I look faces are illuminated by the screen of an iPad, iPhone, computer or some other lighted screen. The portal to the rest of the world.  It has a kind of balayage effect that's focused on the chin, nose and eyes that are bathed in it's weird artificial light- the head and hair left out like a darkened halo...

My favorite subject, my daughter, positively glows in it. It's not unusual that I brought out the old Android to capture the screen glow reflecting on her face from the ever present iPad.
Screen Shots.
Her skin and face are a thousand times more glorious in Nature of course but this has it's own reward..


In this artifice her vulnerabilities translate onto the camera just as strongly as in natural light and I am interested in that consistency, the heart of which is the skin.  She has a slight greenish tint to her white skin that makes me wild for photographing her. I have been recording since birth. And here is even Mr. Sink's version.
Although she is a most unwilling subject on occasion she gives me a break and indulges my vision.

What fascinates me the most is how light falls on objects and on skin to form contours.  The radiance emanating from skin is not so easy to 'get right' mood-wise. There are props ... Photoshop, digital, hand coloring and other techniques that I don't yet know enough about. Love recording the beauty that surrounds me.  Phone camera's often do the trick  and it's spontaneous