All posts tagged: inspiration

Anonymous, France, after Gioacchino Giuseppe Serangeli, Napoleon and Alexander I Say Farewell in Tilsit in 1807, c. 1810. Oil on canvas
© State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg

One woman, two men. History in the Hermitage

I had seen the posters of the Hermitage all over the city: Alexander, Napoleon & Josephine: a story of friendship, war and art. The website speaks of “Female power” and  the exhibition is at my favorite museum, the Hermitage. So I decided to visit and get inspired by these ‘three historical giants’. To start with the negatives; I hardly got any “female power” vibe. Yes, Joséphine collected her own art, and was popular with the people and the two men. So popular that even after divorcing her for not giving him children, she remained empress of France. (It was a riddle to me why he’d divorce her because of that – she did have two kids of an earlier marriage, so one could argue she should be able to deliver..?) There was no story of how they met, or what Joséphine brought him. Yes, mention was made of her beauty and intelligence, but the exhibition spoke of no real accomplishments in my opinion. That Alexander and Napoleon liked each other became clear. Also because of …


Book review: Coco Chanel, The Legend and The Life

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I chose to read the biography of Coco Chanel by Justine Picardie. Was it all about fashion? I remember a movie I saw about her, and what I remember most is that Coco Chanel was not at all the stylish, female lady I thought she was: more of a tomboy. But I wás curious about the empire she built. Especially back in those days, it was not simple to be a business woman, I presume. What inspired her Chanels childhood is a bit of a tragedy. A poor family: a father who abandoned her, her mother who died while the young girls were at home. Picardie speaks of the influence her father had: she cut her hair short because her father didn’t like the smell of dirty hair. Supposedly, her christening gown, sent by her father from the United States, was the first dress she had a true emotion with, and became the inspiration to the many dresses that would follow. In many ways, it seems like Chanels …

Personal Trainer, with his back facing the camera, looking at a gym

Personal training… Lessons for managers

I have been working out with a personal trainer for almost ten years. When I worked in the United States, I first came across the phenomenon and, as my prior US adventure had me gain 10kg, I was determined to prevent that from happening, so I got some help… Nowadays, my weekly personal training session is one thing I cannot live without. Not just for my shape and overall condition, it is also a great way to get your mind of things, release stress, anger (lóóóve boxing), and to be honest, my poor trainers were often half shrink as well. Thanks guys, for sticking with me 😉 Today I was training with my current Italian trainer, who worked me very hard, and said, “Yes I know, I’m a son of a b*tch, sorry” . I responded: ” Well, I need you to be. So no apologies.” He told me about this client of his, whos former trainer was really nice. He drank coffee with him, asked him about his wellbeing, explained everything twice, didn’t give …


Book review: No excuses!

Yes, I am a sucker for books about success and willpower. This is one is exactly about that. No excuses! Brian Tracy helps you building successful habits, by becoming self-disciplined. The book starts with saying that self-discipline, is thé one thing that can change your life. It is written for people who are ‘hungry’ for more, do more, have more. Well, I can certainly relate to that. The book says that, in order to achieve that, you must become a different person. Interesting… There are over a thousand things that can make you more successful, but without self-discipline (“the ability to do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not”) they won’t work. Eliminating enemies to success So, to become self-disciplined, you need to eliminate your two worst enemies: “Path of Least Resistance” (taking short cuts) and “The Expediency factor” (thinking short term). You must be able to deny yourself the distractions, and live for the delayed gratification, instead of the instant, because short term gain can …


Book review: Being Martha

Being Martha – by Lloyd Allen What a perfect combination. While I was cleaning up my walk in closet, folding my laundry and organizing my closets, I listened to the unabridged book “Being Martha”, by her friend Lloyd Allen. I knew Martha Stewart from the stories about her perfect life, her perfect cooking and the perfect household and yes, I of course heard about the incident that got her all over the news in a less positive way. But, she built quite an empire. What can I learn from her? What is her secret to success? Those questions in mind, folding my sheets, this is what I thought. What inspired her To be honest, this book didn’t really explain. I learned that Martha came from a simple family, with parents who thought you should always work hard. Her father was apparently one that found criticism in all things, perhaps that taught her to strive for perfection. I found it really nice that Martha is an autodidact in cooking. According to the book, she was inspired …

Calendar.On Blank Desk.

30 day Challenge: week 1 – point zero

The first week of my May 30 days challenge! To know what the outcome is, I needed real confrontation first. A summary of a week without planning… So, Food. The weekend started with checking out what was still in the fridge. I made a salad of all leftovers. Sunday I actually woke up to Jamie’s 30 minute meals on TV, which inspired me to make his sweet potato mash with broccoli and panga filet. Of course, in the weekend I had enough time to do the grocery shopping (Exhibit A) the same day.