Tag Archives: lifestyle

Terrace Parties: Coveted

You deserve this, and nothing less.

You deserve this, and nothing less.

Give it a try if… You would like this summer to make sense at all.

Steer clear if…  You are only able to socialize when at least 90% of your body is covered.

The upcoming Night of San Juan, Saturday 23 June, is not just the most amazing night of the year in Barcelona (certain fake snobs do not agree, but isn’t it great to celebrate New Year’s Eve again – in shorts?); it is a great opportunity to start practising each summer’s favourite sport, terrace hunting.

Status Bimboes

You have to live in this city to grasp just how essential it is considered to have a – or have access to somebody else’s – private terrace. Bad luck? Either pack your bags, or start looking for your Mr. or Ms. Terrace. Right now. Those people are easy to recognize for that confidence they shed: the confidence of someone who knows – and has – what it takes. Have you spotted one? Approach, then focus: you are to make a shameless, relentless use of both your manifest and hidden charms until they invite you to their terrace. Do not forget: they absolutely must invite you to their terrace. So do not even remotely consider giving up until you get an invitation to their terrace. If they own the whole rooftop, smile harder.

Let us teach you how to sip and smile

Let us teach you how to sip and smile

A Dream Come True

One last breath, and up you go: this was your final step, you have managed to reach that private terrace. How fulfilling, isn’t it? How great it is to know that results do exist. That it is not actually about the process. Give yourself a moment to take in the view – if you can only see rotten factories and dog corpses, there is another terrace out there you might want to hunt for – then take off your high heels, let your hair down and start mingling along. Is it just a cocktail, perhaps a late night rendez-vous? Remember: French-kissing on a private terrace is certainly enthralling, but nothing can compare with the barbecue experience. So until you are able to take part in a full-fledged terrace barbecue, you are not in effect even living here.

Closer to Heaven

How is it going? Have you forgotten your latest excuse for dismissing the here and now? Are you pouring those killer smiles, emphasizing those curves, showing off those foxy moves you rehearsed all winter? And for heaven’s sake, give us the best of you. The hundred per cent of your wit, grace, and flair. That is why you have been carried up here on the wings of this warm summer breeze – so that you could light this summer on, not just strike a feeble match and fade into oblivion. There is no turning back, nor climbing down: this is your time to shine, so make the most of it.

UPS Score (Utmost Perfection Scale): 9 out of 10 + wow!


Meeting Strangers: Cool

"Meet me up, before you go-go..."

“Meet me up, before you go-go…”

Give it a try if… You would rather make one last effort to find the right people in your city than pack up and leave.

Steer clear if… You have just one more rerun of the whole “Sex and the City” to watch.

Remember the days when you were unsure about confessing your desire to make new friends, fearing people would see you as a loser? That is a secret you can now shout with pride: signing up to meet a bunch of strangers is suddenly cool, and it might just be waiting for you to join the trend.

Get a life. Get a Meetup.

Meetup has been around for a while. This platform for interest groups has followed an uneven growth pattern in the world, but it recently seems to have found fertile ground in Barcelona (as, for obvious reasons, in other cities with a high expat rate). If you are tired of exchanging views with your sofa, you will surely find one or more groups to join. From yoga to classical music, from language exchange to freesbee… or perhaps your own group, if you have the guts to expose yourself that much. There are currently over 75 groups in this city, some of which have about 2,000 members. Both a great place to start and a relieving last resort.

Odd One In

The founders’ great idea was a disruptive change of perspective: a lonely person is not a sad weirdo whom nobody wants to spend time with, it is a proactive urban soul with well-defined passions and time to invest in meeting new, interesting people. How does that sound now? Importantly, this is not another self-referential e-something digital plastic toy: meetup groups are unmistakably focused on regular real-life events, making this a welcome revenge of the offline world (yeepee!).


Although I have heard slightly mixed comments from people attending meetups in Barcelona – apparently some groups are so large they end up spreading themselves a bit too far – judging from my experience I cannot but sing the loudest praises of this new form of connection. I have been a part of only one group for a few months, and I have found a fair number of promising new acquaintances and a couple of people who can make me cry for their outstanding contribution to this planet. Having a strong common interest certainly helps, as does the shared determination to “Save yourself! Go outside! Do Something!!!”. My clearest impression so far? This is an experience from which you are likely to get at least as much as you give – so open your mind, be generous and share the love. If I have been this lucky, why should you be less so.

UPS Score (Utmost Perfection Scale): 8 out of 10.

For a different take on the subject, read a great post on how to make friends in a new city from one of my favourite blogs, The Naked Envelope.

Visit Meetup.

PostTip: Music for Skiing Alone

The sound of silence, and beyond.

The sound of silence, and beyond.

As a PostTip to Skiing Alone: Underacknowledged, I shall provide an in-depth look at the topic of music (with a few suggested albums to try out).

Laymen Logic

Several of the people who seem to reject the idea of solo skiing say they find it boring. I guess (a) they have never tried listening to music on the slopes, or (b) they belong to the ill-starred subset of the human race that, when asked “What kind of music are you into?”, replies with the infamous “Anything that’s on the radio” or even the execrable “A little bit of everything” (Choir: NEXT!).

No, Seriously

If (b) is the case: So sorry, I cannot help. After repeated attempts, I have given up such subset altogether and adopted a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. Not a snowball’s chance to convert them; pigs might ski before these people open up to the pleasure of organized sound. If (a) is the case instead, let me clarify that:

  1. Skiing with music doesn’t have to be dangerous; if you do it alone you will tend to avoid crowded areas anyway, and otherwise, any mp3 player comes with a state-of-the-art gadget called “volume control” nowadays.
  2. It is more than a fine experience; it is a non-negotiable requirement for the completion of tipsology’s Certified Solo Skier Training Program (see Level 4 – Get in Tune in the aforementioned post).
  3. Its learning outcomes largely depend on the choice of music; shallow shuffling is simply not an option.
Not exactly what I had in mind

Not exactly what I had in mind

Choose Life

Now, regarding the last point. Since the choice of the perfect album to ski with depends on multiple variables, versatility is definitely a plus. Pick whatever might be suited to the “here and now”, with a grain of salt: while Madonna’s latest single might be a perfect companion to dish-washing or, uhm, flossing, it will hardly get you in tune with anything other than her bank account. Rather, here are some suggestions. Ride and shine!

Skiing Alone: Underacknowledged

(The smiling face? It's behind the camera)

(The smiling face? It's behind the camera)

Give it a try if… You are eager to have another great story to tell – yourself, of course.

Steer clear if… You can’t even take a baby step without someone showing you the right direction.

“How vuz yer ski day?,” asked the wizened lady who had hosted me at her table with her husband over breakfast. “Simply amazing! I reached the other side of the resort and had a lot of fun,” I said. “Yesss, but… Only? [as in alone],” she inquired with a puzzled look. “Skiing only, no goot.” For once, I did not even knock up a reply. I would rather keep the secret of how I had treated myself to one of the most extraordinary days of my life.

"I only need one of those, thanks."

"I only need one of those, thanks."

Take One

Despite the fact that I have designated 2012 as “The Year of the Difference” – a theme I will elaborate on in future posts – my bourgeois roots keep me from calling myself a genuine nonconformist. After all, I did wear Armani for my confirmation and thought “Nine 1/2 Weeks” was a great movie. So the first time I resolved to ski alone, all I aimed for was a brief, half-determined attempt at enjoying the freedom my job grants me despite the lack of equally self-ruling playmates. There I was, gliding on eggshells towards emancipation: little did I know that I would turn into the King of Solo.

You can eat one of these every day without anyone warning you about your liver

You can eat one of these every day without anyone warning you about your liver

Aim for More

Society is simply not prepared for someone who chooses to spend a whole week riding white waves in the company of loneliness; if you decide to follow this tip, be prepared for high costs and a few weird looks. Yet I will endure the associated hassles anytime – and so should you – considering the rewards of this experience. I am not referring to the obvious, selfish benefits of picking the routes and the menus, or not having to hold your companion’s backpack while they take a #1. I am inviting you to skip right past these trivial details and engage in a tête-à-tête with the meaning of existence. Here is how.

Tipsology’s Certified Solo Skier Training Program

LEVEL 1: DIG UP YOUR SELF-CONFIDENCE – Start by taking a deep breath and chanting your new mantra: I can do this. You can decipher that daunting piste map and end up turning it into your best friend. You can survive a whole week having the mountains as your only conversation partner. If you fall, you can lend yourself a helping hand. If you get lost in the fog, you can find your way out of it. You can do this, alone.

LEVEL 2: AWAKEN YOUR INNER CHILD – Train your levity muscles by playing suitable games – like turning into a world-class movie star that no one recognizes thanks to your helmet and goggles. Or celebrating in full regalia this year’s Tree Hugging Day. Or competing against yourself to see who is able to eat more apple pie. Or while you are skiing, falling on purpose every thirty-eight seconds. Believe me, it is fun.

To whoever invented this,              my eternal gratitude

To whoever invented this, my eternal gratitude

LEVEL 3: EMBRACE THE PARADOX – As you sit quietly on a chairlift, appreciate the genius of mankind. Look at the complex, imposing machinery we set up to explore another way of relating to this planet of ours, which happens to have snowy declivities we can slide down on. Isn’t it crazy? Now switch your focus to the distant scenery. As you gaze at the jagged peaks, contemplate the flawless beauty Earth reveals when we just f***ing leave it alone. Will we ever learn? And should we?

LEVEL 4: GET IN TUNE –  Now that you have switched off your mind, turn on your enhanced senses by skiing with music (provided, of course, you are a confident skier). Your goal is to acknowledge, through active and involved listening, the ever-flowing unity between the music on your MP3 player and each sensation and movement of your body. Once you get this, include the people, the landscapes and the weather that make up your environment. Finally, make room for the energetic fields that manifest themselves through silence and the absence of any form. Panta rei, my friend: unbrace yourself and just go with it.

LEVEL 5: You are now officially ready to have fun.

UPS Score (Utmost Perfection Scale): 10/10 + Standing Ovation

Read the PostTip: Music for Skiing Alone

Read an interesting discussion which originated from this post on the wonderful Snowheads.

"Welcome. I have been waiting for you."

"Welcome. I have been waiting for you."

P.S. When I set out to write this, I logged onto WordPress and look what post I found on top of the “Freshly Pressed” section. Isn’t life funny?

Related posts:

Skiing in France: Unnerving

Paradiski: Cozy

Espace Killy: Captivating