Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Happy 20th Anniversary, my Independent Armenia

  • I am from the first generation of kids of Independent Armenia to go to school in September 1991. 
  • I remember seeing tanks from the window of my school (it was Charents school on Amiryan str.)
  • I remember the the war, the dark and cold years and studying under the candle light. And then one day the electricity turned back on and didn't go off again. 
  • I remember watching how Lenin's statue was dismantled and moved out of the Republic Square. 
  • I remember watching how the Armenian tricolor was raised on the Republic Square for the first time. I was standing there, holding my dad's hand. 
  • I've seen the developing free and independent Artsakh.
  • I've been standing, captivated and holding breath, in front of the newly renovated Republic Square fountains for the first time admiring the singing and dancing show.
  • I've been following the preparations for the 20th anniversary celebrations and I feel proud. 
  • I have seen the worst times of my independent country and me and my children will see its best times.

Few days ago friends were discussing their plans of moving to study/work abroad and have the life they deserve and want. Then someone asked me where do I want to move to? This is not a question I would think twice before answering. I don't usually go into such discussions and I never blame anyone for planning or actually leaving the country for a better life. However, for myself, I can never imagine living permanently abroad. Even in my beloved Italy. Few months at most. And it's not an exaggeration and not a selfless patriotic decision. I do truly feel good living here and I don't care about the fact that I would be earning much more and would have a more secured life if i moved to some western country. I'm not blind and I see the development here and I see the role I can have in it.

There are people who constantly criticize all good and bad initiatives (some even do manage to present entirely good and worthy things from the worst possible angle), point out all the mistakes and shortcomings of the authorities, alarm about problems and spread out all the negativity. That's their way of trying to make a change. As for me, I prefer to cross the street on the green light, never throw anything on the street, admire and share news about all the good initiatives and notice the smallest steps in the development. In my inner circle of friends there are people who are optimistic about the country's future, preferred to stay and work in the country despite of the numberless opportunities to move away. They don't spend most of their time complaining, instead, they actually try to work things out and help others to work things out with a positive attitude. I know how I can contribute to my country's prosperity and I will do it. One step at a time.

This is my post from 3 years ago: Independent Armenia -17

Saturday, September 17, 2011

the Cosmo girl in me has awakened

Finally I'm inspired to write another blog post. It's about my new favorite magazine - Cosmo!

To tell the truth, when I first heard that there will be an Armenian Cosmopolitan, i wasn't very optimistic about that... and I couldn't even imagine that I will be buying its every issue and participating in Cosmo events with such an enthusiasm. The cosmo girl in me has been awakened :) I don't remember myself buying any beauty or women's magazines. So far, the only magazine I've been buying with this periodicity was the "Хакер" when I was a teenager :)

There have been very different responses to Cosmo's appearance in the Armenian market. Many friends of mine have been mocking the articles, titles and just the fact that "those terms" sound so funny in Armenian. But is there any other way? I imagine how difficult it is for the writers and editors to translate and adapt the materials and just to find out how those things are called in Armenian! One of the biggest impacts of Cosmo in our society will be for us to finally get used to Armenian language terms for things. I didn't know Armenian equivalents for most of cosmetics items and even names of clothing (դիմափոշի for румяна, ստվերաներկ for тень, բոկոտիկ for босоножка, երանգաքսուք for тональный крем etc).

So here I'm gonna tell you why I <3 Cosmo so much :)

  • It's very professionally done. From content to the design and layout (printing quality too :))). I really enjoy browsing its pages.
  • Contrary to other beauty magazines we have in the market (which are brought from Russia), the content in Armenian Cosmo is actually targeted on us! You see the ad and you know that you can buy it here in the boutiques.
  • The fashion and beauty columns are informative, useful and with items that are accessible for us. You can see professional photo shoots with clothing that is hand picked from our boutiques by their fashion editor with prices indicated and stylists advice on how to combine the items.
  • They have a good social media strategy and a very professional website (kudos to Shushan!;).
  • They succeeded in finding their target "audience" and their first months showed us how much this magazine was demanded by Armenian young women. I'm not surprised that Cosmo is actually the largest circulation Armenian magazine in our market.
  • I'm really proud for knowing some people from the Cosmo staff personally and that's how I'm not surprised how they get such a great thing done every month :))
  • You can find useful gifts in some issues! I bought two copies of an issue that had a really cute and quality passport cover from women'secret inside. My mom started to read Cosmo after that :))))
  • They organize really cool events !!! :)
Last month Cosmo organized a "Tropic Party" in Vahakni and I went there with my cousin and met looots of friends. They had invited some beauty salons and cosmetics brands to showcase their products, had some contests and many surprises. Imagine, opportunity to have a free professional make-up (got lucky to have it!), hairdo (mine was amazing! my sister didn't recognize me at first when she saw me like that :)), free cosmopolitan cocktail (of course), great music and gifts, gifts...

me having a professional makeup (probably just 3rd time in my life :D)
here i learned about this hair gadget which makes awesome hair :))
so this was my look
me and my sister :) my hairdo consists of "broken waves" (yup, just learned the name)
this pic was featured in the September issue, I'm on it!! :D
Here's Cosmo's photo report on the party: part 1, part 2, part 3.

After the tropic party, we learned that there will be a shopping night in Yerevan, for the first time!!! They managed to get more than 80 boutiques and companies participating and actually organized a real shopping festival for Yerevan citizens.  I promised myself that I won't do any shopping before that date (financial issues, nothing else :D), but had to break my promise since I had to be a gorgeous maid of honor on my friends' wedding before the shopping night :))) [and you know, i couldn't recycle an old dress and even shoes on that wedding!]

With my shopaholics image known to the whole world, I unwillingly became a walking advertisement for the Cosmo shopping night :D I've been getting few questions on what it is and how it's gonna be held, every day. Calls, FB messages, in person... well, somehow i was really informed :) Hey Cosmo, I guess you owe me here :D

It so happened that had very limited finances [the shopping for wedding was... costly, to say the least :D]. As a true shopaholic, I already knew what's up in the boutiques, so the shopping night was planned to be just 'walking around, fitting stuff' kinda activity. And it so happened that at first, I got to be strolling from boutique to boutique with my awesome male friend :D very nice experience, I must say [well, it became a little awkward in the Etam lingerie boutique, but hey, there were few other guys in there too! :D]. Actually, in this case, I got lucky to know a guy who appreciates shopping in general and was really patient with me :)) 

late night shopping with Ani
After that I got the chance to visit the Burberry store for the first time (memorable thing, huh) and watched my friend Ani buy a beautiful new dress with a nice discount from there :))

So how was it? as my friend Gaspar noted, there wasn't so much stir and boom during the Museum night in any year :D The central streets were flooded with groups of girls, all dressed up, with full shopping bags. Some stores organized banquets and DJs playing.. with all the stir, you could think that there have been clearance sales everywhere. In reality, there were 10-20% discounts, plus gifts, contests and a promise to be open till midnight. There were queues in front of many boutiques up to late night. I managed to do a small shopping and to have this cute star pendant from Mango as a memory from this day :)

Cosmo's photo report on the shopping night: part 1, part 2.

P.S. Shopaholics among you can check out this Foursquare list I made of boutiques where I shop for clothing and lingerie.

P.P.S. I'm not affiliated with Cosmopolitan Armenia in any way (except for the people i know who work for it) and this isn't meant to be an advertisement. I just want to show my support for this 'project' and will continue promoting the stuff i like in my blog :)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

me at TEDxYerevan 2011

Just came here to share some exciting news :)

Loooots of exciting things happened to me since I last wrote here and I'm having a terrific week now.
Now I'm very close to reaching another milestone.

You know, I've always been bad at public speaking. As a shy girl since school, I've always avoided public appearances, although they somehow followed me everywhere. I always knew I was bad at it and had a big desire to improve myself, so I started to take the chances whenever I was invited to do a training or presentation. It required a lot of energy with my self-criticism and perfectionism.

I remember, at BarCamp 2009, I was just an attendee and didn't have the courage to make a presentation. Next year I volunteered for BarCamp 2010 and did 2 presentations, got a lot of feedback. This year I also did two presentations, and spoke at the opening.. all in the big main hall! ...and the feedback was awesome. I am thankful to each and every one of my friends who were there, supported me and pointed me what had to be improved.
one of my biggest public speaking challenges at a Powerpoint Karaoke event: just a blabla on something you have no idea about :D 

During these two years I did a number of presentations and trainings in various places and every time i've been noticing my own improvement.

Last year at TEDxYerevan 2010 I watched my friend preparing for her talk and other speakers presentations and thought: hey, it'd be cool if i could grow up to be a TEDx speaker :) ...

so here I am :) in a great company! looking forward to September 24 to present my ideas on "Guinea pigs in technology" ;))

Watch the TEDxYerevan 2011 teaser here:

and btw, it will be held in TUMO!