Jan 12 12

Greetings from Costa Rica

by Zvezda

Hi there,

I hope that all of you had a great start in the New Year! My best wishes for an amazing 2012!

Many of you contacted me asking for an update on my whereabouts and more.  Here is my story, in pictures…

“Once upon a time there was a property in Arenal by the lake”… in my case, what inspired me to close my store and sell my house, and move to Costa Rica. I had dreams and big plans to develop the property and make it an exciting stop on the main road La Fortuna-Tilaran.

Well, God had other plans for me. While closing escrow of my Beverly Hills house, which took much longer than expected and needed, the property was sold to someone else, to an American couple. The owner wanted out; he couldn’t wait for me any longer. Our timing was off.

Heart broken but yet believing that there was a reason for which Costa Rica was on my mind, I still went there. I rented a house, a beautiful one. It was a house that many people have looked up previously but no one has decided on taking it. It was isolated and built in a National Park area, all jungle and waterfalls, and that’s what I liked about it…Una casa encantada!

Excited, I moved in with both of my dogs and the couple that I hired, Claudia and Adonis, two very nice young people from Nicaragua.  Since the house was newly build, the problems started as soon as we moved in: major water leaks and flooding coming from unexpected places, cracks due to structural problems, odors, bugs, etc. For three weeks I fought it on all fronts. I shared the house with teams of construction workers, I slept on inflatable bed, I eat out of plastic plates and showered with cold water. Despite the hard work we got nowhere. The house was beyond fixing, it needed a very serious structural work and repair. I decided to move out.

God was watching over me those days. Two days into the market search I found another amazing house, this one located in an exclusive neighborhood, Escazu, a prime area in San Jose. A large home, exquisitely designed and build, with amazing views and spaces, exotic hard wood floors and cabinetry throughout the entire house. Removed from the city traffic and noise, the house is close to the best services available in the country which makes life quite easy.

The “Casa Blanca” inspired me. While furnishing it, I added my personal touch but always stayed true to its spirit. Amazingly, my own pieces fit right in beautifully and the ones that I added completed the elegant and eclectic look that I’m so fond of.

Just when I settled in and started making plans for the future, my father got terribly sick and I had to leave for Bulgaria to help with his care. I spent 45 days there and got back just in time for the Holidays.

From the little time that I’ve spent so far living here, I must tell you, I really like being in Costa Rica. It’s a gorgeous country with amazing landscapes and plenty of places to explore and enjoy. I’m planning to travel the country extensively. In addition to the popular and well known tourist spots, I’d love to add my own discoveries.

Costa Rica is a small but very dynamic country. Following the American dream ambitiously, the country is pushing for changes and development on all levels. What slows them down in my opinion is the heavy bureaucratic system. Working with banks, insurance companies and customs is a nightmare. Somehow everybody has adjusted to the fact and learned to work around it.

People are kind and helpful, and… relaxed.  I know that my ways strike them as too strong. But I get things done, faster than many other foreigners, I was told. Of course speaking Spanish gives me a big advantage. And I don’t think that I could ever become the “manana” person…

San Jose is chaotic and somewhat uninteresting. I’m planning to explore the town more as I understand that the best art galleries, Salsa clubs and restaurants with character are in down town San Jose.

Fashion is something that Costa Rica still has to catch up with. Fashion shopping, forget it! Instead, there are so many other beautiful things one can find in Costa Rica. I keep getting across some lovely art objects, jewelry, textile, organic beauty products. But then, that’s me. I can be in the desert and still find things to buy.

I think that this will give you an idea of Zvezda, in Costa Rica.

If someone wants to get in touch with me, please email to zvezda.costarica@gmail.com

Take care and hasta luego!

Zvezda

Jun 4 10

From Istanbul, Fashion and Experiences.

by Zvezda

Hello,

Time flies when one travels. I left for Europe on May 3rd and by the time I turned around; I had to get back in LA, three weeks later.

This time I went to Bulgaria and Turkey. In Bulgaria I wanted to see my father and brother, and to have a fountain, and a monument built in our town, in honor of our mother.

Our mother Kalina was a great lady. We wanted her name remembered.

When all the work was completed, we invited relatives and friends for Al fresco dinner at a garden-restaurant that mother used to like. We spent a lovely evening together remembering her.

My next stop was Sofia. To reconnect with my city, I took long walks and visited my most favorite corners; I partied with my friends.  I went to our beautiful Alexander Nevski Cathedral and spent a quiet hour in thoughts and prayers.

As it was the Prom time of the year, I went to one of the top hotels in down town Sofia to see what the girls were wearing for their big night.

Oh my; this will take another long writing to explain all that I saw. The explosion of colors and overdone details reminded me of my own Prom. Nothing has changed since 1972.

With my fashion sense disturbed, I left for Istanbul to do my work. I invited father and brother to join me along. I decided to go by car; a good 8 hour drive from Eastern Bulgaria.

That way I was to see a part of my country that I haven’t seen for awhile plus to see the transition from one country to another, which always fascinates me.

I love Istanbul. What an amazing city! A cross road of so many cultures and stark contrasts, it fascinates every visitor. No one is left indifferent; we all surrender to its flair.

The weather was perfect. Walking around Sultanahmet, the old city of Istanbul, sent us back centuries and reminded us of our old towns in Bulgaria. Turkey and Bulgaria are similar in so many ways. The Ottomans concurred and ruled us, after all, for 500 years.

We have a large Muslim population of Turkish decent; we share vocabulary, we enjoy the same food; we even look the same (I’m mistaken for Turkish all the time.) Bulgaria and Turkey fought in wars as enemies and we had numerous political arguments. And yet, when we meet we connect right away in a neighborly manner: Merhaba komsu! Hi my neighbor!

I recommend reading the Ottoman Centuries by Lord Kinross, a fascinating book. It tells the story of the Balkans, in my opinion the most intricate region in Europe; understudied and therefore misunderstood.  I learnt a lot and it helped me understand and appreciate the Turkish culture.

Once we explored the Old world, we took a relaxing break on the Bosphorus; we discovered a great fish restaurant right on the water, Bebec Balikci where locals go.

I wanted to get acquainted with the upscale Turkish fashion designers and I knew that I had to go to Nisantasi, the most sophisticated retail area of Istanbul. I left father and brother to continue their tour of the city. Father was happy that he had a chance to practice Turkish as he’s fluent in that language.

I’ve been in Istanbul many times before. This time I was truly amazed and excited to see that their designers made such a progress. It didn’t take me long before I started shopping for ZVEZDA.

The pieces that I selected were the very best that the Turkish fashion market had to offer. I managed to contact the designers and introduce myself. All were very excited to be working with us in the future.

Exploring Nisantasi, I came across the fantastic Sufi jewelry house.

I selected lovely pieces for ZVEZDA; semi-precious stones beautifully arranged as necklaces and bracelets.

Turkey is very well known for its high quality and elegant style, leather garments and accessories.
Their collections are as beautiful as the Italian designers’ are, with very competitive prices. I ordered from Punto, a leading company for leather products, amazing leather trenches, dresses and skirts for fall. On this picture, a taupe leather skirt with French lace by Punto.

You can visit www.zvezdathestore.com -New Arrivals, for more details.

The next day, all broke but excited, I gathered my troops and we made our swift exodus out of Istanbul. Had I stayed one more day, I would have had to put my house in LA on the market, to be able to pay the bills.

As I was driving out of the city, I turned around for one last glimpse of Istanbul. Then I floored the accelerator and made a long, speedy journey home to Bulgaria.

Best,
Zvezda

Apr 15 10

Jewelry from the Beach!

by Zvezda

Hi there,

I can’t help it. Even when I’m at the beach, I shop.  I went to Cabo, Mexico,
with the idea to rest and relax; to swim and to do lots of sun damage to my skin.


I was resting at the cabana after a swim when I saw Carlos, a man in white,
walking up and down the beach, and carrying some jewelry.

I called him to get closer to take a look of his pieces.  Few minutes later I
was deep into creating necklaces a bracelets that he was to make right
there.


I didn’t change much; wanted to keep the originality of his and his wife’s
ingénue designs.  All hand made from sea shells, coconut beads and bamboo,
beautifully put together color wise. I had Carlos add some new colors and
convert necklaces into bracelets.

The day after I was proudly wearing the Cabo jewelry by Carlos; got lots of
compliments that made Carlos good sales.

I purchased quite a few for the store, already on display with our new
Summer arrivals.

The Carlos pieces looked great on the beach and they look even more
beautiful when put together with our clothes. Come and see!

There is always time for some good shopping! I did better this time; just
got some jewelry at the beach. Few years ago while traveling deep into the
dessert of Morocco, a completely desolate place, I returned with two camels
fully loaded with my shopping purchases.

Didn’t I get away this time!

Zvezda