At Home With Kim Daenen

September 5, 2016 • InteriorKick-ass Women

i’ve only known kim daenen for a few years, but we often joke it feels like a lifetime. we met at a travel industry conference, where she represented her employer brussels airlines as its press representative. we hit it off professionally, and soon started collaborating on a number of cool projects. i saw her rise through the ranks and become spokeswoman for my favorite airline company, and meanwhile our coffee dates led to dinner dates, led to trips to geneva and kim attending our wedding… in short – i made a very good friend.

there’s another joke we often make, or at least – that i make – and that is some kind of comment on how kim is the most critical and exigent person in the world. yet instead of this quality making her insufferable, she balances it with equal parts compassion, kindness and empathy. kim is that person whose opinion i value on every subject, be it food (she’s the ultimate foodie, always knowledgeable about every new restaurant in town), travel (she’s seen much more of the world than i have, and has the most amazing stories to share about her travels) or interior design (she has a great eye, knows about every instagram trend before it even registered on my radar and – most importantly – she has designed a beautiful, lovely home).

the only weird thing about making kim my next (long-awaited) guest of my kick-ass women series, is the fact that it hasn’t happened sooner. so without further ado, i’d love to introduce this talented, whip smart lady who you’ll definitely hear of again. if you’re as in love with her decorating style as i am, you can furthermore hop over to ROOMIN.BE where i’ve shared the home tour she gave me, including all the tips and tricks that make her apartment such a warm and inviting place. and don’t forget to follow her on INSTAGRAM, to take a peek into her inspiring daily life. and now i’ll let you scroll down to read what little nuggets of life wisdom kim has to share!

name a challenge that you didn’t think you could overcome, but conquered anyway.

my first tv interview for brussels airlines was something that i was pretty nervous about. i sort of got thrown into the lion’s den without much preparation – obviously my boss believed in me, otherwise she would have never let me do it – but it was pretty scary, although apparently it didn’t show to the journalist. looking back at it now and thinking how confident i feel in my job today, really makes me smile. i still haven’t watched that first interview, though.

what is your biggest regret?

i don’t really have any regrets,i have always chosen my own path and i’ve learned to be critical of myself and others along the way, while respecting other people’s opinions. the only thing i feel i haven’t acted on yet, is doing something professionally with my love for interior design. but it is not so much as a regret, as i think i will someday turn this passion into something more, one way or another. it has always been a constant in my life that makes me very happy. be it storytelling, communication or interior, creativity has to be part of my life on a daily basis.

what is the most important thing you’ve learned in your life so far?

the most important thing i’ve learned is that you have to let go of perfection. there is always more to see, more to discover, more parts of the world to travel, and some people seem to do it all in one day in their instagram life and that can create false expectations for yourself. once you let go of all that wanting and you start enjoying the little moments that are happening now, that’s when real happiness sets in. i’m very happy that i’ve come to realize this.

what are you trying to teach yourself right now?

i’m trying to teach myself to be more structured. i have always been a messy type, trying to hide behind the creative mess excuse, but i’ve come to realize that structure gives me peace of mind. and as i get older, this becomes more important to me. the days when i could just keep going are over and i appreciate more rest now. i guess that’s the price i have to pay for spending the first 30 years of my life as a very hurried person.

what is your favorite memory? what does it say about you?

my favorite memory is actually the entire past 15 months of my life. after many years of hesitation i broke out of my comfort zone – and you can take that quite literally – and at the same time i also decided to move to antwerp, far from my best friends. there i met the man of my dreams and exactly one month ago he asked me to marry him, in the most romantic way. he never fails to surprise me, and with his proposal the surprise was in the simplicity. no big show in some romantic city, but in our home, where we love to be, during a scrumptious breakfast that he had prepared. what it says about me is, well, that i am now going bananas over wedding inspiration. my life has been turned upside down, but i could not be any happier with how it has turned out. this brings me to a very important life lesson, which is that life does really does start at the end of your comfort zone, that is, if that comfort zone does not make you happy. it has taught me to always follow my dreams.

what would you like to be remembered for?

i hope that my friends, colleagues and family would remember me for being a passionate and smiling person who always sees things positively. like everyone, i have many flaws, but my stronghold is that i always try to find a solution for problems that pop up along the way. i don’t give up easily, and this has helped me in my career as well as in my private life. i like to think that this is what my dearest friends love about me.

photos by STEPHANIE DUVAL // kim daenen on INSTAGRAM

Re-visiting De Wolf Opticiens

August 27, 2016 • Style

i’ve been wearing glasses on and off now for about four years, but really only needed them for driving in the dark or working behind the computer for long stretches of time. truth is i could have probably held off on wearing them for a little while longer, but i’ve always liked glasses as a fashion accessory, so i honestly didn’t mind. then came juliet, and gradually i noticed myself grabbing my glasses more and more often, and yet i still couldn’t read some traffic signs or i’d end up with a bursting head ache at the end of a long work day. after she turned one, i thought it was about time to go see an optician for a check-up.

after i’d discovered DE WOLF OPTICIENS last year when i looked for and found the PERFECT PAIR OF SUNGLASSES, there really was no doubt in my mind i’d return there. i love the brands they carry, but above all i had never felt so cared for in any shop before. so i made an appointment, but went to a different location this time – a bit closer to my home town antwerp – in puurs. last time i went to their leuven boutique, and they also have a shop in schilde. again i was welcomed with so much warmth and friendliness – i honestly felt like their most valued customer. and as i spent some time in the shop getting my eyes checked and sight measured, i listened in to some conversations and realised every. single. customer. is treated like this. the de wolf team really goes above and beyond to listen to every concern and find a solution to every challenge, with a nice cup of coffee on the side. i swear i haven’t had a more enjoyable shopping experience in my life.

but perhaps even more importantly, i’ve never experienced such an extensive measurement at an optician before. de wolf’s little backroom looks and feels like an astronaut’s cabin, with psychedelic-looking machines and monitors. not only did lovely stephanie (what’s in a name, right?) check my results against my old glasses to see how my eyes had evolved, she also checked entirely new things – like how my sight is influenced by darkness, for example. though the tests were relatively quick and straightforward, the results were certainly extensive, and a little bit surprising… there’s one more thing you can add to the list of stuff people don’t tell you before you have kids – the pregnancy and mama hormones can influence your sight. so if you thought your waistline was the only goner after giving birth, think again! luckily my sight didn’t deteriorate per sé, but because hormones influenced the incurvature of my cornea, it simply changed my astigmatism. my old glasses are pretty much worthless now, which explains the headaches and bad sight i’d been experiencing. though stephanie kindly remarked that it could also be that i’m just a lot more tired now than before having kids, and of course that has its influence on your sight, too. word, girl.

in any case, i was relieved to be reassured my eyes were pretty much still in the same condition, and i just needed new glasses. i decided that, having become a mom, this meant i should probably go for a new look, too, and then the fun really began… i was lucky to have both stephanie and astrid, owner of de wolf opticiens, help me with my search. i explained them i didn’t want a ‘mom look’, but i wasn’t into too extravagant colors or frames either. they had me try on dozens of frames, with astrid even running out to her car to find one more that she wanted me to try on. they were super good at letting me make up my own mind, but adding their honest suggestions, too. we agreed that i shouldn’t go for a frame that looked too secretary-like strict, like my old glasses, and that i needed a more feminine or flirty shape. to be completely honest – the dior frame was probably the third i tried on and i knew from the moment i looked in the mirror that it was the one. i really considered the heavier frame from oscar et valentine, simply because it was so cool, but we all agreed i looked more like myself with the dior frame.

this was all about a month ago, and i’ve probably worn my new glasses more in the past four weeks than i’ve worn my old ones in the time span of a year. i am so happy i went for the dark blue colour and very subtly ‘winged’ shape – it’s all very discreet, but still a little different than what you see most. but by all means, what do you guys think? did i do good, or should i have gone for the heavier frame? no matter how much i like the look on others, i feel like i end up favoring something more elegant time and time again…



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my name is stephanie duval, and i am a storyteller. this blog is where i share my favorite stories about design, travel, fashion and the nice things in life.


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