Monday, February 13, 2017

A Glimpse into Other People's Lives

By "other people" I don't mean the type of people who own that stately home, where I spent two nights last week, but the type of people whose business trips are much less "holiday-like" than mine. One of the reasons why I always tell people they don't need to pity me for my at times pretty frequent business travelling (early flights aside) is that in general, I have enough time to see something of the city I am in, be it for sightseeing, shopping or discovering nice cafés or restaurants. Quite often, all of the above. This time tough, I was in a really impressive place and did not get to explore any of its surroundings. In fact, I ended up being"locked in" all day on Thursday and did not get any fresh air that day at all, which I can't remember doing in years (!). It was o.k. , but it really made me think that this is reality and summary of every single work day of a lot of people, who typically fly in and out of a city the same day, have meetings at airports, stay at nondescript airport hotels, and might have "been" to a city dozens of times without having experienced anything other than its airport terminals, taxis and conference rooms. I really consider myself lucky that this is NOT the norm for me, but an exception that struck me as quite surreal.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Airports are Dangerous

Even after years of pretty frequent business travelling, I still enjoy flying and being in airports. I know that I am a minority, but this is how it is. I also like being at airports on time and will rather kill time in lounges, cafés or shops than arrive flustered and spend half my flight panting and close to a heart attack. Simply put, I like to get my adrenaline rushes elsewhere, rather than calculate next to no time for travelling to the airport. Having once stood in a security line for 2+ hours (!) at a US airport and had other close shaves, I am not planning to change this anytime soon and have in the past suggested colleagues who like to play it cool and like to arrive at the airport 15 minutes before departure time travel separately and we meet at the gate. Unless it is a super crappy airport that offers next to know shopportunities, I am not a fan of airport lounges that, in my opinion at least, only begin to get glamorous once you have reached Senator status or above, which I have not. I therefore prefer browsing through shops and have struck many unexpected deals over the years. Most recent case(s) in point. A really cool KNOMO backpack for 40% off in Vienna on my way to London, where, ironically, this brand hails from. I only discovered this brand last September when a colleague based in Dublin got praised for her own Knomo backpack by others who also seemed in the know(mo) about it. I liked her bag, but then forgot about it until I was idly browsing through shops in the old part of VIE airport from where I departed last Monday and happened upon this beauty:
You have read here before that I (thought I) had found "THE perfect business travel bag"...ahem. I like to believe that this one truly deserves this title:
 So stylish and with great attention to detail. Also loving the dark green colour:
Flying back, I had even more time to kill at LHR Terminal 3. Travelling to Paddington station, I had to take a detour as the Bakerloo line turned out to be suspended due to a fire alarm. Ugh, much as I love London, I don't think I would like to deal with public transport strikes and suspensions on a daily basis. I talked to several colleagues whose daily commute (not calculating in diversions and unexpected surprises) is 2 hours (!) each direction. Anyway, I digress. I had made a purchase at Termina 3's nice little Tiffany's outlet before, repurchasing the bracelet that got lost or stolen in Dubrovnik. I got intrigued by the little smile earrings they had on display.  After doing some online research to find out if they were cheaper in the US, I found they weren't and returned to try them on. It turned out they didn't look so exciting on me and so I asked for other small studs. I ended up buying their classic 8 mm silver beads, which you can't see here, but we'll agree their boxes always look pretty, right?
As I was waiting for the nice sales associate to prepare my bill, a young gentleman came in asking if they had engagement rings. Judging from his accent, he was Russian. He was looking at the rings somewhat unexcitedly and I could not help imagining some pushy buxom blonde who had been dropping heavy hints that it was about time he popped the question and produced some blinding sparkler. Nonetheless, I felt a bit wistful and for a moment wished there was someone nice (not necessarily of the Russian oligarch variety) shopping at Tiffany's for me. Well, the year is still young ;-p

Monday, January 30, 2017

Too Little, too Late, or too Much, too Soon?

Has it ever happened to you that somebody you parted on not-so-good terms with and who could just as well have died for all it matters suddenly returns after literally years to seek forgiveness and "absolution"? Well, it happened to me last week and I got all the flowers (pictured above: 21 roses), apologies and declarations of love that I longed to receive for all the years before I broke off contact, but never did. I was a bit overwhelmed, to put it mildly, and it put my birthday weekend in a bit of a melancholy mood. None the less, I realised that I have in fact become a teeny bit wiser with the older part and what would have caused quite a bit of drama 5 years ago, did cause a light meltdown, but a grown-up kind of one, if there is such a thing. Blasts from the past aside, I had so much fun celebrating my birthday and remain convinced that this year will be stellar!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Things That Made Me Happy Last Week. (And Continue to Do So)

Wow. It's already 13 months ago that I last posted a "Things that Made Me Happy Last Week" post. I feel like reviving the "tradition", if only as a one off. I've had a really happy week this week (writing this on Saturday evening): I went skiing on Monday when most people were at work, enjoying fresh snow and empty slopes. It was magical and I almost envied myself. I also found the lovely snuggly navy Woolrich parka (down-lined with a fur-brimmed hood that is the first hood of a jacket or coat of mine that actually fits and keeps my head warm) waiting for me at the office that I had ordered the previous week. I had wanted one of these for years, literally, but never really researched where to find one on sale (didn't feel like paying full price). Wearing it feels like a hug or sleeping under a down blanket, tucked in by your grannie. Exactly a week ago I booked a weekend break in New York with the Empress. I am SO looking forward to our little adventure!
All in all, life is GOOD. I certainly can't relate when I see YouTube videos or magazine articles on how to "Beat the January Blues". January Blues? WTF? It's one of my favourite months of the year. I always feel full of fresh energy, ready to take on the new year, plus it's my birthday month. I don't mind that I am officially an old fart, I get excited every year and the older I get, the more I feel like celebrating it in style.
Work is busier than ever and it's sometimes challenging to work 40% less, but have to handle about 200% more tasks than when I was working full-time. I also still haven't even started looking for a new role as my current job will end in May this year, which is not that far away. Still, I am very calm and believe that something will come up that will be exactly right for me, and if nothing will immediately, it will be o.k. as well. I just have a gut feeling that 2017 is going to be a sensational year and am determined to enjoy every minute of it.

Monday, January 16, 2017

My Happy Place | In Love with Lövbacken

Sometimes, it is expensive luxury purchases, which make you happy every time you look at them or use them (in my case, this would be my Omega Seamaster watch that I pretty much haven't taken off since I gifted it to myself on my 40th birthday, as well as most of my handbags, in particular those limited edition ones). Other times, it is very inexpensive items that bring so much joy into your life. Meet "Lövbacken", a retro design side table from IKEA that I bought during the Christmas break. I rarely go to IKEA these days, and when I do, it is always in Klagenfurt, where it is a 10-minute-drive from my parents' place and there are usually no crowds. During my latest browse, when the only thing I needed was a replacement for a lamp in my flat, I walked past this beauty:
I immediately thought that it might go nicely with my beloved Jolly armchair. Jolly is a beloved fixture in my living room, but for a designer piece did not actually get that much use at first. I had the habit of dumping my pile of to-be-ironed clothes over its backrest (when no guests were around, of course) just as I had done with its not very comfortable predecessor. Well, you don't need to spend a hefty sum of money for a repository for your ironing and so I started using it for enjoying late breakfasts on weekends. Obviously, I needed to rest my mug of coffee or newspaper somewhere, and I would do so either on the bookshelf or on a little stool. It wasn't the perfect solution. I briefly contemplated whether Lövbacken might be the answer for this first world problem, or would just add additional clutter to my not exactly minimalist place, but then decided to go for it. It is indeed a match made in heaven and has upgraded my reading spot exponentially!
I now sit find myself sitting there several times a day, not just at breakfast time, which is good as Jolly is way more comfortable than my sofa, actually. It comes with a matching footrest, which I did not buy as I am very fond of this 1970s inflatable pouffe, bought by my parents on their honeymoon (during which I was "produced"). It is incredibly sturdy, the type of good (read, potentially dangerous, no doubt) plastic from the golden days, and I love it both for its colour and retro factor. 
Wishing you all a good week, while I finish my coffee here...

Monday, January 09, 2017

New Year, New Bag!

Happy New Year, everyone! I'm not sure yet if there will be another posting "theme" in 2017, but I feel like sticking with those weekly Monday posts anyway. I will, however, always fess up to bag splurges here. Obvs, like!
Ever since buying a - preloved - Chanel bag last year, I thought that my handbag bucket list was pretty empty. Well, empty-ish. Let's just face it, there will always be new temptations. After reading/hearing several bloggers and Youtubers rave about the Gucci Soho Disco, I started coveting it. Conveniently, there is a Gucci store right opposite my office and so I popped in. Well, it turns out they don't make them in cool colours anymore and I did not felt like getting a boring one. Also, I have never been a fan of big logos and while only stitched on, the Gucci Gs are still very prominent on this bag.
During the Christmas holidays, one of my favourite virtual enablers, Amie of the Chase Amie YT channel mentioned the Anya Hindmarch Smiley bag in her Boxing Day Sales video. Since she also owns (and raves about) the Soho Disco and mentioned it holds a similar amount of stuff, I began looking into it and decided it was so much more me. The price-point is basically the same as the Gucci one, but I managed to find it for 50% off, woohoo, and decided to treat myself for my birthday. It has since arrived and been on its maiden cruise and I really love it:
It really is surprisingly spacious (I went to a club on a frosty night and put lambskin insoles in my ankle boots, which made them way too tight, so I ended up taking them out again once there. I could even fit those thick insoles into the bag) and the quality and attention to details is amazing. The signature smiley detail, "punctured" into the front is really subtle and won't look dated any time soon, I think. While there was a pretty unique turquoise/teal colour I instantly felt drawn to, I opted for this electric blue, which will definitely get more wear.
Speaking of of shopping. I have really restrained myself in the offline shopping scene recently, giving the Sale temptations a wide berth, but when I returned to the office last Tuesday, this is what my desk looked like. Ooopsie:
That huge black box in the background actually contained two tiny things from Furla, a coin purse and a bag charm (bought on Sale) that came in this massive box. Two parcels also contained birthday presents for other people. Just saying...

Monday, January 02, 2017

Week 52: Comfortably Predictable | Sloth 2.0

I don't know how your Christmas holiday went and where you spent it, but for me, there is only ONE way to do it "right" and this is the traditional way, i.e. spending it with my parents in KLU, in the Northern hemisphere, i.e. in winter. We are shockingly boring and non ceremonial on Christmas Eve, i.e. there is no singing and no reading from the Bible. Sorry about that. Mum and I always go to Midnight Mass (which takes place at 11 p.m. actually) and before that we eat Fondue (Chinoise, i.e. meat in broth), eat cookies and rip open presents, listening to traditional Christmas songs being performed by those who can do it so much better than we could. Recently, it's been mainly Mum who opens presents as she saves all the gifts she gets from her many friends and acquaintances and puts them under the trees. My parents will always get some books and these will be the books I grab first, the Christmas holidays being the only time when I read books in German. I devoured 4 this time plus stacks of miscellaneous magazines, most of them my own backlog from Vienna. Despite the fact that I always go skiing (weather permitting) and do some other outdoor activities like ice-skating and readily throw in a random cultural event, suggested by my Mum, I am basically a stationary object hogging the best spot on the living room sofa, being lazy and letting herself be spoilt by her parents. I get up for breakfast when I am sure my Mum has already gone downstairs to make coffee and the newspaper is next to my place. I don't help with lunch and am not expected to help with the dishes. Bliss! I am essentially a spoilt teenage brat for 10 days. I also don't feel a big urge to go out and am constantly sleepy (no doubt from all the sugar I consume in various shape or form) so it's as if I am recharging my batteries for my "wild" and restless life in Vienna where nobody fusses over me and I need to clear away my shit myself. May there be many more family lazy family Christmasses!
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