Monday, November 30, 2009


As I've mentioned before, Chiquita/Bella and I got completely hooked on matcha lattes in Japan and had to have one every day. For me, it is the perfect "comfort drink". Like comfort food, it has a distinct sweetness and although I never put sugar in any other type of tea and find coffeeshop-bought chai lattes too sweet, matcha lattes call for a bit of a sugar kick. I sweetened the one I conjured up yesterday with maple sirup and it tasted as good as it looked:
matcha latte (onemorehandbag) Should you be interested in making your own, this is all you need:

milk (or soy milk)
matcha powder
maple sirup (or sugar/honey/sweetener of your choice)


Heat a mug of milk. Put half of it into a heat-proof glass and add a teaspoon of matcha powder. Whisk with a milk frother or tiny beater. Sweeten. Froth the rest of the milk and add on top. If you want to impress guests sprinkle some matcha powder on top of the milk froth.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

So Far, So Good

Well, the first Advent weekend is almost over (sigh), but I've been quite productive on the Christmas cookie front:
first batch (onemorehandbag) I have two more doughs resting in the fridge and have devised the perfect matcha biscuits recipe in my head. I can't wait to try it out and am thinking of making a how-to-video. We'll see.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

All Set

My flat is decorated with Christmas baubles, the smell of baking is wafting through the rooms and my advent wreath is ready for tomorrow. For the fist time, I did not just "pimp" a cheap shop-bought wreath by leaving only the candles and replacing tacky decorations with some of my choice, but got a naked wreath which I then dressed from scratch thanks to the Empress who gave me pins with which to fasten the candles. I decided to go for "liturgical purple" spiced up with dried orange slices to go with the general orange motto of my living room. The colour gave me the perfect excuse to buy a set of tea-light holders in the same shade of purple to keep the wreath company on top of the cabinet:
Advent wreath 2009 (onemorehandbag) I case you're wondering what the blotches on the wall behind are...well, they are from an Advent some years ago when I blew out the candles with a bit too much vigour and ended up splattering wax over the wall.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Entertainment Comes with the Job

I have been seeing a physiotherapist once a week for the past 3 months, hoping to get rid of the pain in my back or rather a spot near my left shoulder. I only get this tension after a day at work, knowing full well that sitting at my desk for hours on end, staring at two screens simultaneously does not help. Well, when I mentioned to the physiotherapist that I'm perfectly fine on weekends or on days when I have client meetings for the greater part of the day, she suggested running after work. When I told her I hated running (of the jogging variety, I don't mind sprinting for the bus or running as such), she showed me an exercise, instructing me to "squat down as if you wanted to use a not really clean loo which you didn't want to actually sit on. In that position move your arms back and forth really quicky as you would when running". As this was an easy-to-remember excercise, I decided to do this little workout behind my desk the very same day. The Gazelle who gets tense from attacking her keyboard and staring at her screen as well decided to join me, much to the Scholar's amusement. I suppose it does look quite entertaining and is somewhat reminiscent of a dance-routine that was very popular when I was a kid:

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Running in the Family

As you know, I really like to cook and bake and also to read food blogs. Well, last night Chiquita told me she had been writing one of her own for a while. Since last December in fact! I had no idea and was really curious to check out the site. Although I readily admit that I am biased, I was very impressed and can wholeheartedly recommend you (provided you understand German) make room in your bookmarks for (onemorehandbag)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cover Girl

I've always liked taking photos of pretty manhole covers when abroad and I really had a field day (or rather fortnight) in Japan where they had different and really pretty and original designs in every place we visited:
hachiko (onemorehandbag) Hachiko, Shibuya station, Tokyo

cherry blossom (onemorehandbag) cherry blossom, Ueno (I think that's where I took it anyway...), Tokyo

apples (onemorehandbag)apples, Jigokudani, Nagano prefecture

deer (onemorehandbag) deer, Nara

cranes (onemorehandbag) cranes, near Himeji station

more cranes (onemorehandbag) and more cranes, on the same street

Sunday, November 22, 2009


As I've previously mentioned, I love The majority of the site's material is from Japan and so my expectations were quite high. I was not disappointed and took pictures of some interesting interpretations of the English language:
better avoid that situation...but how?

I bring your cup, you bring mine, o.k.?
please only get injured some of the time

my favourite sign: I love the "if run a little" additional info

Freeeeks rock!

We're having none of that fast food business

Here, you can be sure to get the same hairstyle as last time

Friday, November 20, 2009

Wrong Slogan, Maybe?

On Wednesday night, I walked through the MQ yard, passing the annual "igloo" made of Enzi chairs. The posters promised that it was "anything but a Christmas market".
kein Christkindlmarkt (onemorehandbag) Last night on my way home from a dinner with colleagues visiting from Hamburg, I took the shortcut through the MQ again. The igloo was gone and all that was left were leftovers of burnt Enzis, guarded by a security officer.
MQ Christkindlmarkt in ashes (onemorehandbag)Anything but a Christmas market indeed...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

It Takes Me break off a piece of front tooth after a lunch of SOUP!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Japanese Diet

Shortly before I travelled to Japan, I talked to a friend who had visited Japan last autumn. One of the first things she said was "Oooh, you'll see, you'll loose so much weight. I lost 2 kilos in 3 weeks." I found that a rather strange comment and with a raised eybrow reminded her that "we're going on a holiday, not a diet."

However, by the end of the two weeks my jeans felt noticeably loose so I decided to step on the scales when I got home. What can I say - I, too, had lost 2 kilos. Needless to say, I have fattened up again since, but it was still remarkable. I'm not sure if it was due to the healthy Japanese diet itself, the fact that I had eaten less chocolate there or because we were on our feet pretty much all day.
Be that as it may, I wanted to show you some of our culinary exploits.

Lots of Japanese green tea, obviously. We drank it both hot and "plain", in the form of matcha latte (sigh!) and as bottled iced tea, which unlike European varieties was mostly unsweetened and therefore much superior in taste in my opinion.
Japanese tea (onemorehandbag)Japanese tea with candied beans

We were particularly fascinated by the variety of great quality food available both at railway stations and on the (Shinkansen) trains:
Japanese train snacks (onemorehandbag)train snacks and bento boxes

Train feasts aside, we also encountered "proper" Japanese food in beautiful dishes with references to the current season, i.e. lots of maple-leaf shapes. The little teacup next to the sashimi doesn't contain tea, but a kind of mushroom broth (magic mushrooms?), by the way:
Japanese dinner (onemorehandbag)traditional Japanese goodies

We also made great friends with some western-style pastries in Japan, such as the ubiquitous Mont Blanc, a small cake covered with chestnut "noodles" and a candied chestnut: delicious!
Mont Blanc (onemorehandbag)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Bonsai Bag

I know this will come as a complete surprise to you, but I quite like bags. On my first day back in the office after my holiday, a padded envelope from Brands4Friends was waiting on my desk. It contained several items of jewellery from Pilgrim with the majority being intended as Christmas gifts. One was a gift for myself and I've worn it pretty much every day since then:
little bag pendant (onemorehandbag) PS - you know your YouTube-Make-up-Guru obsession (I'm trying to avoid the word "addiction" as these inevitably trigger hilarious ads on my website) is really bad when your partner in crime texts you from Rome saying "they've got sephora here! bought benefit bronzer and do tell lipstick plus too faced palette called glamour to go. And two brushes!" and you reply "how cool is that!". Time to get a life?

Monday, November 16, 2009


Same chandeliers as last year, but new LED brightness. Personally, I preferred the old-skool soft tones.
Christmas decorations on Graben (onemorehandbag)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

No Catfights. How Boring.

On Friday night, I passed the H&M store on Graben which was all set for the much-awaited sale of their Jimmy Choo collection on November 14. The windows had been decorated with parts (or all?) of the collection for the week, but I noticed a new sign (sorry for the reflection) had been put up:
queue for Choo (onemorehandbag)Wow. I was reminded of stories of poor Russians or GDR inhabitants queuing up for solitary cabbages or mismatched shoes. "Queue for Choo" - a novel marketing approach.
Yesterday I was in the Designer Outlet Center in Parndorf, but on my way there, I made a detour to Graben to see if there were scenes of desperation or women trying to get in by offering sexual favours to security guards.
None of that, just happy ladies wielding blue bags:
happy Choo shoppers (onemorehandbag) I did not go in (unfortunately, I can't walk in high heels and if the more wearable items in the collection are meant to be worn by me, they will wait), but when I peeked past the security guard, it did not look too crowded in there.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I Bagged it in Japan

Not very surprisingly, I wanted to buy a bag in Japan. Those I liked most, however (e.g. a lovely grey leather bag from Banana Republic and a gorgeous beige/pink COACH bag), were not only expensive, but also bulky, so I ended up buying only a small foldable shopping tote and something which I have not seen here, but which is very popular and widely available in Japan: a little bag you put into your big one:
mini bag (onemorehandbag) I got mine at Muji a week after Chiquita had bought a similar one there and was able to tell me she found it very practical for her Longchamp Pliages bag which has only one inside pocket. My theory is that these types of bags are popular in Japan because Japanese ladies seem to like bags without any zipper or other fastener at the top, such as the ubiquitious Louis Vuitton "Neverfull" bag, which, by the way, I am more than tempted to acquire in the near future (ahem). Pickpockets are obviously an unheard of thing in Japan as we often saw women with those "open top" bags and their wallets on show in the subway or other public places. You just don't see that here and if you did, you'd think, "Poor idiot, just aksing for her valuables to be stolen". Well, in Japan you also see men leaving their laptops and briefcases unattended when they go to the toilet in a coffeeshop.
Back to the little bag - I have not used it yet, but I think I'll get a lot of wear out of it in summer. Or when I succumb to the siren-call of Neverfulls...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Blogoversary: 4

It's the 4th blogoversary on this memorable date, 11/11- yeah! As I don't have much time today and wanted to show you my Shu Uemura acquisitions anyway, I'm posting a picture of 4 (get it? so subtle!) Japanese autumn colours in the form of pigments:
shu uemura make-up (onemorehandbag) (Yep, that would be approximately one 6th of my new camera showing in the little mirror).

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Withdrawal Symptoms

In Japan, I devoloped a serious addiction for matcha lattes, and indeed everything with matcha flavour, which Chiquita and I made a point of trying. In the interest of science, of course.
The matcha delights ranged from donuts...
matcha donut (onemorehandbag) to matcha ice-cream. Note the beatific smile on my face:
matcha ice cream (onemorehandbag)I also bought matcha powder to recreate some of the wonders at home (I'm thinking christmas cookies...), but the thing I've been having the worst cravings for is a good matcha latte. For the record, the best ones I had in Japan were the ones from Starbucks, a chain that I'm not overly enthusiastic about elsewhere, but in Japan they served amazing beverages and pastries. Yum!
Back in Vienna, I remembered Cha No Ma, the green tea shop in Faulmanngasse near Naschmarkt, which I already tried last year with the Pampered Princess and been somewhat underwhelmed by the ex-ter-eeeem-ely slow service. Well, my withdrawal symptoms where so bad I wanted to give it another chance. Plus I'd read they also serve onigiri, my other recent addiction. Chiquita, who's just as addicted as I am, had other plans and so I ventured there on my own:
Cha No Ma Vienna (onemorehandbag) The verdict: really delicious matcha latte (with soymilk by default) and very good onigiri, although my favourite, the pickled plum variety, was only available with wasabi seasoning. I love wasabi, but I prefer the plum flavour on its own.

Afterwards, I went to Nippon Ya, the Japanese supermarket to buy some crunchy seeweed and pickled plums to recreate onigiri at home. One day. Chiquita and I daydreamed about opening an onigiri shop in Vienna and when we found onigiri moulds (utterly superfluous as hands actually suffice, but you know...) in a lovely shop called Afternoon Tea, we had to buy one each. Maybe the foundation of a big Austrian onigiri empire, who knows...
onigiri kit (onemorehandbag)

Friday, November 06, 2009

That's What an Unhealthy Obsession with YouTube Make-Up Gurus Does to You

makeup forever (onemorehandbag) ...You are thrilled that the Make Up For Ever store is a mere stone's throw from your office and go there in your lunch-hour to buy a limited edition set of eye crayons, plus a new brush to apply your growing collection of blusher with. I'm going to return there with M.C. soon, whom I have managed to infect with the YT virus as well.
Plus you develop an obsession with nail varnish and don't give up until you track down a grey one (by YSL) in keeping with your current "grey phase" (hey, it's the new black after all!). Before you think I'm on the verge of turning into a complete bimbo: with the odd exception I think I'll still keep limiting coloured nail polish to my toes. I always feel "dressed up" with painted fingernails and I have to take the varnish off immediately when it gets chipped.
Speaking of nail varnish, I deeply regret not getting a transparent top coat that was prominently displayed in all Japanese drugstores and which apparently makes your nails look "like acrylic". In a good way. I thought I would be able to get a similar one here, but no.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The Kindness of Strangers

I had heard many times that Japanese people were incredibly friendly and polite. Honestly, I had my doubts, having met my fair share of arrogant and rude Japanese when I worked at Coma HQ. Then again, as Kitty put it, "those civil servants are not really representative, you'll see." She was right. I'm not talking about the obsequiousness and bows of shop assistants here, but unexpectedly nice behaviour by "normal" citizens.

Such as the old man Chiquita and I met in Himeji. The famous castle is at the far end of a street that starts at the railway station. We had just arrived from Kyoto and were walking towards the castle at a leasurely pace, me taking pictures of the pretty manhole covers with crane (the bird, not the machinery) motifs, when an old man dressed in rather sporty attire appeared by our side. "Where you from?" he asked. We told him we were from Austria and as usual had to pronounce it again the Japanese way for him to understand it wasn't the country with the cangaroos, but the one famous for its composers that we were from. "I'm old boy," he said. "I take this walk every day. I have presento for you". We could not even thank him properly for the envelope he gave to each of us, before briskly walking away. Right then, we only took a brief peek and both assumed it was postcards he had put in. Even so, we found it extremely sweet of him to hand them out to complete strangers and wondered if on his daily walk he always took a stash of cards.

It wasn't until I was rummaging through my rucksack on the way back to Kyoto that I found the pale green envelope and took a proper look inside. It was photographs, presumably taken by the Japanese granddad himself, showing the castle at various times of the year:

photos of Himeji castle (onemorehandbag)

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Onboard Entertainment Courtesy of Wiener Linien

This morning, it snowed in Vienna. Predictably enough, the number of people waiting at my bus-stop was higher than usual. Do they all ride to work by bike or scooter if it doesn't snow, I wonder? Be that as it may, everyone managed to squeeze themselves into the already full bus and just as predictably, the automatic doors never closed at the first attempt. After the game of opening and half-closing of doors had been repeated at several stops, the tannoy cracked:
This is your driver speaking. I don't need to get to school. I don't need to get to work. I already AM at work. Now if YOU want to arrive there, I suggest you stop obstructing those doors. Thank you.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Stereotypes First

Whenever people talk about their impressions of Japan, the topic of toilets will inevitably come up sooner or later. Well, now that I have experienced the famous Japanese loos first hand, I am only too happy to oblige. After a little incident with the "shower" button which resulted in my back (as opposed to my backside) being thoroughly showered, I made a mental note to avoid pressing that particular button and learned to love the omnipresent "washlets" (there are also "warmlets" with only nicely warmed-up toilet seats but no extra functions). Not only do they warm your bum ("bidet" as opposed to "shower" function), they also entertain you with fake flushing noises and wash your behind with scary precision, should you wish so.
Toilet slippers are of course only used in private houses or hotel rooms, not public restrooms:
Japanese hightech toilet (onemorehandbag)On trains or in the majority of public lavatories I encountered, there was always the choice between western-style sit-down toilets or Japanese-style toilets which apparently require some explaining for the non-initiated Gaijin:
toilet instructions (onemorehandbag) And here the simplified version for illiterate Gaijin:
toilet pictogram (onemorehandbag) What all those toilets had in common was that no matter how remote the village or local the train, I always and without exception found a generous supply of toilet paper. Were I to nominate the perfect country to relieve your bladder in, it would definitely be Japan. Austria is known as a rather clean and civilized country and yet I would only ever contemplate using a toilet at a train or subway station in an extreme emergency. In Japan, however, I did so frequently and never once encountered a filthy or smelly one.

Sunday, November 01, 2009


Chiquita and I came back from Japan yesterday afternoon and I am still feeling a bit dazed and jetlagged. We had the best 2 weeks EVER. I have just downloaded my more than 1300 (!) photos to my computer and am deciding which ones to upload to a digestible web album. Expect some photo-posts devoted to different topics in the next few days.

Everything was superlative: amazing sights and scenery, incredibly friendly people, delicious food, mild weather, trains that were always on time and surprisingly cheap prices. It is hard to imagine that we will actually be able to survive without matcha lattes and onigiri. Sigh!

It was also a shopaholic's dream - unlike in Europe when you you find outlets of the same highstreet chains wherever you go, most of the Japanese brands (apart from my beloved Uniqlo) where unknown to me and had I not arrived with a suitcase already weighing 21.7 kilos - the baggage allowance being 20 kg - which prompted check-in staff to tell me to "be careful", I would have gone wild. Well, I did anyway and by getting rid of some of my clothes and shoes in Japan, posting a parcel home and stuffing my carry-on bag full to the brim, I managed to check in a moderate 19.9 kg: some feat!

I could go on for hours about the beautiful packaging and wrappers of food and souvenirs alike. Consuming really is elevated to an art form in Japan and it's interesting to see that there are almost as many Louis Vuitton branches there are convenience stores. Japanese women seem to be crazy about nail art and I was THIS close to buying mad nail polish and/or going for some crazy manicure. It seemed like the thing to do but then I reminded myself that I'm actually not the type to boast glittery tips.

Here is a pretty representative picture of some of my typically Japanese purchases:

Japanese goodies (onemorehandbag) I also bought clothes, a funny hat, a new camera and make-up (mainly from Shu Uemura).

Time for some caffeine...more soon!

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