Thursday, December 31, 2009

Off to a Bad Start?

PS to my earlier post's musings about the old and new year: I had just laid out my party outfit, admired the freshly applied golden nail polish and was selecting the ingredients of tonight's YouTube worthy make-up to complement my new haircut (!) when the hostess rang to tell me she was feeling miserable, had thrown up and was going to bed.
Bye-bye New Year's Eve party. Hello, TV.

We'll See

I'm trying a different approach in 2010: keep all the yearly horoscopes for my sign, aquarius, that I stumble upon in magazines and look at the end of next year which of the prognoses were accurate.horoscope for 2010 (onemorehandbag) 2009 was supposed to have been my year. Much to my disappointment, thoses promised stellar successes both on the private and professional front did not materialise. If you ask the Mermaid or my Mum, the fact that Prince Charming did not turn up on my doorstep might have to do with the fact that I'm just not looking properly...maybe. In any case, it has been, or rather was, an interesting year. (What a versatile adjective "intersting" is, don't you think?).
Most of all, it was a lear of learning, not of the academic kind, but of the "lessons for life" variety, which is not always pleasant: re-evaluate some friendships, be less trustful, don't always wear your heart on your sleeve, and (don't give up hope you'll be able to one day) handle disappointments better and more professionally. Overall, it was a good year, though, one of the highlights of which was my extraordinary holiday in Japan and also the realisation that support and affection often come from where you least expect it.
In any case, I'll be able to see clearly with my new glasses, which I already received yesterday:
I can see clearly now (onemorehandbag)They make me look a bit "strict" compared to my rimless pair, which I will continue to wear, but as I wear contact lenses most of the time anyway, I hope I won't scare too many kids.

Wishing all of you a sparkling and shiny New Year with all your wishes coming true!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Animal On Your Teeth

I find following my favourite "YouTube Soaps" aka videos by make-up gurus great fun and very addictive. Comments left by fellow viewers are often more entertaining than the actual video. Most comments are along the lines of "you look pretty in this video" or "love your shirt, where did you buy it?", but some are really funny, mostly because they exhibit a total irreverence of rudimentary grammar. The other day I watched "Elle's" (allthatglitters21) most recent offering, a video on the range of dental products she regularly uses:
There was a comment by a concerned viewer who wanted to point out that excessive use of whitening products might corrode the dental enamely which cought my attention:

Animals on your teeth? Defintely not a good sign.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Today I went skiing to Bad Kleinkirchheim (known to insiders as BKK), where the - artificial - snow on the slopes was ok...
I made friends with a polar bear...
and longed to jump into the hot springs pool afterwards. Can you spot it?

It's quite a sobering sight, but one that's here to stay I am afraid, to see brown fields right next to the slopes. A bit like oases in the desert.

All photos were made with my new mobile phone. I'm quite impressed with the quality, I have to say.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Itch, Scratched

After 3 and a half days of closed shops, I was getting restless.

This morning, I headed downtown shortly after 9 to choose new glasses (of the spectacles frame, not drinking vessel variety), a task I had deliberately scheduled for the quiet(er) time between Christmas and the New Year and for KLU, where there the choice at the local Fielmann branch was less overwhelming than in Vienna. The Pampered Princess (who surprised me by telling me that not only did she occasionally read my blog, but she had gone to the trouble of browsing through my Amazon wishlist and ordering a book from it as a Christmas present. Good girl!) assisted me in selecting a pair from my shortlist of frames and prevented me from settling for a "lab goggles" kind transparent one, which I basically liked the idea of, but which wasn't flattering at all. I eventually chose a reddish pair by... Versace, which sounds frightening and evokes unwanted images of Victoria Beckham, but which is actually very plain with no Medusa head in sight, not even on the earpieces. The finished glasses will be sent to Vienna and I am looking forward to getting my stylish new specs.
Afterwards, we walked through the pedestrian zone and checked out the Sale at Stefanel. The PP picked up a cosy looking cashmere cardigan. "Nice", I said, "but, you know, I'm not even looking at jumpers and other tops, I have SO many." Right. Fifteen minutes later, I left Sisley with two new items, an elegant viscose top and a powdery pink woollen jumper. Ahem. At € 35 for both of them, it obviously was a steal and I would never have forgiven myself for not picking them up.
new rags (onemorehandbag) Just as well I'm going skiing tomorrow...

Sunday, December 27, 2009

And the Lucky Winner is...

Alcessa won (onemorehandbag)With a total of 2 entries, competition was of course super fierce, but Alcessa made it - yay! I also really like that green Nicolas Ghesquière bag, by the way...

Please send your address to *nameofthisblog* and I will promptly post your prize.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Mobile Broadband Killed the Video Star

The holidays have brought out my inner Hollywood director and so I spent hours to finish my matcha cookies tutorial. Well, unfortunately, it seems 75 MB is too much for my mobile broadband to cope with and so I haven't been able to upload it to my YouTube channel. Grrrrrrr.

Friday, December 25, 2009

C is for Christmas. And Charity. And Cosmetics.

Christmas 2009. The (surprisingly symmetrical) tree was decorated by me with everything our sentimental ornaments collection had to offer:Christmas Tree 2009 (onemorehandbag) As my Dad doesn't appreciate nice gift wrapping (pearls before swine and all that) and actually delegates the unwrapping of his gifts to the person sitting next to him, I took extreme measures this year and bought a reusable sack which held all his presents:
Christmas sack (onemorehandbag)

In order to avoid too much waste of wrapping paper, I wrapped my Mum's and maternal granny's presents in a similar accumulatory fashion, reducing it to one package each. Other people did not stick to that rule and so it was the usual sight, post gift-unwrapping:

aftermath (onemorehandbag)Overall, the atmosphere was a bit melancholic. The weather was foggy and rainy all day and Mum and I had to walk to mass through lashing rain, avoiding puddles. The Beast's absence was perceptible in many ways...nobody begging for raw fondue meat, no cat goodies under the tree, no one miaowing a plaintive "hello" when you return from midnight mass, pretending to be absolutely STARVING. On the other hand, it was heart-warming to see my granny so happy. At first, she did not really want leave her OAP-proof comfort zone and spend Christmas Eve at my parents' where she knows there are stairs to climb (which she eventually masters with all three of us aiding her ascent and descent), but then she really enjoyed herself.
When I was smaller, especially when I still believed that "Christkind" brought all the presents, I used to get lots of gifts and receiving was of course way more exciting than giving. In recent years, I've had fewer things to unwrap under the tree and of course less surprise gifts. This mainly has to do with the fact that I open all the gifts I get in Vienna there and then as I really don't want to ferry even more things back and forth than neccessary.
Apart from my Dad's mother who despite everyone's protests still gives far too generous cash gifts on every occasion, all other elderly relatives have now "retired" from giving Christmas presents or sometimes even remembering the actualy dates of their loved one's birthdays. The fact that they live in a kind of time-warp or eternal holiday in their nursing homes and are not able to make gifts or keep track of weekdays does not mean that they don't like attention and receiving presents themselves. The older I get myself, the more grateful I am that I still have both grandmothers and that 2 of my three great-aunts who all used to dote over me and spoil me rotten when I was a little brat are still alive. I try to visit them as often as I can (even if it means hours of listening to the same stories over and over again, pretending to hear them for the very first time) and enjoy being able to spoil them for a change. The same holds true for my parents who of course more than deserve their fair share of spoiling as well.
When my parents asked me what I wanted this Christmas, I could not think of anything I wanted. Well, that's not to say I don't covet any earthly goods any more, but I know that my Mum considers luxury items à Tiffany's or Louis Vuitton terribly boring and vulgar and so I would rather bite my tongue than put such frivolities on the wishlist. As they have reached the age where they also "have everything", we agreed to restrict gift-giving to small, symbolic presents along the line of books and CDs this year. I asked for a subscription to Brand Eins, a magazine I regularly buy and hinted that I would not mind a Pandora charm. I got both of these and some "traditional" gifts I get every year, like a stone pendant made by my Dad or calendars made by both my parents. (We always exchange self-made calendars). Mum also got me a really beautiful cashmere sweater, pictured below with Dad's "jewellery":

I also got a voucher for a mini-trip to Venice from my Mum and the "traditional" € 100 from my Dad. There was one gift I was particularly looking forward to, however. It was no surprise, but it was a novelty for a Christmas present, a paiting bought at a charity exhibition Mum and I visited when I was in KLU in November. The exhibition was called "From Pain to Paint" and all paintings were by members of the Bindu Art School, mostly illiterate people with leprosy. Mum had set her eye on another painting which unfortunately was already sold, but then asked me if there was one I liked. There was:
Isn't it beautiful?

Before you think I have suddenly renounced all vain pleasures - I got lots of beauty-related stuff from friends and relatives (notably cousins) in Vienna - yay!

she's so vain (onemorehandbag)Chiquita and Amica (book) also provided fodder for my current japanophile phase. Another yay!

Japanese gifts (onemorehandbag)

I spent Christmas Day reading the German translation of Fun Home (one of the best books EVER in my opinion) which was among the books I gave my Mum and the first BRIGITTE with only lay models. In case you live in Germany and are wondering: Austrians get always get it 5 days before the official issue date in Germany. I also brought a stash of books to KLU, but want to read through some magazine backlog such as the ART magazine my parents have a subscription of, before. Another tradition...

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas (onemorehandbag) Merry Christmas* to all of you
PS: The small "onemorehandbag merchandise prize" is still up for grabs and competition is not exactly fierce at this stage...
* if you don't celebrate Christmas: Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 21, 2009


If you live in Vienna and see someone wearing this cap, MY cap, feel free to snatch it off their face and check if it the label with care instructions is in Japanese. Once you have made sure this is indeed the case feel free to inflict all kinds of torture to the wearer. I lost the cap last Thursday in a department store where it must have fallen either outside my bag or my coat pocket. I realised I had lost it before leaving the store (it was already very cold) and retraced my steps. Somebody must have liked it and snatched. Grrr. Like the time when my flip flops were stolen from the swimming pool, I wonder who would do this as opposed to handing it to the cashier or lost&found counter.
cap gone AWOL (onemorehandbag)Not only do I tend to get very attached to things, I especially treasure things bought abroad, such as this souvenir from Kyoto.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Yesterday around lunchtime, it had just begun to snow:
snow in Vienna Dec 19, 2009 (onemorehandbag) 24 hours later, the snow has settled and it is a fresh -9°. Brrrr
snow in Vienna Dec 20, 2009 (onemorehandbag)

I'm trying not to get my hopes up too much for a white Christmas, though, as the weathermen see mild weather in their crystal balls.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Matcha (Christmas) Cookies

This will be the last pictures and recipe of Christmas cookies for this year (apart from the video tutorial which I probably won't have time for before Christmas), I promise, but I was very excited about my "invention" and the overall outcome of the matcha cookies:

matcha cookies (onemorehandbag)Working playing with the matcha powder and the way the dough and marzipan easily transformed into playdoh-like green matter was pure fun:

green matter (onemorehandbag) The recipe produced about one sheet of filled, i.e. double-tiered, and one of plain cookies.
matcha cookies filled and plain (onemorehandbag)The whole decororation-thing was actually just an excuse the mape-leave shaped food-cutter (I assume it's used for fish-paste or other savoury food rather than for marzipan in Japan) I bought at a grocery market near the famous Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo. The little thing was surprisingly expensive. I can't remember the exact price, but it cost more than € 10.

cutting edge (onemorehandbag)

Ingredients (cookies)

200g cold butter cut into cubes
1 heaped teaspoon of matcha powder
400g flour (plain)
150g sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 egg

Ingredients (marzipan decorations)

250g marzipan
1 heaped teaspoon of matcha powder
icing sugar


Add the matcha powder to the flour and blend well. Combine all ingredients to a smooth dough, using first an electic mixer, then elbow grease. Roll into a tight ball and wrap with clingfilm. Let rest in the fridge for at least an hour. Unlike other buttery doughs, this one did not stick on the worktop at all, quite surprisingly.

Knead the marzipan with the matcha powder and a bit of icing sugar, wrap with clingfilm and store in a cool place (or the fridge) until you need it.

Preheat your oven to 200° (fan setting: 180°) Cut off half of the dough. It will probably be rock-solid when you take it out of the fridge, but this is normal. Leave for some minutes until soft enough to knead through. Roll out on a floured surface and use your favourite cookie cutters to cut out nice shapes. When all the dough has been used, work with the remaining half. Bake for 10 mins approx and be careful that the surface does not get too brown. Actually, it should not get brown at all as we want (pale) green to be the dominant colour. I used greengage jam as a filling for some of mine, but they actually taste nice plain as well.

Roll the marzipan out with some icing sugar to prevent it from sticking to your worktop and cut out small shapes. My Japanese cutter thingie was actually quite tricky as I had to get out the little shapes with the aid of my pinkie. If the marzipan sticks to the cookies on its own, fine. If not (as was the case with mine) use a tiny bit of jam as "glue".

Store in a tin between layers of greaseproof-paper and leave to soften for a couple of days.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Great (Well...) Christmas Giveaway

On Tuesday night, the Book Club convened for its annual Christmas meeting. Without having read, nor even suggested a book. For the second time in a row - shocking! But then, I've always said it ought to be officially rebranded as Bitch'n Binge Club anyway. I gave the girls, most of whom read this blog, little drawstring bags made of Japanese or Liberty fabric with a little logo saying "I read" sewn onto it:
goodie bags (onemorehandbag) Weeell, I made an extra one of the blue Liberty fabric (bought in Nice this summer) and will be happy to give it to one of you.
(liberty  bag (onemorehandbag) Much to the chagrin of the Empress and M.C. who were actually far more excited about my little crafts project than the actual recipients, people who are a) related to me or b) work in the same office with me are not eligible to enter the...tadah...great Christmas Giveaway.

If you want the little bag, all you have to do is leave a comment telling me what kind of (hand)bag you would get if money were no issue. Closing date: December 26. The lucky winner will be chosen using

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hot'n Steamy

I was going to put up my Matcha Cookies recipes, but then didn't have the time for such a long post. I know suspense is killing you. Not. Well anyway, to tie in with la bella Chiquita's post on miso soup I wanted to share today's lunch with you, a huge bowl of miso ramen @ one of our regular haunts, Bento Box:
soup @ bento box (onemorehandbag) The only diffence to soup-experiences in Japan or when I make miso soup at home...the typical stomach "upheaval" that inevitably follow after visiting a pan-Asian Austrian restaurant. MNGs?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Pomegranate Aperitif and Advent Idyll

bloody pomegranate (onemorehandbag)
Yesterday , Frida and the Pampered Princess with their hubbies and kids, the PP's sister and Mademoiselle came for an afternoon "tea" (without actual tea being involved). After stuffing them with cookies, cake, fruit salad and spiced Christmas nuts, I dished up so much ham, cheese and salmon that I took the leftovers to the office. As an aperitif, I made a sort of wintery pomegranate cocktail. I love pomegranate although I am a bit scared of the mess it creates in the kitchen (think Texas Chainsaw Massacre). For 8 cocktails, I used the seeds of half a pomegranate, added the juice of 2 normal and one blood orange, 2 tablespoons of honey, 2 tablespoons of pomegranate syrup (bought at a Turkish supermarket) and 2 chunks of cinnamon bark which I left in the mix to infuse for about 5 hours. The mix was one third pomegranate potion and 2 thirds prosecco. The guests liked it.

This was what the festive tables for adults and kids looked like:
3rd Advent chez Retailtherapist (onemorehandbag)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Happy Hunting Grounds

When I called my parents today, my Mum told me they had to put the Beast to sleep yesterday, realizing they were not doing him (too weak to get up and to control his bladder) any favours by keeping him alive. This was the last picture I took of him when I was in KLU last month:

the Beast in November (onemorehandbag) My Dad could not face burying him in the garden (like our last cat, A.) or even worse, having him end up in pet food, so had found out about a pet cremation service. The Beast's ashes will be scattered in the garden. His garden, which he was the undisputed king of.

The Beast, who from the very beginning was very much my Dad's cat, lived with my parents for 15 years. If I remember correctly, he actually was delivered a few days before Christmas December 1994 by a schoolfriend whose cat was the Beast's mother. He was born in September and so was a bit too young to be taken away from this mother already at the end of October as a 50th birthday present for my Dad. The two of them had a particularly symbiotic relationship and were inseparable, but everyone (unless they had a cat allergy) who met him was immediately wooed by his impressive purr and cuddliness.

I hope there are plently of sunny spots to enjoy his beauty sleep in Cat Heaven and many mice and birds to hunt.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Happiness Is...

...not having to join the masses on the hunt of Christmas presents, but rather potter about at home, recycling leftover ingredients (ground almonds, marzipan, chocolate...) into confectionery, preparing for a little advent party chez moi tomorrow, reading my backlog of newspapers of newspapers and magazines, watching YouTube videos, printing out the photos for my 2010 calendars and looking forward to the new Woody Allen film tonight.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Granny's Traditional Gingerbread

Every year, I make gingerbread using this recipe which I got from my paternal Granny, who at 94 years of age has now retired from baking, but in her "active time" was an excellent baker and I always used to tell her she should open her own pastry shop.
The recipe is dead simple and the Pampered Princess who I gave it to a couple of years ago is a fan, too.

This is what the dough looks like before its "vacation in the sun":
gingerbread dough (onemorehandbag)

And this is the bronzed outcome (and, no, the rectangles didn't magically morph into hearts during the process of baking, I made a total of 4 trays using different shapes):

gingerbread baked (onemorehandbag) Ingredients:

200 g sugar
69g lukewarm honey
2 eggs
300 g rye flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 sachet* allspice/ gingerbread spice mix

*this is usually sold in standardised sachets in Austria, I suppose the amount needed translates to about 3 tablespoons or so, depending on how "spicy" you like it.


Mix sugar, honey and eggs and then add the rest. The dough will be very dense and sticky, but that's allright. Leave to rest in your fridge overnight or longer (I usually don't get around to baking until 3 days or so later...). When you take it out of the fridge knead through again and roll out on a flat surface to about 3mm in height. Use cookie cutters dipped in flour to cut out your preferred shapes. Brush with whisked egg white or water and decorate with blanched almonts or candied cherries if you like.

Preheat your oven to 200° and bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Once it has cooled, the gingerbread will be crisp. As we want it to be soft rather than crunchy, we're going to use a little trick. Peel half an apple and cut into thick slices. Take 2 or three and eat the rest. Put the slices between double layers of greaseproof paper and put on top of the cookies in the tin. Leave for 2 days approx. Don't put directly on the gingerbread as the apple's acid and moisture will make it gooey. Don't forget to take out after 2 (3 days max) either, unless you want mouldy apples. This is what it should look like:

gingerbread in the tin (onemorehandbag)

The gingerbread will be perfectly soft.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Upon popular request (actually the Empress's), I brought this year's Christmas cookies collection in to work today. Last night, I made matcha cookies, decorated with mape-leaf shaped marzipan which completed the selection. I might make some chocolates to use up leftover marzipan, but I'm definitely done with the biscuits for this season, phew!
Christmas Cookies 2009 (onemorehandbag) Recipes for traditional gingerbread and matcha cookies (incl. video tutorial) coming up!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

SOME People Walk Their Pets on a Leash

others prefer to walk them on their head, shoulders and calves:
walk your fur (onemorehandbag)
Hm, tough one: let's guess the nationality.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

PS - Matcha Latte

Now also available as video tutorial - yeah! Just what the world has been waiting for:

Monday, December 07, 2009


golden choccies (onemorehandbag) Aren't these pretty? Handmade chocolates with genuine gold leaf: (almost) too pretty to be devoured...

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Orange Entertaining

Last night, the Tyrolean and her family came to dinner and I went on orange overdrive:
orange table (onemorehandbag) Orange Christmas baubles of course...
orange glow (onemorehandbag)Even the veggies I chose to keep the sticky pork company in the oven were bright orange apart from the fennel:

orange veggies (onemorehandbag)

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Therapeutic Glazing

Kaffeekipferln (onemorehandbag)
Florentiner (onemorehandbag) Last night, I glazed Christmas biscuits to take my mind off the sad situation at my parents': the Beast suddenly gone blind and pretty much on his last paws after (probably) a stroke and my poor Dad (Mum's abroad) having to decide whether he was actually suffering and should therefore be put out of his misery or was just getting weaker and one should let nature take its course. Horrible!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Almost like the Shinkansen

This morning, I took the train to Linz. Sitting in the spacious First Class compartment of the Railjet with complimentary probiotic drink, Manner wafers and newspaper, I was reminded of the comfort of Japanese Shinkansen trains. I had my little Japanese bottle (filled with Viennese tap water) with me to make the nostalgic day-dream complete...
railjet (onemorehandbag)
(photo taken with my mobile phone)
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