Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hot Date Tonight

Tonight I have a hote date. Hot, because it might be sweltering in the Stadthalle concert hall and date because I've been looking forward a lot to seeing hearing this man, Yusuf, the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens: 

Monday, May 30, 2011

Old and New

In case you had not noticed, Superga, Italian cult brand of my teens, is back en vogue and I anticipated this comeback by ordering a pair last year already. Hah! So fashion-clairvoyant, me! On my nails is "Stranger Tides", part of OPI's new Pirates of the Carribean collection which I got at Sephora in Paris.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Pink Gorgeousness

I definitely consider myself the "urban" rather than the "rural" type and a lack of civilisation (read: shops) for a longer period of time makes me nervous, but there are certain things that I miss in Vienna where I live in a flat without a balcony or garden. My parents' garden is small, but beautiful and every now and again, such as yesterday, on my mother's birthday, my Dad plays florist and makes a pretty bouquet of flowers for the living room:

Peonies are my favourite flowers and I can't get enough of their smell (hence my long-term addiction to Stella McCartney's Stella in Two: Peony, which I only recently stopped wearing in favour of Voyage d'Hermès which I prefer at the moment. Peonies are definitely even more gorgeous in the garden than in the vase and pink ones are my favourites:
I wish there was a "smell" feature in Blogger...

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Hulk. Lush-Style

Lush remains fiercely popular with teens and twens all over the world (I dare you to type in "lush haul" into the YouTube searchbox if you don't believe me). Personally, I always have to sneeze whenever I walk past one of their stores and pity the staff who have to stand the strong smell(s) there all day. Last week, I passed by the Lush on Rotenturmstraße on my way to DM when I noticed a man with a green face-mask, sitting outside the store in sun-worshipper-pose: 
I'm not sure if he really was a customer and the lady in beige his partner, or whether he was in on some kind of ploy in order to attract customers. What he certainly did attract was photographers as I was not the only one snapping a picture.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Close Shave

On Tuesday, I attended a training in Hamburg. The trainer said he had to leave right on time as he was worried UK airports would be shut down soon because of the ash cloud caused by the eruption of yet another Icelandic volcano, which had apparently reached Scotland already. According to plan, I flew back to Vienna on Tuesday evening. On Wednesday, Hamburg airport was closed. As I needed to be back in Austria for an important meeting yesterday, the alternative would have been fighting over train tickets for an endless journey. Not a good prospect.

I also ate in the canteen. Whether that was a good idea remains to be seen (the incubation period of EHEC infections is 10 days, I read). I can only say that for once, I feel justified for giving cucumbers a wide berth. I flew back with the Gazelle and we both wanted to eat some light snack at the airport. We settled for sushi and decided to share a bento. We were torn between two options, but ruled out one of them half of which consisted of cucumber maki as none of us wanted to end up with those. I retrospect, perhaps a wise choice.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Last week, I bought a white watch at TCHIBO. Yes, you remember correctly, I got one from there last year as well, but the problem is that the rubbery wristband had soon gone a nasty greenish yellow, which I just could not get rid of, no matter how hard I tried with my friends Cif and Danchlor. The new watchband is made of shiny, hard plastic and overall looks more chic, in my opinion. In the picture below, it's the watch on the right:

If you think I'm exaggerating about the dirty wristband, take a look at the revers side.  Not exactly white anymore:

Well, I suppose the old saying along the lines of who buys things cheaply ends up paying more has some truth to it...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lonesome Loo...

On Saturday, I was invited to Amica's country residence to celebrate Mademoiselle's birthday. When we all left their garden via the rear gate to go for a digestive walk, post-lunch, I noticed a random toilet parked on the other side of the street. Hmmm. Unless Marcel Duchamp had recently been to Halbturn, its origins remain mysterious. Being me, I had to pose for a stupid photo.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Charity Bag

On the way to gate C72 at Vienna airport yesterday, a tote bag with a hinomaru design cought my eye at the BREE stall and I stopped to have a closer look. Well, never mind that I already own about 20 tote bags, I decided I had to have it as a) we all know that plastic bags are evil and b) 100% of the proceeds (€10 per piece) of the sale go to the Japanese Red Cross in aid of victims of the March 11 East Japan Earthquake. Besides the cool graphic design, it also has a genuine leather tag on the side. I like!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sticky Hints

In Paris, I wanted to visit the famous Colette concept store. The Empress was right, it wasn't much to write home about and so we soon fled the crowds of tourists there. I only bought 2 small gifts, including the sticky notes below which I gave to the PP, knowing that she likes to give her hubby handy hints before Christmas and birthdays:

Saturday, May 21, 2011


I'm not exactly the biggest fan of spiders (the only thing I find more repulsive are catarpillars...puke! And NO, I don't care if they become pretty butterflies), but they undeniably are good at crafts. The picture above was taken in my parents' garden during my last visit.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Communist Approach

Last month, I spotted this sign in the window of a hairdresser's near where I live. Apparently, there had been a bench outside the shop which somebody considered public property and took with them. In frustration, the proprietor wrote: "Who stole my bench? It wasn't intended for taking! Please return!"

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Le Shopping

Paris is simply superb for shopping, partly because you can find many brands that are not available to Austria. Our first stop on Saturday was to Printemps, where I  bought a similar pair of ? whatever the official fashion term for those kind of masculine slim suede brogues is. The empress owns a beautiful pair in caramel brown, but I was quite taken by the grey pair I ended up buying. I had wanted to buy a pair of such shoes for quite a while, but not seriously looked for it in Vienna. As these are obviously not ballet flats, which I own about 10 pairs of and always tend to gravitate towards in shoe stores, I felt utterly justified:

I also bought some stuff at Sephora and a white linen blouse from Uniqlo, where I got the bag you can see me holding in the picture below: 
As befits a girly weekend, we talked make-up and ended up swapping palettes. I got a two-tiered Bobby Brown palette and the Empress was happy to get a Chanel duo in exchange.

For lack of a sugar daddy we only stroked the LV bags we liked and salivated a bit in the big flagship store.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Because We're Worth it...

I spent a super-duper fantastic weekend in Paris, enjoying my quality-time with the Empress and being totally wowed by her chic apartment. I had missed those types of girly weekends, visiting a friend who lives abroad, ever since l'Italiana moved to the U.S. London just isn't the same without her.

Back to Paris. As I had "done" all the major sights on previous visits and the massive queues in front of all museums apart from the totally obscure ones were quite repellent, we focused on the important things instead: shopping (more about that later), bitching and eating. Having walked around for hours on Saturday, we wanted to boost our sugar-levels with a little pit-stop at Ladurée, but hordes of people seemed to have had the same idea. After several other futile attempts, we finally parked our tired selves on the leather benches of the Café de Flores where we ordered an eclair with coffee cream each. Prices for sweets were not listed (or we did not check), but the prices for hot drinks (cappucino for more than EUR 7, anyone) made us tell the waiter - who replied by turning his eyes heavenward - we were fine with just water. In retrospect, I find 7something EUR for a coffee quite decently priced as one (!) eclair was...ta-dah: 12 Euros. Admittedly, it was a good eclair and thankfully, neither the Mermaid, nor my mother were present to deliver a lecture and to remind me how much this would have been in "old currency". The iced water was excellent, too...

On Sunday, we finally made it to Ladurée ("cheap" in comparison) where the Empress treated me to an ice-cream with (iced) macarons. Yummy!

The Empress chose an even prettier creation, a rose-flavoured macaron with a lychee-creme filling. Very elegant indeed. 

On Saturday night we had dinner at Le Relais de l'Entrecote, which serves only one main course, entrecôte, with a famous secret sauce. It was really good and worth waiting for almost 30 minutes outside, although the sauce was a bit on the (very) rich side. Afterwards, we went to the lounge bar of Pershing Hall, an über-stylish place where the beautiful and surgically enhanced people hang out. Cocktail prices match eclair-at-de-Flores-prices, but it's the atmosphere that counts, after all.

I can definitely see the attraction of living in Paris and there are no doubt plenty of opportunities to spend lots of money on beautiful things you absolutely need, not only on culinary delights, but having to queue for everything can be quite tiring for an impatient little creature like yours truly.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Oh Là Là

Tonight after work I'm flying to Paris to visit the Empress who has kindly invited me to stay at her residence (Versailles, I'm guessing) for the weekend, which in this case lasts until Monday. Yay! I am SO looking forward to a girly weekend with lots of shopping, office gossip and the odd macaron thrown in for good measure.

Thursday, May 12, 2011


I have heard of "tennis elbows" or "frozen shoulders", but I think I might have developed a phenomenon I'd like to call "keyboard pinkie". On Monday afternoon, in the midst of our weekly team meeting where I always take the notes, the little finger of my left hand started to hurt really badly whenever I bent it as happens while typing. It was a sensation like I imagine rheumatism to feel like and did not dissapear. It actually got worse as the day and night proceeded and I had no idea what caused it. I began to think it might be an after-effect of an incident on the escalator of my U3 stop when somebody pushed the person standing in front of me and she landed on my hand, more or less. I soon dropped that theory when M.C. told me that she also sometimes had a pain in a single finger that she thought was caused from typing. Hmm, a case for class-action against the Firm? Be that as it may, I wanted a remedy and after my Mobilat ointment didn't bring about any improvement, I decided to give B2's tip a try: the old household remedy, Topfenwickel (curd pack). I had heard about it, but never tried it myself and being too tired to search for the correct method online, I improvised.

The aching pinkie + curd + men's hankerchief

I piled the curd onto the hankie in copious quantities before wrapping it around my finger and realising that it squirted out on top of the roll I had created and would probably mess up my bed. As an afterthought I put a freezer bag on top of it. Very stylish:
What can I say: it actually helped and I am going to repeat the procedure with a little less curd.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Good Motto

I recently walked past a piece of "wall art" in Kaiserstraße that featured a quote: that struck a chord with me: "Don't try to be an apple if you are a banana. You will always be a second rate apple". You could say it sums up the way I feel at work most of the time. It bothers me, but up to know I just haven't dared to go bananas really.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Happy Shopping in Graz

As I mentioned, I was in Graz on Saturday. One of my mother's best friends lives there and we decided to visit her. My mother took the bus from KLU and I took the train from VIE (which left at 07:02, yawn). We spent the afernoon sitting in the sun on the friend's son's terrace, but the morning was devoted to shopping. I fell in love with Kastner&Öhler department store. We used to have one in KLU as well, but it carried only sporting goods. The one in Graz, however, is a proper department store which had recently been returned to its former glory and which carries an impressive array of international brands. I fell in love with a bag but then restrained myself (or rather had my Mum restrain me), knowing that I was going to Paris the weekend after, and only bought a t-shirt there. Should you be in Graz and be in a shopping mood, I highly recommend it!

From the rooftop terrace (currently under construction), you have a brilliant panoramic view. Here, you can see Graz's landmark, the Schlossberg and its clock tower:
Even the toilets where very stylish. The ones below are on the floor where toys and children's clothing is, hence the low sinks and photos of school-kids on the doors:

Monday, May 09, 2011

New T-Shirt and New(ish) Camera

Mademoiselle brought me a French ELLE magazine from her Easter holiday in Paris, knowing that I love a) glossy mags, b) freebies and c) all things to do with Japan. I really like this charity t-shirt by Vanessa Bruno and it fits me well, too. I can practise my non-existant French for MY upcoming trip to Paris this weekend!

Here, you also get to see the camera I bought on April 1 already, my trusty Pansonic Lumix DMC-TZ8. As you know, I was rather fond of the 3 CASIOs I previously used and was quite sad that I dropped the most recent one at the Empress's wedding which caused the lens to go a bit funny and eventually made me get this one, which I had been eyeing for quite some time as a worthy replacement.

I'm quite pleased with the results and obviously the picture above (taken indoors without flash as flashes and mirrors are not the best combo for obvious reasons) does not do it justice. Did you notice that I flipped the image in post-production so you can actually read the signature on the t-shirt. Clever, hah?

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

This year, the number of Mother's Day cards I sent is reduced to 2, one for my Mum and one for my paternal grandmother. I wanted to get her card in the post on Wednesday and therefore finished drawing it on Tuesday night, after an after-work drink with M.C., which was an instant knock-out potion, Vapiano's Oliviér Spritz, in case you want to know. We felt dizzy after only one class and I only realised the following day that some of my brain cells must have been seriously affected as I tried hard to erase the first "0" of the "2001" had had written instead of "2011" - duh! Just as well I noticed before sealing the envelope...
The card for my mother whom I met in Graz yesterday was produced under equally unfavourable circumstances. I was at Mademoiselle's on Friday night, where she not only fed me but also washed and dried my down coat in her washer-drier (I don't have a drier and the drycleaner's returned a completely flat coat to me last year, so I invited myself to wash and dry it at her place instead). As the drying took longer than anticipated and I had planned to draw my mother's card, I asked her if she had coloured pencils and paper. At first, she only found felt-tips, but then also unearthed pencils. The paper was the blank half of an English exercise (she's a teacher):

I warned my mother that it was no artistic masterpiece and she graciously did not comment. It's the thought that counts, as they say.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Talking Back

Last Saturday, I was waiting for the U6 at Josefstädter Str. station when I spotted this notice, informing passengers that they must not try to board trains after the "Zurückbleiben, bitte!" announcement. A disgruntled (?) customer, possibly a notorious post-announcement-boarder had left hand-written feedback:

"Ich scheiß auf euch", which translates to "I don't give a shit about you". This certainly does not leave much room for interpretation.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Slovenian Attractions

To conclude my working-off-my-mobile-phone-picture-backlog-roll, I wanted to share the main attraction of the same SPAR in Carinthia. When I spotted it in the passenger seat of my mother's car on the way to Hochrindl back in March, my mouth began to water. Cremeschnitten from Bled are famous. Well, in Slovenia and Carinthia, they are anyway. Yum! 

They were as huge as they were cheap, too:

I had not had Cremeschnitten in ages and in fact they are not something I order in restaurants or bakeries as they are often a disappointment. Slovenian-style kremšnita are something else, though, as are many home-made Austrian ones. It is quite common for Carinthians to make a day-trip to Bled, a beautiful town, by the way with a kremšnita feast being the highlight (and in fact the point) of the excursion. 

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Something for Every Occasion

Here's more from my "mobile phone photo archives". A while ago, I took a picture of an interesting display at a shelf in a rural SPAR, labelled Geschenkedienst (gift service). You could find the most intersting gifts for every occasion. Apart from bottlew of wine and vacuum-sealed ground coffee you could find uselful things such as...let me see...a pile of toilet paper for, hm, a house-warming-party perhaps. Or a tasteful arrangement of disposable nappies for visiting a new mother. And should you decide to gate-crash a funeral and need a last-minute gift for the bereaved, SPAR cates for your needs as well: 

Tuesday, May 03, 2011


Years ago, an Austrian right-wing party coined the much-quoted and parodied phrase "Wien darf nicht Chicago werden" (=Vienna must not become Chicago), alluding to the notoriously high crime-rate (back in Al Capone's time, but never mind). When I spotted the poster below, all I could think was, "Vienna is about to become Singapore":
A € 36 fine for discarded cigarette butts? Wow. I'm curious to see the execution of this law in a country that has the most half-baked non-smoking solution in bars and restaurants.  

Monday, May 02, 2011


I don't know if this is an exclusively Viennese, or Austrian, phenomenon, but it definitely would be unthinkable in Japan, were restaurants specialise on one type of food/preparation mode only. In Vienna, however, you often find restaurants offering a bit of everything. Fast-food places are the worst, as the above picture illustrates. Tangent: do you find the name "Slaughterhouse Snacks" just as appealing as I do?. This establishment "specialises" in: kebab, noodles, schnitzel and fish. But, hey, what happened to pizza? And burgers?

I like to call these types of restaurants Kebabburgerschnitzelfish.
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