Thursday, May 31, 2012

An Emergency Purchase and a Swim Date without...Swimming

Last night I was on my way to meet the Mermaid at Stephansplatz subway station at 7 p.m. when she called me, confessing she had just realised that she totally forgot to take her swim kit to the office. Well, I couldn't really blame her as I also tend to get quite confused and disoriented when the week begins with a holiday. I turned on my heels and deposited my stuff at the office, before returning to our meeting point to execute Plan B, some window-shopping, followed by a (hot)drink.

When I had left the house in the morning, it was nice and warm and the sun was shining, but by early afternoon, temperatures had cooled down and there were short bursts of heavy rain as well. To cut a long story short - I was cold in my rather low cut silk-top and cardigan and regretted not having packed a scarf. Shops are not open late on Wednesday nights and so I jumped into H&M, just as they were announcing that customers should proceed to the cash-desk asap. I grabbed a huge square scarf for € 7.90 or something and threw it on after having paid for it: evening saved! 

It complimented my yellow-themed outfit quite nicely.

silk top: Boden
striped cotton cardigan: F21
watch: Swatch
scarf: H&M
wrap bracelet: made by me
camera: Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ8 :-)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Weekend Kaleidoscope VII

1. The lovers' locks trend has reached Salzburg. Ferris wheels were yesterday...
2. View from fortress Hohensalzburg
3. Pretty flowers at Mirabell Garden
4. Possibly the biggest Mozartkugel (by artist Stephan Balkenhol)
5. The Gazelle beading on the train
6. Delicious salad in Munich
7. Admission armband of the "Frauen" exhibition at Pinakothek der Moderne
8. Part of the cool ceramic stripes exterior of the Museum Brandhorst

Friday, May 25, 2012

Bright Delight(s)

Knew it. Being back on the beading scene is addictive and inevitably leads to a visit to 4xBo, my beading supplies dealer of choice. Well, that didn't take long and as the Gazelle was so impressed by my first wrap bracelet (see yesterday's post) we did another bit of partner shopping and she bought beads and leather string as well, hoping that I'll let her in to the rocket science. 

As she needed to pick up something from BIPA and they had 20% off Essie nail polishes we *had* to buy one each. Mine is called "peach daiquiri" and is more of a neon pink, rather than orange as the photo has you believe:
I also got a delivery from J.Crew yesterday (I blame the Pampered Princess, who told me about their "free shipping, duty free and free returns" offer), containing a navy cardigan (super soft) and a linen top, which again is not carrot orange at all, but has a more pinkish tone, actually very similar to the nail polish:
I'm off to Salzburg and Munich for the long weekend. More about that at some stage next week.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

DIY Project: Beaded Wrap Bracelet

Back in the old Coma HQ days, I was quite the beading afficionado and would go on a "bead haul" way too often in my lunch break. My projects stagnated with the change of jobs (yes, for those of you who didn't know, my colleagues and I actually made jewellery AT work, blatantly at our desks) an the fact that I had already given necklaces and bracelets to all my friends and female relatives.

In Sydney, I bought (I actually ordered it from here) a white wrap bracelet which I love and which immediately made me think that I should try this myself. With the advent of winter, it didn't see daylight for a while and I forgot all about it. Well, now summer is approaching in the Northern Hemisphere and I keep seeing similar bracelets.

Tadaaaah, I recently made one myself and it's super-easy. It doesn't look too bad for my first piece, either:
I did not want to buy any new material and therefore made do with what I had at home. Basically all you need is a thin leather band, beads, a button and needle and thread.
I used crystal beads and moonstone (? don't know what the exact term for this type of stone is in English) and a mother-of-pearl button for the closure:
There are plenty of tutorials on YouTube, such as this one by EleventhGorgeous:

I did not use superglue, nor a flexible needle (just a plain old regular one) as advised, by the way. Nor had I heard of Chan Luu until seeing the name come up in the tutorials.

Good luck trying! I certainly will go rummaging for more leftover strands of leather bands in my beading stash soon.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Partner Shopping

In recent months, the Gazelle has become my lunchbreak partner in crime. She's not adverse to the odd bit of retail therapy herself and yesterday our mission was to go into the Högl store on Graben. To be honest, I had always associated this brand with boooring "granny-style" footwear and ruled it out categorically. They have, however, successfully relaunched the brand and as I repeatedly made a mental note to check out the collection. Well, what can I say - after (very) briefly debating whether it was worthwhile to wait for the summer sale in a few weeks time, we walked out with one pair each. I could literally have bought half the shop and intend to indeed return when the sale is on, possibly to buy a pair of high (!) heels (!!) as they were so unbelievably comfortable.

For now, we've stayed true to our love for flats and I bought what I had had my eyes on for quite some time this season: woven leather ballerinas:
They also had them in pink with an orange bow and other more "statement" colours, but I love the dainty off-white and tan combination:
The Gazelle got a pair of nude patent leather loafers/flats that the picture doesn't do justice to. I wouldn't have minded them myself, but they pinched my right foot.
I have a suspicion we will be returning customers...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Weekend Kaleidoscope VI

1. Bobby's Foodstore is decorated with royal paraphernalia in honour of QEII's diamond jubilee
2. Giving my - somewhat worse for wear - Jimmy Choo sandals an airing on Saturday
3. Breakfast at Meierei, a birthday voucher redeemed
4. Chilling at Döblinger Bad
5. I make a mean Mojito

Bonus photo included as a PS as it doesn't really fit with the others size-wise: robot made out of PET bottles aka "Terminator" as seen on Kärntner Str. on Saturday:

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Kawaiiiii Curtain

I did not only buy several random fabrics in Japan, but also a kind of textile banner depicting two cats walking down a an avenue of sakura trees in bloom. In my cherry-blossom-craze I found it very cute and wanted to have it but knew I probably wouldn't use it the way it was displayed in the shop window, suspended between two wooden "weights" which I wouldn't be able to find readymade in Austria anyway. Instead, I decided to incorporate it into a curtain for my kitchen window:
Granted, it's more than just a little kitschy, but looking at it makes me happy as it reminds me of my recent vacation and all the kawaii things I saw in Japan.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Not That I Need Any Justification...

On Wednesday night, I got a text message from S1 asking me if I could possibly lend her a black bag or clutch for Friday night when she'll attend the grand finale of Dancing Stars. I sure could! The bag above was purchased for the Empress's wedding and hasn't been worn since anyway so it feels good to know someone else will give it an airing. Subtext: I'm working on extending my bag collection for entirely altruistic motives, you see?

I've loaned my clutches and evening bags to friends for weddings and balls in the past as I neither get invited to black tie events nor tend to reach for small bags anyway. My Mum was shocked when she picked up my bag recently, asking what on earth I carried with me. Well, you know...the usual. Hm, I think an updated "What's in my bag" post might be in order.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Only Thing Missing Is the Bikini WEATHER...

I have a confession to make. I own more bikinis than some people own underwear. When I bought my cool fuchsia Seafolly bikini in Sydney last year, I had no plans of further adding to my collection in the near future. Until...Brands4Friends had a Wolford-sale with swimwear reduced up to 70%. C'mon - it would have been rude not to. I ended up getting a pick-and-mix 3-piece-set in vibrant frog green, consisting of shorts (which look ginormous on the pictures, I just realised), an underwired top for enough support when swimming and a flimsier triangle top for sunbathing. It all fits perfectly, and best of all cost less than €39, altogether.
The fabric has a subtle logo-print, which is not too Markenschwein (which translates to "brand swine/pig" and is quite self-explanatory) in my opinion.
Well, if the weather gods have mercy on me this weekend there's a chance you might bump into me wearing this combo. (I'm the one with the deathly pallor and the cellulite bumps.)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Daily Poetry

I've told you that I am subscribed to literally dozens of newsletters. The only way to de-swamp my Inbox is to devise a clever filter-system. The drawback of this is that I have a) taken to regard any type of newsletter as spam and thus fail to read Frida's newsletters with due attention, thereby missing dates and announcements a good friend should acknowledge and b) that I also often miss bargains or competitions that are actually worth taking advantage of.

In idle moments, I like to click on my "shopping" label and have a chuckle at Groupon's subject lines and the content of their newsletter. Here are 3 recent ones that I find thematically grouped to an uncanny degree. Take this one, offering a colonic irrigation treatment, cupcakes and a fatblocker...
click to enlarge
Or this newsletter with a "wooden" theme, offering reductions of patio furnitore made of eucalyptus wood and - get this - handcrafted vibrators made of Odenwald spruce. Hard to decide which is more tempting.
click to enlarge
I also like the recurring offer to buy a doctorate. Alternatively, you could choose to invest in a lash-growth serum to work your way up the career-ladder by blinking seductively.
click to enlarge

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Pepe Mystery

Like most women, I own way too many pairs of jeans and am always on the quest for that perfect pair. Well, fit-wise, I've found a brand I really like and that complements my body-shape: Pepe Jeans. However, today the same thing happened to my latest addition to the Pepe collection (I own 4 of their jeans) - the denim tore just above the knees. This is really annoying and has never happened to me with any other brands, cheap or expensive. In fact, my Pepe jeans are the most expensive ones I own. The tear that also defaced the previous 2 pairs of Pepes I purchased, looks like this when it is "fresh":
On the plane back from Hamburg I noticed the telltale signs of an impending tear at the material, but hoped I was wrong. This model was not a skinny-fit pair as the previous 2 it happened to so I can't have stretched it in any way. Well, on Monday morning, the bugger tore. What I think is the cause of giving the denim its old-bedspread-texture is that it was treated with aggressive chemicals to achieve the artfully "destroyed" look. Yep, destruction sure happens and I am not a big fan of jeans with slits and holes beyond the age of 22, I have to say. Neither does it look cool when you try to mend it, so here goes another pair, really...

I'm aware of the fact that I can't sit still and lady-like at my desk and occasionally like to sit on my knees, but, hey, what if not jeans to let you sit in a comfortable fashion?

So. If anyone fancies (3 pairs of) "personally destroyed" jeans, let me know...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Neat Meat Boutique

And you thought it was perverted to present coffee (yes, I'm talking about you Nespresso) in a jewellery-store-like set-up? Hah! This Hamburg butcher clearly puts George's friends to shame. Clever marketing or what?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Hamburg Light(s)

Even though I was there for business, I enjoyed my 5 days in Hamburg. It's my favourite German city, mainly because of its architecture and Anglosaxon atmosphere. Admittedly, the weather is rather British as well and often a good 10° colder than in Vienna, but there's other things to make up for it. Such as beautiful sunsets, for example:
I had my very own sunset in my hotel room (the Sofitel Alter Wall, if you're interested) where there was one ceiling spot throwing pink and yellow light unto your bedspread. Hmmm. Not so sure...
The huge flatscreen TV was also framed by an "ambient light" thingie.

If you want to know the truth - and should you know anyone in the hospitality business, please pass it on to them - I don't care about fancy lights and grainy artsy photos (even though I much prefer them to boring reproductions of lesser known "old masters", but really, really, appreciate what is standard in any class of hotel outside mainland Europe: a kettle and mugs! How I enjoyed my nightly cup of  tea/infusion (I always take some of my favourite Lemon & Ginger teabags with me when travelling) in Japan. It's also great to be able to make a cup of tea or coffee in your room when you need to depart before breakfast time or just feel like some additional caffeine shot.

I have to say, though, that I really appreciated Sofitel's generous supply of travel-size L'Occitane lotions and potions and the fact that it was replenished every day...

Friday, May 11, 2012

Hamburg is Dangerous...

Thursday, May 10, 2012


I'm in Hamburg this week for an internal functional event and meetings to do with my new job (more about that some other time - same employer, different responsibilites). At the Firm, such events usually include teambuilding activities of some sort, mostly of the sporty one. When we were told in the briefing that we should pack clothes that could get wet, most participants correctly guessed that we would go canoeing. And we did:
Luckily, the weather on Tuesday afternoon was much sunnier and drier than the days before and after and so all I had to worry about was the fact that I am NOT sporty in the least and my only rowing experience some 25 years ago was pretty disastrous and had us go in circles under the exasperated watch of the boat rental guy. Well, this time, it was not quite as bad, but I was rather tense for the first half hour when I shared the boat with an equally inexperienced girl. Two Polish colleagues took mercy and split up to swap partners with us. Much better! Even though I felt much more confident and less likely to fall into the river Elbe with A. sitting behind me, the fact that we rowed for almost 2 hours was rather too much expercise in one day for me.
We were all starving by the end and happy when we reached the fancy restaurant where we had dinner. Surprisingly, my muscles were hardly sore the day after and I was almost tempted to become a professional canoer. Not.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012


In case you're wondering and your katakana skills are as rusty as mine, the title of this post translates to "shoppingu". I thought I'd show you a tiny fraction of my purchases from Japan. Let's begin with a picture of yours truly on the hunt at Tokyo's best-known shopping area, Ginza:
The bag I'm holding is by Shiseido. More about that later...

Same as last time, every single place we visited had shopportunities galore and I was very grateful that Austrian Airlines had recently changed their baggage restrictions for flights to and from Japan and now allow 2 checked-in baggages of up to 23 kgs each: yay! Guess who took full advantage of that and brought an extra bag with her for the return journey.

What I love about Japan are the little typically Japanese things - you can live without them (as you have done so far) but once you see them you know you need to have them...such as the "bottle bags" that have become very popular and can be of a variety of materials. I got one made of what they call "gauze". So kawaii and so, erm, utterly neccessary:
Japanese cosmetics hold a special fascination for me and on my first trip Chiquita and I would spend hours in drugstores, marvelling at the endless variety of nailpolish and other make-up items, many of them unheard of in Europe. I really restrained myself this time and only got two things I had planned to buy, both by sub-brands of Shiseido: an eyebrow kit by Integrate that I had bought last time and wanted a backup of and a "gel coat" type of top coat that I didn't buy last time and really regretted. I also got some small travel-sized stuff such as nail polish remover wipes:
In Sydney I loved to look at the Japanese magazines with really nice goodies at Kinokunya Books and made a mental note to buy at least one of them in Japan, where they would be considerably cheaper. Well, I bought two magazines with very nice little tote bags, one by Cath Kidston and one with a Snoopy cartoon print, both of which I got with somebody in mind. The respective magazines I also brought back home to give to Japanese friends. I'm keeping both this magazine and its freebie, a little sewing kit, for myself:
When MM and I visited Ginza I did not leave with just the tiny paper bag pictured above. It contained a pink tote bag (Japanese ladies all walk around with those tiny bags) to commemorate Shiseido's 140th anniversary. Shiseido has a totally different image in Japan and possibly other Asian countries than it does abroad. Basically, it's what Beiersdorf (maker of NIVEA) is to Germans and Austrians plus they also sell other products under the Shiseido brand, such as cakes and confectionery (!) right next door to their cosmetics store at Ginza. The pink bag is at the back of the picture below. The rest of what you can see in the photo is the outcome of my little spree at Uniqlo's Ginza flagship store (12 floors if I remember correctly). I love this brand: good quality at a reasonable price. I bought a supersuper-lightweight rain jacket - really, it's the lightest piece of garment I've ever had in my hand - a long striped shirt, an Orla Kiely limited edition scarf (present for Amica) and two linen blouses. I got a white linen blouse from their Paris branch last year and was really pleased by the excellent quality. When I saw that they had a special "Ginza offer" (1.900 instead of 3.900 Yen apiece) I grabbed two of them. If I had not arranged to meet MM in front of Mitsukoshi department store I could have easily spent another hour at Uniqlo Ginza. Maybe it was just as well that we split up for less than 30 minutes and I didn't even have time to queue for the changing rooms:
As I have said, this is only a small part of my "Japanese Haul". In case you are wondering if it is difficult for European women to find clothes to fit in Japan: I'm 170 cm tall and wear a German size 36. With the exception of the jacket which I got in size Large I always go for Medium in Japan and this seems to fit me well. Japanese changing rooms, however, are a pain as you are requested to take off your shoes outside. This means that even if you only want to try on, say, a blouse you need to take off your shoes. In my case, I often wear comfortable trainers with laces when travelling that take some time getting in and out of. I have never bought any shoes but my shoe-size (European 38) is not too freakishly large for Japan and I know that I could find footwear, too.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Vintage Fashion - Marimekko and Lace

I was in KLU for the weekend to pick up Flocki whom I had left with my parents before Easter and of course to visit them and deliver my souvenirs from Japan. Well, as usual I did not return empty-handed either and not did I get a new dress that Mum had sewn me, but she also altered an old one that my granny had made for me some years ago plus conjured up two more things that I really like. 

The first one is a skirt she made out of an impossibly tight - she was very slim in her youth - dress the short sleeves of which my sumo-wrestler arms would instantly have ripped apart. The (cotton) fabric is by Marimekko and was actually purchased in Finland which my parents visited when they were still at university. I love the pattern:
The second one was a surprise. When we were in Milan together she noticed me picking up several silk blouses with lace collars at Massimo Dutti and got the idea to combine a piece of lace made by a great-aunt with a floaty sleeveless blouse she sewed. I think the finished piece is really cool:
Even though I benefit from my Mum's creativity I also feel guilty that my own sewing machine is gathering dust and it will probably be a while (read: decade) until I create something out of the beautiful fabrics I bought in Japan. You want to see them? Well, here they are:
Cotton and silk (vintage kimono patches) swatches plus indigo fabric stickers.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

More Pictures of Cherry Blossoms Than You Ever Wanted to See

So. Cherry Blossoms. I've told you that the underlying "purpose" of my recent trip to Japan was to get to experience cherry blossom season at its best. We were very lucky indeed and managed to be there at exactly the right time in every place we visited expept for the northermost one. I wasn't entirely sure whether plucking a blossom or three warranted the death penalty, but I braved it anyway and took a little sprig home as a souvenir:
Here is a selection of the dozens, if not hundreds, of cherry-blossom-pictures I took:
schoolgirl taking a close look (Shinagawa, Tokyo)
little girl in cherry-blossom pink running along a sakura-lined avenue in Odawara
couple enjoying a picnic in Himeji
sakura dekorations on the more modern vending machines
faux sakura blossoms in the hair of the train-cleaning team
sakura blossoms on ceremonial sake cask (Meiji Shrine, Tokyo)
sakura in the rain 1 (Nagoya Castle grounds)
sakura in the rain 2 (same place)
many of the sakura trees we saw were more white than pink
MM preferred the willow-style variety
my favourites were the fluffy ones that look like snowballs
these were the blossoms that greeted us near our hotel upon arrival in Tokyo
no such luck in Kakunodate in the North of the island of Honshu, where the snow had not even melted in the village
sometimes, there were dark, plum-coloured, sakura blossoms as well (Asakusa, Tokyo)
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