Monday, October 29, 2012

Sometimes, Though, I Show Restraint

Although yesterday's post might have led you to believe the very opposite, sometimes I do show a little restraint and actually enjoy what I call "shopping by proxy", i.e. get a kick when my friends buy something beautiful that I would have liked as well. Last Sunday, the Gazelle and I went to the Blickfang Art and Design Fair in Vienna and I (who else) spotted a gorgeous orange and gold clutch. My instincts said "Hunt!" "Snatch!" "Grab!" all together, but then I reminded myself of a certain LV purchase not too long ago in Paris and dragged the Gazelle to the stall. Luckily, she totally agreed with me and the clutch was an orphan no longer. Isn't she a beauty? The label is called Tankai.
With flash. Don't you love the heart-shaped details? Cute without being cutesy.
Without flash and just as attractive.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Define "Problem"

Ok, so I might have a little nailpolish-hoarding-problem. Possibly. I mean, it all depends on your standards. I've actually started following several nailpolish blogs (it's a parallel universe, trust me) and compared to their collection mine is meagre. Still, I've gotten into the habit of returning from every business trip with a handful of bottles of nailpolish. And as we know I've been on quite a few business trips lately. Here's the latest exploits from Warsaw, courtesy of Sephora and Inglot. The second photo shows two online orders, so I suppose I cannot blame it on trips abroad alone...
Speaking of "problems"...even though I am a self-confessed handbag addict and don't think I have a shoe-fetish at all, I have to admit that my shoe "collection" is approaching the 3-digit range. My latest two purchases were made in Klagenfurt, so I guess fall into the "trip" category as well. They are from a brand called Waldviertler, which is famous for a certain type of shoes that I find extremely ugly, especially when worn by men. On my last trip to KLU by train, the on-board-magazine had a brochure from GEA/Waldviertler attached to it and when I leaved through it, I really liked their boots and sought out the shop there. They also come in black, but I liked the ruby red better:
Yesterday I finally completed my mission for ankle-boots with an elastic on the side. I did find some with an elastic in contrasting colours, but they didn't have any in my size that matched any of my coats or winter jackets, so I decided to go for this dove-grey pair which I really like and which -thanks to the suede - is very comfortable: 
I'm flying to Hamburg tomorrow and am determined (sort of) not to even look at nailpolishes.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Ze Funny Polish...

So what do you think this is? Something to eat, right? Well, when a girl in the mall offered it to me on a tray she held at chin-level (mine), I thanked her and popped it into my mouth. "Don't eat it, it's soap", she shouted, clearly enjoying herself. I spit it out and she immediately reached for the bag of chewing gum she had nearby. "People do it all the time, so I have gum". Erm...right. Maybe if you explained what it was before they pop it into their mouth, they would not do it all the time. In any case, I got rid of the soapy taste and my colleague who had not been quite as greedy at me had something to laugh about.

Second bizarre anecdote on the same day: dinner with same colleague and another one, who lives in Warsaw. He recommended her what beer to pick from the menu as it was his favourite brand and when it was his turn to order he said he wanted that same beer. Waitress: "There is a problem. It is not a beer." We: "? It is not a beer?" It turned out, they were not serving alcohol that night/week/whatever. The colleague then said he'd take a milkshake instead (odd substitute for beer, but never mind) and asked if he could have a chocolate milkshake. Waitress: "Sorry, there is a problem. We do not have chocolate." He ended up taking up a strawberry milkshake and interstingly enough the other colleague's cheesecake with hot chocolate sauce came with that chocolate component. We were beginning to wonder if it was some kind of bizarre religious holiday or they didn't serve beer and chocolate milkshakes on Tuesdays, but then went to another place for drinks and they did serve beer and mojitos for sure...

Monday, October 22, 2012

Paris (and Japan) Haul

So here is the promised Paris haul. Pretty ribbons for bracelets from La Droguerie was the only thing I actually "needed". Sorry for the somewhat weird photo taken through the transparent plastic bag:
Our first stop was at Uniqlo, one of my favourite shops ever. The Paris branch is pretty cool and they seem to have a specifically French collection there. Last year, I got a white shirt made of French linen (excellent quality) and this year they had a Comptoir des Cotonniers cooperation going on. They had lovely cashmere jumpers, cardigans and dresses, but personally, I find cashmere too warm for most workplaces and it's not really worth the investment for weekends only. I do have some cashmere jumpers, but don't really need more. In fact, the material I love particularly is merino wool and as I'm in my "electric blue phase" I got a jumper in this colour. In real life (picture below taken with flash) it's darker and with more of a purple undertone:
The coolest Uniqlo purchase is hidden in the purple "sausage" on the right of the photo below, but wait a bit. I got a "Heattech" long-sleeved shirt in grey as I already own one of the Heattech line and like the feel of it. What is hidden in the sausage roll is actually a superduper-lightweight down coat or rather jacket-that-covers-your-bum!
This is the down jacket unpacked and modelled by me. Not the most flattering angle, but you get the idea and the colour comes out better in the photo below, which was taken without flash:
I actually did "need" something else. I was looking for slipper-style shoes and found them on the shoe-floor of Printemps. They are by the brand André and I always compulsively need to pronounce it the Viennese way ("Ondreeeeh") as in André Heller. As you can clearly see they are black and have a tassel. What you can not see ist that they are just as comfortable as actual slippers. Love them:

When I returned to my flat late on Sunday night, I found a heap of goodies left behind by my Mum who came back from Japan on Saturday and spent the night in my flat. I love everything she got me, including a gorgeous vintage kimono (underneath the magazine and wasabi rice-crackers). I need to find an obi for it now!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Shopping "Contraceptive" a.k.a. Woman Day

Yesterday was "Woman Day", the annual shopping event organised by Woman magazine. Basically, you typically get 20% off everything at participating stores and shops are incredibly busy that day with, as the name suggests, women with determined expressions, sometimes with bored-looking men/walking credit cards in tow. During our lunch-hour MC and I ventured to Mariahilfer Str. as both of us were on the market for shoes. I was interested in checking out ALDO (new in town), but rather disgusted by their cheap-looking autumn/winter collection. MC eventually got lucky in Salamander, but I didn't find anything I remotely liked. What I was after was quite specific anyway: ankle-high boots with an elastic on the side in a contrasting colour. I feel I have seen them somewhere but can't remember where.

After work, those vouchers I printed out (not that you don't actually need to show them) were burning a hole in my pocket and I was itching to fritter my hard-earned money on something. I decided to go to the fancy Douglas branch on Kärntner Str. where they carry Bobbi Brown, Jo Malone and the likes. My plan was to get some Jo Malone candles and when I had finally found a scent I actually liked and wanted to pay for it, I thought I was seeing a mirage: several lines of people queuing at the cash desk about half the lenght of the store each. And it's a biiig store. 20% off on something I did not need was not incentive enough to queue for at least 15 minutes.

So - thanks Woman Day for actually make me NOT spend any money thanks to those queues.

P.S. I saved the money-spending for today when I popped into LV to buy the "unofficial" strap for my Yayoi Kusama Speedy. Unofficial in the sense that it does not come with a strap (obviously), but the nice lady at Printemps showed me how to attach it diagonally. I could have got it there and then, but it would have exceeded a certain sum that I considered obscene for a bag and so made the *rational* decision to buy it separately. As you do. I didn't want to wait too long as the leather finish (and strap) is untreated and darkens quite easily and I wanted both to "age" together in dignity. Here's the Speedy with its new leash...erm...strap:

Thursday, October 18, 2012

This Sums It Up, Really...

This photo is very representative of the weather in Paris all weekend. Perfect excuse to seek refuge to department stores and museums. I still need to take photos of some purchases so the promised post of my retail-haul will follow.

Culture-wise, we went to Musée d'Orsay (an excercise in patience and endurance both to get into the museum and to warm up in the café...) to see the really good Impressionism and Fashion exhibition. On Sunday, we decided we had enough of queuing in the rain and went to less mainstream museums, such as the Musée de la Vie Romantique and the Musée de l'Armée, which was actually very good with really beautifully decorated armour and an interesting display of the World Wars from the French perspective.

Home of the Musée de la Vie Romantique:
A gilded marble Napoleon watching over his granite tomb:
We were not spared queues on Sunday, either as we went to Ladurée for lunch (sort of) and we had plenty of time to peruse the Lanvin "collection" in the window until we were admitted into the holiest of holies and could devour our truly orgasmic desserts.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Potentially "Life-Changing"

This morning, a parcel from South Korea arrived. It was my order from Amelia aka Ugly Duckling, one of my favourite blogs. She is an ardent lover of glitter nailpolish and discovered a brilliant peel-off base coat. Now this might seem less than breaking news to the majority of you, but whoever has ever tried to get off glitter nailpolish knows why she described it as "life-changing". I also ordered a lovely pink glitter to channel my inner 14-year-old and am now really curious to try it out:
Will keep you posted.

Pictures of foggy and rainy Paris as well as my other purchases there coming up.

Monday, October 15, 2012

It Was Inevitable

I can't remember taking so few pictures on any trip abroad, even if it was only over a weekend, than I did last weekend in Paris. Why? Well, the weather was awful (cold and rainy all weekend) and this makes for less interesting motifs. If this had been my first visit, I would have been very disappointed, but as it was, the main purpose of this trip was to visit the Empress, who of course is a ray of sunshine in any weather (she'd shout Schleimbeutel! now). On the flight back last night, a man in the row next to me remarked to his wife (he was looking at European weather in an Austrian newspaper) that Paris was the coldest capital, even colder than Moscow this past weekend. Great.

Weather aside, my Paris weekend was lovely and it was seriously SO good to spend quality time with the Empress and Emperor. The latter humoured me by speaking in a thick French accent all weekend. Yep, I'm easy to entertain, me...

I blame the Empress who dragged me into Printemps, fully knowing that they had built up a mini treasure trove with the Yayoi Kusama LE stuff that she knew I was very partial to. What can I say...10 minutes after setting foot in there (possibly less) a significant amount of €€€ was deducted from my credit card and I was the proud owner of this beauty in signature Yayoi yellow:
I don't like the classic mongramme pattern for myself - it looks cool on other people, but me, I always feel like a nouveau-riche Russian lady of leisure when posing in front of the mirror. So one thing I love about this print is that it actually covers most of the LV-pattern.

The Empress had the good idea to ask them if they could hotstamp my initials, but I was very dubious they'd do that within a day. They did indeed and so my Speedy is now mongrammed, too. Great service, I have to say. In general, the French service industry is everything BUT quick and I was tempted to throw a hissy fit at the airport where I waited a full 30 minutes just to drop my baggage. So if you want to buy an overpriced piece of luggage or accessory, I fully recommend going to Printemps department store for excellent service.
 Almost eerie window decoration with a life-size wax figure of the artist plus an army of "mini-mes"
I mean, how could I NOT go a little crazy in there?!

I guess, I should take it a bit easy now, having bought a new car, watch and expensive bag all within 30 days, before there are rumours that I've won the lottery or inherited a big chunk of money (I haven't), robbed a bank (neither) or gone a little loopy (well...).

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Change of Plan

As I'm writing this post, I actually *should* be roaming the streets of London, visiting my favourite shops and enjoying a sandwich at Pret. Well, I am in Klagenfurt as I decided to skip the London part of my Two Cities Weekend with the Empress (which makes me a Eurostar-virgin a little longer). 

The reason is that my Dad got ill (my Mum is on vacation in Japan this week) and as I am an only child and no other relatives live nearby I didn't want to leave him on his own until my Mum comes back. I actually drove to KLU on Saturday night and took him to hospital on Monday. He's much better now and so I settled for a compromise and bought a train(!)-ticket to Paris. I'll arrive not much later on Friday night than I would have on the original Eurostar booking and still have a weekend with the Empress as planned. There are no direct flights from Klagenfurt and at short notice all flights are horrendously expensive anyway. After a 20-hours-flight to Sydney in Economy, the idea of spending 12 hours on a train (there is one stopover in Mannheim where I get to stretch my legs) is not that shocking to me, actually.

To be honest, part of me really loves trying to work out a solution for logistic and other problems and I give myself a pat on the shoulder for coming up with a master plan to salvage part of my mini-vacation and not completely neglect my Dad at the same time.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

If it's Good Enough for James Bond...

With ONE of the things I wanted to get done/purchase now that I'm finally "grown-up", i.e. have reached the geriatric age of 40, I have now accomplished the other milestone: buying a grown-up watch that will outlive me. After much deliberation, I settled for an Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra that is also favoured by the likes of Secret Agent 007:
I've practically forced everybody who had the misfortune to cross my path today to agree how gorgeous it is... Not that I need to be convinced. I am already in love with it.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Just in Case You Have Any Vegan Guests Lined up

As you know I love cooking baking and I love entertaining guests. This week has been quite good on both fronts: on Wednesday, I made a really nice (if I say so myself) chanterelle risotto for the Mermaid and myself and this afternoon Bella and her sister came for their belated/early birthday pressies and a mini "tea-party". "Little" cousin has been vegetarian for quite some time now and decided to try out a vegan diet from October onwards. Me, I like a culinary challenge and so I went on the hunt for a vegan cake recipe that doesn't contain too many odd ingredients that I know would go to waste in my kitchen cupboards.
I found this recipe for spiced apple cake which I slightly adapted (by adding cardamom, vanilla and lemon peel and replacing sultanas and raisins with currants. I didn't have wholemeal flour at home and therefore used normal wheat flour. Oh and, of course, I added flaked almonds on top. If there is a "Flaked Almonds Society" out there that needs a testimonial, I'll be first in line). The cake was sursprisingly tasty. I say surprisingly as I'm one of those people who instantly think "bleurgh" when they see "vegan" on the menu. For some reason I tend to equate it with bland and "not the real thing". I would make this again, next time adding more apples as they sort of "disappeared" in the mix and were not really noticeable at all.

Here is a close-up of a slice. I would have used cranberries if I had had any at home.
My verdict: thumbs up for this easy and tasty cake!

Friday, October 05, 2012


My Mum is flying to Japan today and I really envy her. I know that I've already been there twice whereas it's her first visit, but I also know that October is a beautiful time to visit and I fondly remember that first vacation in Japan with my cousin. In other words, I'm a bit jealous and very nostalgic when I think of the beautiful trees in autumn colours:
I've also been thinking about Sydney a lot recently and how magical my 3 months there were. I'm not saying that I felt at home from day one and I do remember the weather having been less than picture-perfect on many of those days, but I loved it a lot and wouldn't mind revisiting soon. Australian spring is a pretty sight just as is Japanese autumn. You do remember my fixation with Jacaranda trees, don't you? This beauty that I used for my 2012 photo calendar I saw in Brisbane:
The past 5 months I've been travelling a lot for work and will continue to do so in this quarter. The advantage of it is that I get to see great places on company money and it always feels like a mini-vacation as well. The disadvantage is that I don't really long for additional quality-time with VIE airport and really value down-time in Vienna or Klagenfurt to balance out all the travelling. For next year I already have several travel projects, some of them to faraway places - let's see how many I manage to realise...

Monday, October 01, 2012

Good(ie) Day!

One trivial, but still very nice advantage of my recent frequent flying is that when I return to the office after a week or so of absence I frequently find that online shopping deliveries have piled up on my desk, which always feels a bit like Christmas come early. Childish, I know...

Today was one of those days. First of all, I finally received the rose gold plated "VIP bracelet" I ordered weeks ago. I had seen a picture in a German magazine and so had half of Germany, apparently, which meant that it was out of stock. I really like the design and had my name engraved in it, too:
 The second delivery was from NARS. I love their stylish packaging/product design:
The September Glossybox also arrived last week and was waiting for me on my desk. It is blue and has an Oktoberfest/Bavarian motto:
I'm quite happy with this month's contents and will get good use out of all of it (apart from the nail foils with Bavarian colours, not pictured). I readily admit that I await these boxes with great suspense every month.

In my lunch-break I met Amica, who had a bag of goodies from various countries for me, including a mini-bag for coins and phone (how did I not have this in my collection until now?!) Kusmi tea and chocolate from La Cure Gourmandie, a store I fondly remember from Nice.

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