Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Art Haul...

As I've mentioned in the previous post, one of my "birthday acquisitions" was a piece of art. It is actually bag-shaped and definitely not an impulse buy. I saw an exhibition of this artist (who is from Carinthia originally, but lives in Vienna), Dietmar Franz, in KLU two summers ago and sort of bookmarked him for a purchase as I loved the shape as well as the Viennese motifs, such as the one I ended up getting of the Haus des Meeres.
The bag is cut out of wood and the drawing is a print (silk-screen), not an actual drawing, as the originals of the bag-series were considerably more expensive.

The artist is no longer in his "bag phase" and has moved on to a "plate phase", i.e. now uses round discs of wood as the surface for his drawings. In addition to the "sponsored" artwork, I bought a small original and actually had it custom-drawn for me as it was only displayed in his studio on a larger, and obviously more expensive disc. It shows a mansion by the Wörther See with water-lily, duck and carp and for some reason really reminds me of illustrations in books I used to read in my adolescence. Looking at it makes me nostalgic, but in a good way. It is painted with graphite, in case you were wondering.

I didn't want to use flash, but unfortunately the aritificial light gives it a strange yellow tint.

Retail Therapy Deluxe

I've not shown you some of my recent purchases yet, the first two of which were actually gifts bought with my birthday money.

It's always difficult when you "ask" for money at big gatherings and I actually deliberated about the fact and how to make it sound least mercenary, but then again, let's call a spade a spade. Even though I know my friends all gave good taste, my flat is cluttered enough as it is and I really like the idea of being able to look at something I really like and will treasure for years to come and say "this is what I got from my friends for my 40th birthday".

I actually had planned to buy a "grown-up" watch, but as any of the ones I'd like would cost at least twice the amount of money, I didn't want to just say, "you guys paid for 1/3 watch" and instead decided to get something for more or less exactly the amoung. The something turned out to be three items, all of which I'd had my eyes on for a while. The first one is a Mulberry bag. It would have eaten up more than 2/3s of my war chest, but as it is, I got lucky in the Sale (50% off). I really lovelovelove this beauty called "Mitzy":
The second crush I had was a lock for my Tiffany's key and I got one in silver and rose gold:
More about the third gift, a piece of art, later. I did buy a cheap(ish) watch, though. It's white and rose gold and therefore will have to wait until later in spring when my LV Neverfull will be take out of its dustbag as well. The only drawback is that the white is of the soft silicone variety and probably will get very dirty very soon.
I've been wearing the new bag almost non-stop and there's actually something in for my Mum, too: my black Mandarina Duck leather bag, which she has always admired, will be transferred to KLU to be used by her.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Weekend Kaleidoscope IV

1.) Outside chilling in February! I had a "bitch&cake" date with MC on Saturday and instinctively knew that the most likely place to actually have dusted their outside furniture would be Palmenhaus. I was right, but unfortunately many other people must have had the same instinct and so we didn't manage to grab a table.
2.) Inside was pretty nice, too, though.
3.) Encounter with polar bears at KARE on Mariahilfer Str.
4.) A little spring purchase at Forever 21: surprisingly made of cotton, not polyester! Quite a steal for €14, too. I love this shade of yellow.
5.) Skiing at Unterberg on Sunday with the PP's Sis. It actually started snowing quite heavily, but the (all natural) snow was devine and we had the slopes almost to ourselves.
6.) Flocki was covered with snow when we returned to the carpark.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Canvas for Dreams

Today I picked up a canvas photo print. I got it for relatively little money, thanks to a coupon off one of those couponing websites you have to register for while I was still in Sydney. Needless to say, I wanted to blow up one of my Australian pictures and after much deliberation chose one I took on my very last Saturday in Sydney, taken on the Harbour Bridge. The view of the Opera House and the ferries passing underneath the bridge towards Manly reminds me of many weekend daytrips, alone and in the company of lovely ladies (my Mum, the Australian and the Mermaid). I'm planning to hang it on the wall in my study/spare bedroom.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


This morning, Vienna was kissed awake by sunlight and all I could think was: wouldn't it be great to be on the slopes of some mountain rather than in a stuffy office, but anyway...
It's what we call Faschingsdienstag today. The day you might know as Mardi Gras or Shrove Tuesday. In Austria, it's almost legally binding (small exaggeration) to eat at least one Faschingskrapfen (donut filled with apricot jam) today and so reception provided us with a big plate of which I have already snatched one. The last time I dressed up was for the office Christmas party in Sydney (Australians are BIG into fancy dress and take any excuse to go costume-shopping I found out) and so my only concession to carneval is a new nail polish that is actually a lot pinker in real life than it appears on the photo. I bought it in my lunch break yesterday. The shade is called My address is "Hollywood", which seems apt.
It applies really well and is one of those "one-coat-wonders", even though I applied two.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Weekend Kaleidoscope III

1.) excursion to IKEA - hadn't been to one in Vienna in absolutely ages.
2.) dessert for the bookclub gathering chez moin on Saturday night: the innocently named "chocolate pots" (recipe by Nigella Lawson) that ought to be called "manslaughter by chocolate" in analogy to the famous death by chocolate cake...Rich? You bet!
3.) two Mozarts on ice at Eislaufverein on Saturday morning. Carnival is not big in Vienna at all so people who actually dress up definitely will be noticed.
4.) Post-ice-skating treat at Café Museum where I hadn't been since they had last refurbished it. I hardly ever order apple strudel in a coffee house, but theirs was really good. No, I did not remotely finish that big heap of whipped cream, in case you were wondering.
5.) Souvenirs from Cyprus from where my Mum returned this afternoon.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Motto for the Weekend?

Today, I received a little parcel from the Empress, containing a book she purchased on her recent visit to Vienna. I mentioned that I've had this on my Amazon wishlist for quite some time and so she sent it to me - nice!

I'll let you know if it makes me a convert. Then again, I suppose you'll find out for yourself if the global economy takes a dip for the worse as an immediate result...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Once Upon a Time in Blogland

I have been blogging since the autumn of 2005, which I guess almost makes me a bit of a veteran. It's actually somewhat surprising that the whole genre has not entirely died even though the quiet dissapearance of many once popular blogs could make you believe that. 

It could be that I just wasn't aware of them back then, but I don't think that many make-up and shopping blogs were around in the first half of the last decade. What with my daily "purchase of the day" mention I definitely would have been just as interested in other people's hauls as I am now.

As it was, I got my daily dose of blogs from the blogs you see in the picture above. Every single one was written by expatriates. There was also another one by a German journalist couple who lived in Yemen, but I can't remember the URL. As I have mentioned before, it was Novala who got me into blogging and hers is a blog I still regularly check even if it is hardly updated. Hers is actually one of two blogs of the above which are still alive. The other one is la Coquette's, but there's not much activity going on there, either.

Back then I was in my "Slovenian phase" (Novala and I actually met in a Slovenian language class. It is sad, but very true that I have since forgotten the little I learnt.) and therefore three of the blogs had a Slovenian aspect: the (then) fiercely popular Glory of Carniola, written by an American expat in Maribor, the deliciously bitchy blog by a Slovenian girl in Brussels  and the blog by a Slovenian in Japan whose only "drawback" was the fact that it was...erm written in Slovenian, too. Speaking of Japan, I really loved Tokyo Girl's now private blog with its witty observations of life in Tokyo by an English woman married to a German.

My favourite, however, was Petite Anglaise, whose life sometimes seemed to show strange parallels to mine. Her emotional turmoil aside, I could really identify with the fact that she was bored out of her mind by her day job and was looking forward to putting down whatever bugged or excited her in her blog. FCN was a regular reader, too, and we would discuss the latest post like a soap-opera episode. "Petite" has since published two novels (which I have read, but not found that great to be honest) and retired from blogging.

I can't help wondering if the decline in expat blogs is linked to the rise of Facebook. In a way, blogs are no longer the most efficient platform for keeping your friends and family updated with your life and writing a decent blog post definitely takes more time than a status update on a social network and the upload of a few photos.

Another phenomenon I've noticed lately is that for many bloggers the amount of subscribers seems to be the ultimate driver. Personally, I can't relate at all to people writing that without their subscribers "I'd have given up long ago" and find this statement sad. Sure, there is an element of exhibitionism behind writing a public blog rather than scribbling in your little notepad and hiding it in the bottom of your drawer, but I still love blogging even though the number of readers has not really evolved much over the past 6 years and I have not become rich from advertising.

Speaking of dormant blogs, hint, hint!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


As I don't have to say much on the topic of today's Valentine's Day (I do have a date tonight: with Prefab Babe) other than that new boss obviously listened to my pointed remark yesterday that old boss (currently visiting) always got the ladies flowers and potted plants with a heart-shaped decoration duly waited on every desk.

Last night in the news the weather presenter mentioned that this was the coldest winter in Austria since 1958 and went on to talk about some of the crazy things the cold has caused so far.

When I was in Sydney, I could not help notice all the "liquid sunshine". If there was one item I wish I had packed it was a pair of wellies. Oh, and perhaps a rain coat. While my colleagues assured me that it actually rained a lot in Sydney, it gradually transpired that this was not quite what an Australian summer was supposed to look like and the media agreed that it was the coldest summer since 1960.

I'm all poised for the next metereological superlative. I just hope this "coldest-summer-since-1960" trend stays in the Southern Hemisphere.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Variation of a Theme

I've had a really lovely weekend and as usual on Sunday evening wish it would last longer. In fact, I'd love nothing more but being able to find a well-paid job that allows me to reverse the work-days/weekend ration, i.e. work only 2 days and get 5 days off...wishful thinking!

I got some housewifey things ticked off my list, took Flocki for a little spin around the block (the fierce cold hasn't affected him and he started right away) met up with friends, did some exercise in crisp winter air and did what I often do when I want a "productivity kick": baked several trays of cookies. They are a variation of the DCCO cookies I baked some weekends ago and as those were quite a hit with the office peeps, I finetuned the recipe, adding chunks of white, milk and dark chocolate as well as chunks of dried mango for a bit of colour pop. I also substituted half of the oats for the more finely ground type of oatmeal (Hafermark in German, which resulted in an overall "smoother" appearance and added about 1/3 of a teaspon of cardamom in addition to the cinnamon to spice things up, literally:
Let's see what the office jury thinks of them tomorrow.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Hibernating Culture: MQ in Winter

These photos were taken last Sunday, before Vienna was covered by a layer of snow. I like the MQ in any season.

Friday, February 10, 2012

It IS Cold, But...

...a messenger-bag with mink flap might be carrying it a step to far, don't you think?

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Rehearsal Dinner

I have been trying to keep a low profile in view of last year's aborted project, but, yes, I have booked flights and hotels again and recruited the same travel companion for "Project Cherry-Blossom V.2". Departure: April 8.

On Tuesday night, MM, said travel companion, treated me to a dinner at EN, one of the few authentically Japanese eateries in Vienna. As it was (and is) freezing cold, we both settled for gyoza followed by noodle soup rather than sushi. Yum, yum!

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Squeaky Clean Pastries

Random English shop names always crack me up such as "Nero's Bake-Laundry" at Lugner City. My guess: they just did it for the cool (but hardly original) pictograms. Lame.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Random Shopping or the Story of the Lady Who Wanted to Buy a Ring and Came Home with a Floor Lamp

Last night after work, I popped into Tiffany's (more or less next door from the office) to check out their bow ring. It looked gorgeous on the website, but nothing to write home about in real life, or rather nothing I was willing to pay about € 550 for. No addition to my collection of blue boxes, then.
Instead, I ended up braving the snowstorm with a white box that was taller than me: 
You see, I went to Interio in order to buy a second metal line with magnets for my many birthday cards that I like to display in my living room. Speaking of cards: Mr. TD got my postcard from Australia, postmarked October 31 yesterday. Speedy delivery, eh?
Right at the entrance, there was a lamp on sale that I needed to pick up there and then for its cool retro chic. Meet "Dexter":
Isn't he cool?

Sunday, February 05, 2012


Last night, I had my big birthday bash. I'd been looking forward to it for weeks and it lived up to my expectations - the perfect night with my favourite people. They braved the Siberian cold that currently has Vienna in its grip and turned up in their glamorous party gear, laden with gifts. If I had a bigger flat and fewer friends I would have entertained them at home, but as I have less square metres than I would like to in order to comfortably seat all my invitees I booked a really nice venue (tried and tested with work functions) and just added some personal touches. Such as "party favours" in the shape of biscuits...and matching nails:
It was not easy to get what part of the standard repertoire of French patisseries, a macaron tower - yay! It turned out really well and was quite a hit with most guests:
Peeking into the crime scene from outside...
Ironing might not be their big forte, but service was impeccable as usual and I was happy with my choice of venue:
Even though I only got home after 2 a.m. (I was so grateful for the Empress to give me a lift - I would not have managed in a taxi with 4 huge bags filled with presents, flowers and various party paraphernalia), I was so hyper that I unpacked all my gifts and read all my cards, being very touched at all the sweet words. I got so many great and thoughful things on top of a very impressive booty in my joint-pressie-kitty. Frida stitched a portrait of my godchild and me AND together with the Prototype bought an enamel artwork by Slovak artist Martin Melichercik:
I also got the coolest "envelope" and card EVER from Prefab Babe, who is a super-talented knitter. Don't you agree that this would be a bestseller on Etsy or DaWanda?
I will probably buy a piece of jewellery with my cash-gift or use it towards a grown-up watch, but even so, I got many gorgeous items of jewellery:
Mr TD (who also got me the pandora charm pictured above and the beautiful bunch of flowers) found a super-cool USB drive in the shape of a handbag: so me!
I would almost recommend turning 40 just for the sake of experiencing such an amazing weekend!

Friday, February 03, 2012

Cold vs. Cool

image from wetter.orf.at

Temperatures in Austria are rather...fresh at the moment. I'm not complaining, however, as I a) like the winter (just like the other 3 seasons) and b) I totally agree to the statement that there is no such thing like bad weather, just unsuitable clothes.

These days I am wrapped up in my UGG boots, down coat, woollen beret, cashmere scarf and gloves and so the only parts of me that feel cold are the tip of my nose and my cheeks.

Perhaps on the occasion of my recent geriatric birthday I thought back to my teenage self that survived the harsh Austrian winter without boots (so uncool in the 1980s!), never wore a hat and preferred to leave her winter jacket or wool coat open. Buttoned up or zipped up garments were even uncooler than boots. I vividly remember only zipping up my denim jacket with faux sheepskin lining when I turned into our street and could expect my Mum looking from the kitchen window and shaking her head at the sight of her only child "half naked" in the winter frost. Cashmere jumpers or scarves were only worn by old grannies and too expensive for mere mortals anyway back then so I wore what was en vogue: baggy jeans and sweatshirts that would be considered XXL today.

I did not wear boots until this millennium and down coats were not mainstream fashion until about 6 years ago. I literally shudder in retrospect...

Thursday, February 02, 2012


I'm celebrating my 40th birthday with friends this Saturday. In the unlikely event that one or two among them haven't sorted out my glamorous present(s) at this stage - I saw these two fellows in a shop window at Reumannplatz in Vienna's 10th district last night:
How on earth did I (and my toilet) survive without one of these in the past 40 years, I wonder??? Penguins and tigers were also on offer...

Wednesday, February 01, 2012


As I've mentioned, the Empress is currently in town. With her, her sexy new(ish) LV "Speedy" with shoulder straps. Drool! I used to always think that the monogram print is not for me and too "Russian nouveau riche", but I love this style and have tried it on for size:
The only question that remains now is how to successfully distract the Empress in order to snatch this baby away from her...
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