Sunday, June 29, 2014

Signature Scent

I love peonies. They are beautiful and the smell is divine and in my opinion much better than that of roses. My long-time signature scent was the now discontinued Stella in 2: Peony by Stella McCartney. I wore it for years and got many compliments for it. I seem to have a thing for perfumes that are on the way out: Automne by Van Cleef &Arpels was another firm favourite of mine. The same applies to male scents: when I first started going out with Mr. TD, he wore Heaven by Chopard, which I found heavenly indeed and would recognise among hundreds of perfumes in a second. My number one male scent favourite, likewise discontinued, that literally makes me go weak at the knees (and I'm not exaggerating) is Eau des 4 Voleurs by L'Occitane.
In a parallel universe, I would work for the perfume or make-up industry and I actually have a very good memory of scents and often surprise people by guessing correctly what scent they are wearing. I don't quite understand women who own a whole army of perfume bottles and rotate them daily as I, personally, love associating scents with certain people, even if I they are not ones that I would ever wear myself.
For years now I have worn Voyage by Hermès. I have gone through a handful of refill bottles that look like this:
I love the fresh scent of this unisex fragrance that also comes in a stronger variation in a dark bottle (that I don't like). Strangely enough a male colleague of mine who sits in the same room at work as me also wears it, but other than that I have never met anybody who also has this. Applying it is an instant mood-lift and even though I started wearing it long before transferring to my travel-intense job-role, the name couldn't fit me any better. I like Hermès scents in general and Terre is firm male fragrance favourite of mine.
What's your signature scent?

Friday, June 27, 2014

Homework or the Shelf of Guilt

I used to read a lot of books. In particular during my student years when I devoured books (majoring in English Literature has to do with it) and the Internet was unknown to me for the greater part of my time at university. Yes, I am indeed THAT old. Later on, at Coma HQ, I was bored at work a lot and openly read books at my desk. It was probably the time in my life when I read most. Nowadays, however, owning a first-generation Kindle, I am ashamed to admit that I read very, very few books. In fact, even my book club has given up on even suggesting a book, resigning ourselves to the fact that it really is a bitch'n binge club. Not that this isn't great fun and we spend more than half a minute regretting our lapse into complete and utter superficiality. I read a lot of magazines and blogs, but have stopped reading on the way to work like I used to, just flicking through my smartphone or people-watching instead. There is this square section in my "Boris" bookshelf that contains unread books and its inventory hasn't moved to another part of the shelf (my books are arranged thematically and by author) in years, I am afraid. In keeping with my recent resolution to spend my spare time offline rather than online, I am planning to slim down this pile over the summer.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Shiny and New

I guess you knew it was only a moment of time until I would post a picture of some bag bought in the sale, right? Well, this time Net-a-porter kindly sent me a newsletter and since it would have been rude not to at least peruse the sale section, I ended up buying a bag. Predictably enough. I wanted to buy a brand that I didn't own yet, but had been interested in for a while and Phillip Lim and Alexander Wang came to mind. I had been mildly interested in the latter's Rocco bag for quite some time, but since I usually have a policy of going for lightweight bags and knew this was a heavy bugger weighing over 2 kgs, I wasn't too convinced. HRK actually owns one and it looked pretty cool on her. In the end, I went for Rocco's smaller brother, Rockie, telling myself that I could still return him if I didn't fancy him. However, unlike with men, I am able to fall in love at first sight with bags and Rockie and I really hit it off. Oh, and being me, I went for a really subtle colour/finish: rose gold. Hell, yeah!

The signature studs that are responsible for the bag's weight are rose gold, too.

What is best, this bag is truly a bottomless pit! On its first outing I carried my normal monster wallet (Kate Spade), bulging make-up bag, camera, 2 books, phone, keys, scarf... It is also ideal for going dancing as it comfortably fits a change of shoes if, like me, you don't last long in heels. The Rockie also comes in more "normal" colours, but I particularly like the fact that in the rose-gold one, the studs don't stick out as much. Net-a-porter nicely upgraded me to their fastest type of DHL delivery and the bag was on my desk 2 days after I had ordered it.
On Friday, the day when Rockie landed, I popped into the Högl store near my office and bought these cool flats that were on sale:
They are super comfortable and even though the gold stripes are normal, "yellow", gold as opposed to rose gold, they go with the Rockie as you can't really tell from afar. They also look pretty cool as going-out shoes paired with my Rebecca Minkoff Mini Mac bag (in the background). I broke them in on Saturday night and can really recommend you get a pair for yourself if you are looking for flats with a twist. They also come in a blue variety.

Monday, June 23, 2014


Berufsjugendlich is perhaps one of my favourite adjectives in colloquial German. In my opinion there is no accurate English translation for it. "Mutton dressed as lamb" is close, but has a(n even) more desperate connotation, whereas berufsjugendlich in my book is someone who has a hard time waving good-bye to their best years even if they might not dress 10-20 years younger than their contemporaries. Sometimes you might see the translation "professional teenager", but I find it applies particularly well to people in their 40s or 50s behaving as if they were still in their late 20s or early 30s. I like the word as it really applies to myself, to the point of me sometimes wondering if there is something ever so slightly wrong with me. I suppose it's a professional hazard when you work at a company where few people are older than 35 and, unlike Coma HQ, where I was the youngest in my department, I often feel like the mummy or granny in age. Now that my favourite girls (the Empress, the Gazelle and M.C., all younger than me, needless to say) have deserted me, I hang out mostly with "the kids" from Marketing, who are in their mid-20s. The rest of the gang is in their early 30s and even if it may be perceived as a bit weird for the other party that I seek their company, I feel very comfortable with people considerably younger than me. My favourite cousin Chiquita, partner in crime for travelling, going out and lazy Saturday afternoons, is 10 years younger than me and way more mature than me in many ways. Maybe I would act and feel differently if I was married and had children, but as long as I find YouTube vlogs and blogs by kids barely out of high school more interesting than most "age-appropriate" entertainment I don't see light at the end of the that particular tunnel and that's o.k. Mind you, I DO know where the line is, dress-wise, and wouldn't touch things like super-short skirts or midriff-baring tops with a barge-pole and don't jump on every trend-bandwagon. It's just that I am interested in many trends that seem to evade my more "settled" friends. When at work I don't feel particularly tech-savvy or geeky at all, but compared to most of my non-work friends I do and I often feel like an alien who speaks a different language.
The rude awakening that self-image and how I am perceived by the outer world inevitably comes when I am addressed with a formal "Sie" by strangers of the same age group. I sometimes have visions of me slouching around in chucks, Starbucks Matcha Latte in one hand and and the latest It-bag in the other when I'm 90 and live in a nursing home. Here's to being a funky granny...who still blogs!

Saturday, June 21, 2014


There are (many) moments when I moan about my job (even if it is admittedly one that many people would kill for), but there are quite a few moments when I truly love the Firm. This November sees our big annual conference with several thousands of attendees in Las Vegas and they gave us the option to book flights that deviated from the conference dates, including multi-leg itineraries, through the appointed travel agency. If your desired itinerary is within the fare cap, you don't need to pay extra, if it is above, your personal credit card will be charged. Well, for me it is a great opportunity to spend the weekend with B1 from the book club, who always complains that nobody ever visits her. B2 and I already visited her about a decade ago when she lived in Alexandria and she has since moved to another city with A, in another part of the country: Athens, GA. The closest airport is ATL(anta) and this is where my stopover will be. I was super happy that I didn't even have to pay extra and am really looking forward to catching up with my friend and getting to see where she and her family (4 kids!) live, plus visiting 2 cities that are new to me.
My main association with Athens is R.E.M., the band, and with Atlanta it's Coca-Cola, hence the random photo of our office fridge that is always well-stocked with caffeine fuel. Atlanta is of course also famous for Martin Luther King, but since I am a superficial person who is partial to the occasional can or bottle of Coke (and I only drink the real thing), that was my main association. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

It's Getting Messy With the Dresses...

So yes, I've bought more summer dresses in the last few weeks than the average person even owns. Latest additions, see above. Exhibit A, the cute white dress with the blue details is from Stefanel, where I only ever set foot into when the Sale is on. I bought it in my lunch-break on Wednesday. It was 40% off and love at first sight. So me! I already own 3 white dresses, but this one is of course toootally different. Exhibit B, the red one, is more of a going-out dress (wishful thinking, I admit) and from COS (50% off). It was longer, but I decided that it looks way haaawter slightly above the knee. Weirdly enough, I'm into shorter dresses and skirts right now than I was 10 years ago when my legs were more presentable. Somehow I find the longer style a bit frumpy on me, which is definitely not the look I am going for. I am still in love with my blue COS dress and have worn it already 4 times. I should give shops a wide berth, since I have a sneaking suspicion that I would find more dresses at bargain prices that I just *need*.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Repeat. After. Me | The Male Perspective

I have a friend who is as smart and successful as he is hilariously funny and good-looking. He is the type of man that looks so perfect and "plastic" that everyone, male or female, always assumes he is gay. He claims not to be, but it is none of my (or anyone else's) business. He always reminds me of Barbie's Ken, so let's give him this nickname, o.k. So, Ken and I work in the same building and occasionally have lunch or a coffee, bitch about people we both know and laugh a lot. He once had the dubious privilege of comforting me when I was very upset indeed (reading my recent posts should have given you an idea that I tend to have emotional meltdowns occasionally) and I appreciate his nice ("Listen, there are great men out there who would kill for someone like you." Raaajt. But where the F are they hiding?!), but brutally honest advice. It is particularly interesting to hear what his take on relationships and courtship is.
Yesterday morning we had a breakfast date and since we hadn't properly talked for almost half a year he wanted to know what was up job- and relationship-wise. Of course I told him about having been dumped unceremoniously and my crushed ego. After about 2 sentences he rolled his eyes dramatically and said "Will you pass me that bucket over there, girl. I think I need to puke". This is exactly why I like him and value his opinion. At the end of his little sermon, I just said "Yes, Daddy. Amen." as he sounded just like my Mum.
So, his advice in a nutshell - nothing new and depressingly "primeval" and sobering:
1. Never show you are interested and eager. Ever.
2. Always (even if not true) make it clear that you have "other options" and don't need the guy. At all.
3. Never EVER invite him back to your place early in the courtship (oops)  as this clearly gives the (wrong) signal that you are serving yourself on plate. Least of all sleep with him before at least date Nr. 5. Unless you just want a f***buddy.
4. If he shows even the slightest signs of cooling off or not being interested after all, back off immediately and cut off all contact. Right now.
5. Men will tell/promise you ANYthing to get you into bed and keep you "on standby". Sigh.
Now excuse me while I just retreat to the kitchen to stab myself with a blunt fork...

Monday, June 16, 2014

Shooting in the Dark

I am one of these people completely unaffected by the Football World Cup. And yet I participated in our "office bet" initiated by a colleague without a second thought (see screenshot of parts of it above). In fact I think it is even more fun to bet at things that you are absolutely clueless about. When I was in Sydney, I at least won back my stakes at the office sweepstakes for the Melbourne Cup and as long as it is only a small amount (EUR 5 in this case) I don't mind. Who knows, I might be as lucky as my maternal grandmother who won the second prize in "Toto" in the early 1950s without having a clue about football either, if not in the monetary sense. Back then, Granny actually changed family history since the money won was enough for a down-payment on a shop in Carinthia, where the family subsequently moved from the Russian-occupied Burgenland region. She used to say that the first prize might have prompted them to emigrate to Australia, something which spurred my imagination a lot when I was a child as I imagined what my own fate would have been in that case.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Love Thy Neighbour

This week, I was in Bratislava twice. First with my Mum on the Whitsun weekend, then with my manager and HRK for a two-day event that I was in charge of. I stayed at the same hotel on both occasions (and can wholeheartedly recommend it) and on both occasions the weather was very hot and summery. I had last been there 4 years ago and found the city-centre changed (i.e. modernised/renovated) a lot. It is shocking how many people who have lived in Vienna for years - or indeed all their lives - have never been to Bratislava despite the fact that these are the closest European capitals. It is almost shocking how close.
This time, I went by bus and boat for a change. In fact, taking the TwinCity Liner was part of the birthday voucher my Mum redeemed and it was pretty impressive how fast that ship cruised to Vienna. The bus is very convenient and super cheap at the same time. Below are some impressions from the Slovak capital. In case you haven't been there yet yourself, perhaps they inspire you to pay it a visit:

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Torture 2.0

The great thing about online media is realtime communication. The bad thing too. What sweet pleasure to always know where your sweetheart is and when they are online. What torture to know they are online at this very moment indeed, but not because they are communicating with you. In happy days your greatest fear is that of no signal or a flat battery that means you would miss a message or not be able to check the online status of your significant other on WhatsApp, Google Hangouts, Skype, you name it. When there's Trouble in Paradise or you've fallen from grace you're almost grateful if you are forcibly offline as you can't trust yourself not to check in 5 minutes intervals if they are still alive and kicking, only to and get a little stab in your heart every time you see them online. And every time you ask yourself why you are sad loser enough to check in the first place...
Remember old films of the La Boum era when the worst thing that could happen was an engaged phone line and lovesick teenagers would pathetically pick up the receiver to check that the line wasn't busy (because their stupid parents dared to use the phone too)? Nowadays' equivalent is refreshing whatever app you can receive communication with, on the odd chance that your "auto-refresh" setting has decided to desert you. M-hm. Right.
I have probably wasted weeks of my life with such futile and self-destructive behaviour and since I can't trust myself to stop doing it if I technically can, the only way is to remove "dangerous" apps from the home-screen (not really effective, but at least reduces the stalking-frequency by about 50%) and also to block or remove the offending contacts so you cannot stare wistfully at their contact pictures, and preferably to delete all conversations to reduce chances of reading them over and over again, trying to find new angles to yesterday's news and getting upset all over again. If there were a world record for re-reading e-mails, both sent and received, I would have broken it, trust me. It's a good thing I'm not on Facebook (and never have been) as I would no doubt make it a full-time job to scrutinise every new friend the object of my obsession makes for potential "new love interest" status. Years ago a colleague confessed reading his ex-girfriend's e-mails for years (he knew her password) after breaking up, thus getting a great insight into the female mind (or so he thought). Part of me was truly shocked by this blatant violation of her privacy, another part of me thought "I'm so glad I don't know anyone's password as I really am not sure if I would not sink so low...".

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Misery Loves Company

The Firm likes to pride itself of being a big happy family and indeed most people get along with one another unusually well. Case in point, my lovely Croatian kolegica (let's call her HRK) who is literally young enough to be my daughter had I been a teenage Mum and yet SO on my wavelength in oh so many ways. She is the strongest and brightest woman (and also one of the most stunningly beautiful) I know, which makes you want to hate her already, right? She is also one of the funniest people with the dirtiest sense of humour and possibly the only person on this planet who really gets my humour as well. We get on with one another so well that I invited her to stay at my place the night before a meeting together with our manager in Vienna (today) and we already knew before that it would be a Bitchfest Deluxe as we are both very disgruntled, relationship-wise as her message above shows. The two little pictures say it all and made me snort out loud. My feelings exactly, only I would choose a blond avatar...
Unlike me, HRK usually has about 3 potential suitors to choose from at any moment in time, but we both seem to scare men away by being too direct and "intelligent" (not by self-definition, but male feedback). The most recent addition to my list of offenses: being called "intellectual" as if was very negative indeed. HRK and I both agree that our success rate would triple or quadruple if we said we worked at the supermarket checkout and talked half as much, spending the rest of the time fluttering our eyelashes and nodding in awe. We both appear much stronger and more carefree than we actually are and are certified sociopath-magnets. This makes for great conversation topics and when I took her out last night, some people's ears seriously must have been burning. And it's a relief to know that she is also the obsessive kind. More on just what I mean with "obsessive" tomorrow...

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

BTS Mini-Haul

From Sunday to Monday (bank holiday in AT) I was in Bratislava with my Mum (more pictures in another post). I had redeemed a birthday present to her from, um, 3 years or so ago. She loves classical music and I gave her a voucher for an opera-visit with overnight stay in BTS plus trip on the TwinCity liner speed catamaran. We saw (the premiere of) Simon Boccanegra, one of Verdi's lesser known operas and it was indeed an excellent performance, not that I am an expert. The female lead and the stage design were particularly impressive.
On Monday, I bought this paper (!) hat that I found funny and a pair of Bata sandals. No trip to CZ or SK is complete without the purchase of a pair of Bata shoes, right? They are incredibly comfortable and I intend to wear them with my new favourite COS dress.

Sunday, June 08, 2014


Like smell and taste, music has the power to transport us back to certain moments in time in erm, no time, and I could easily put together a compilation of songs for certain periods of my life. Sometimes you hear a song that you have heard many times before and it feels particularly meaningful at this very moment. Case in point, Lana del Rey's Summertime Sadness that I heard on the radio the other day. Something tells me that this will be the song I'll associate with my recent crashed crush in years to come.
Other "charged" songs of my life in case you are interested (and don't worry, they don't just have negative associations):
Seal, Kiss from a Rose (always on the radio when I started going out with Mr. TD)
Mika, Relax and Katy Perry, I Kissed a Girl (listening to it at full blast on Fridays in the office and dancing around like maniacs on crack with the Empress: fun times!)
Soft Cell, Tainted Love (the song I always asked DJs to play when I was young and clubs were still called "discos")
Angus & Julia Stone, Wasted (or indeed any of the songs of the same album: reminds me of my 3 months in Sydney and my friendship with the Australian who had the CD in her car when I visited her in Brisbane)
Lucio Battisti, Mi Ritorni in Mente (a highschool exchange in Perugia where my host sister introduced me to this great singer. At the same time it reminds me of my Erasmus-year in Dublin where I helped cure an Italian friend's homesickness by lending him my tape of Lucio B's songs.
Eros Ramazzotti, Adesso Tu (and many more Italian 80s songs: falling in love with an Italian guy called Dario at another school exchange to Italy. I still know this song by heart)
Billy Joel, We Didn't Start the Fire (the heyday of my friendship with the Mermaid and another classmate, as we were in a serious Billy Joel phase back then)
the Beatles, Eleanor Rigby (the song that the Mermaid and I, both avid Beatles fans, wanted to have played at our respective funerals when we were in our early teens. Yep, you make playlists for your funeral when your are at the height of puberty)
Bon Jovi, Livin on a Prayer (serious and unrequited crush on a guy the year above me at school who was said to be a Bon Jovi Fan. I wasn't at all, but convinced myself I liked this song too...)
David Bowie, the Man Who Sold the World (this song reminds me of my late teenage years and Vespa-driving years like no other)
You'll have realised by now that I am an Olympic gold medalist in Wallowing with a capital W and I am totally the type of person who searches on YouTube for "sad songs" (which is then auto-completed to " make you cry", somewhat worryingly). I may or may not have done this earlier this week. When I did, I remembered that the book in the photo above is among my pile of unread books. I once stumbled over it when browsing on Amazon and put it on my wishlist. Accidentally, I had clicked on the German translation, which my Dad then got me 2 Christmasses ago. It was lurking at the back of the pile and will now be studied with due attention. And, yes, I have a weird and macabre sense of humour. Me in a nutshell.
My feelgood summer-song last year, btw, was Bruno Mars, Locked out of Heaven. I still love it, in particular its naughty lyrics...

Friday, June 06, 2014


I don't know about you, but even if you are not one of these people women who are constantly on the quest for that perfect pair of jeans, you might still agree that jeans ought to fulfill the following criteria: perfect dye, perfect length, not so tight that they pinch your innards, not so stretchy that they fall off after half a day of wear, not too high-waisted so they look as if you borrowed them from your Mum, not too low-cut to reveal half your bum when you bend over. The list goes on.
Well, in my lunchbreak today I found a pair that fits the bill quite nicely. And no, I don't usually wear jeans with "heels", rather with flats and trainers. I just put them on for the pop of colour:
For lack of a photographer at hand I had to try and capture a semi-rear-view in the mirror. Pretty pleased with the fit overall. The blouse I'm wearing (viscose, sleeves can be pulled up) I bought en passant at Dika in Sofia and really love the colour which is more or less the same as my eyes. Oh, and my bed, too...

Monday, June 02, 2014

Theme Song

K. from the Book Club sent me the link to this song, which, surprisingly for an 80s Girl like me, I was unaware of. Genius! I have had it on repeat today and wanted to share it if any of you (of the female persuasion) ever have one of those days (or weeks/months/years)...You're welcome.
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