Tuesday, December 30, 2008


If you are among the happy ones whose Christmas holiday seemlessly blends into a New Year's holiday and have run out of good books, here are my personal top 5 of the books I read in 2008:

  1. Alison Bechdel, Fun Home
  2. Anya Ulinich, Petropolis
  3. Beth Helms, Dervishes
  4. Elisabeth Flock, Me&Emma
  5. Mary Lawson, Crow Lake

Sunday, December 28, 2008


After the clothes, the blog. I took a deap breath before plunging into the murky HTML-sea and cleaned up my sidebar, modifying the drop-down-menu (including an updated "who-is-who") and chucking out most of the "dormant" blogs from my blogroll.

Coming soon: an exclusive onemorehandbag-t-shirt offer...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Memory Lane is Paved with Washed-Out Cotton

Yesterday, I cleared out old clothes from the overspilling wardrobes in my room here at my parents' house. Among them, a pile of extremely baggy t-shirts from the late 1980s until the mid 90s. They included t-shirts from concerts (R.E.M.) and colleges (U.C.D.) I attended, t-shirts bought in Berlin, Budapest, Crakow, Vienna even (on occasion of the opening of the U3 subway line in 1994), t-shirts made by myself or friends (hello, tye-die and screen print!) and half a dozen of others that would now be considered XXL and pyjama-top-category only, size-wise.
Such as this specimen, which I loved dearly:
I used to be cool (onemorehandbag)It says "Ouch, you hurt my heart!" in Italian and has a pretty realistic pair of band-aids appliquéd on a (long faded) red heart. It is testament to the "Italian phase" I went through in my late teens, falling in love with the cousin of my host on a school-trip to Cosenza and all. Eros Ramazotti, Gianna Nannini and Antonello Venditti were the soundtrack to the t-shirt and like all Carinthians, all the cool labels would be bought in Italy, a 40 mins drive away from KLU.

Needless to say, I won't throw it away, but store it elsewhere until the moths eat it.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christkind was here

Austria (thankfully) being a Santa-free-zone with the exception of scarily popular lifesize Santas who climb up/down windows, fairy lights round their necks, we still get our presents by Christkind as opposed to a fat man with a beard. In any case, "it" was good to me this year and among lots of other pressies brought me various things for the kitchen: Just as well I didn't win one of those cool aprons at Anne's as Amica apparently is a mind-reader.

I also got lots of lotions and potions this year, e.g. by Kiehl's and Aveda. I haven't found out if this means that a) I am known for being very vain, b) am visibly getting old and wrinkly, or c) smell horribly. Possibly, a combination of the three. No, seriously, I L.O.V.E. all things cosmetic and can never have too many bath salts and gels.

I've always wanted little diamond studs and now got a lovely pair from my parents (I had sent them a handy link to the TCHIBO website...) along with a selfmade necklace and beautiful calendars made by each of them. Christkind also got me a Pandora necklace to go with my bracelet. Although I find those very nice without the ornaments and don't intend to overload them, this is the perfect occasion to drop a not so subtle hint for future birthdays and Christmasses ;-)

My Mum and I got a scarf each from a friend and decided to swap them. I much prefered the ikat print (see photo above).

The coolest present by far, though, this year was our company holiday gift (presented to us by the boss in a Santa costume, by the way) - a brand new limited edition G1 phone! I fiddled around with it and downloaded applications all Christmas Eve until my parents put a stop to it:
I felt like a little boy with his first toy train set.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

I safely arrved in foggy KLU yesterday and would like to wish all of you a MERRY CHRISTMAS with your loved ones & a superduper HAPPY NEW YEAR!

my 2008 Christmas card (onemorehandbag)If you were on my "old skool" snail mail Christmas card list this year, the above photo will look familiar...

Monday, December 22, 2008

It's the Final Countdown

chez PP (onemorehandbag)
...to Christmas with at least 2 pressie-exchange dates per day, the last Vienna one being our book club meeting (traditionally being hosted by S2) tonight. Off to KLU tomorrow, more from there.

Friday, December 19, 2008


Yesterday, I was talking to the receptionist when the parcel delivery guy came with a parcel in his hands. As it was for a colleague of mine, I offered to sign and take it back to our office. "Ah, Ms. ****", he said and typed my name in his handheld device. It did not even occur to me that it was unusual for him to know my name even though I had never met him at the Firm. "You used to work somewhere else, right?" he said. "Yes, at Coma HQ", I replied, realising that I knew him from my days there. "That's right. You were the one who used to get all those Amazon parcels". Yep, that would be me. Suddenly I remembered why he was so familiar. I even tipped him the last Christmas I worked there as he basically turned up exclusively for me.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sleigh Bells Ring, Are You Listening?

Today is my office Christmas party. The majority voted for flood-lit night-sledging at Mount Semmering. We're all armed with our respective mothers' advice to be careful and will try our best not to break ALL bones. What with the slushy weather today (thanks to our mums' good relations with the weather gods, I wonder?) we might not have to worry about the slopes being too "fast".

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Which Is Exactly Why It's Dangerous to Go Shopping with Your Colleagues

Today, I am wearing a gray dress. A dress I bought last Thursday when the plan was to accompany the Empress on a little excursion to MEXX on Mariahlifer St. to see if we, or rather SHE (I didn't need anything, after all), could make good use of the "take an additional -20% off all SALE items"-vouchers. MC decided to come along, too.

Half an hour later, I had paid for a dress, belt and cardigan (with a belt), whereas the Empress and MC had bought: nothing.

I sense a conspiracy. A global one.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


  • Last week I met a former colleague from Coma HQ. She had recently been to her native Japan (she's from the island of Hokkaido) and had called to say she had souvenirs (omiyage) for me. Yeah! These are the exotic goodies I got:

big in Japan (onemorehandbag)
  • A foldable tote bag in a little bag (bottom left). She had brought me a similar one before which I love and use frequently.
  • Matcha-flavoured green KitKat
  • My favourite rice-crackers with peanuts (I prefer them with Japanese beans, actually)
  • A textile fan with cherry-blossom design (in the blue carton)
  • An interesting looking relaxing face-mask which apparently gives off steam when you take it out of its wrapper.
Very exciting, all of them and the perfect teaser for my Japan-trip which will hopefully become reality next year.

Monday, December 15, 2008


With this year's Christmas baking...

Christmas cookies (onemorehandbag)

Friday, December 12, 2008

More Christmas Lights

...in Vienna. MC and the Empress already complained about 3 posts in a row about Bulgaria so I'm happy to oblige:

Thursday, December 11, 2008


One more day in Bulgaria and I would have had a permanent migraine. Why? Because I experienced this compulsion to try and decipher each and every road sign, menu, headline, not accepting that I couldn't read the Cyrillic characters at a glance. It was easy enough with words where you recognised the "A"s and "T"s for example or the international logos next to the sign. It was incredibly difficult when you're trying to read the small white-on-red print of the menu in a Bulgarian fast-food chain that unfortunately wasn't illustrated with pictures of meatballs and chips. Easy enough when there's a queue and you have plenty of time for slowly assembling the letters in your head like some scrabble spin-off. Less so when you're the only customers and the girl behind the counter wants to know what you would like to order straight away. "Well, what do you HAVE?" my Mum asked. The girl 0disappeared behind the shelves and returned with a colleague (possibly the manager of the establishment) who went on to rattle off all the food options. Although we didn't really fancy anything in particular, we felt obliged to eat something since he had gone out of his way to translate for the illiterate foreigners.
By Monday night, I had mastered the alphabet, but still had to test myself on every word I saw, just as I had done when I had learnt to read the Roman alphabet all those years ago.

double cyrillic to me (onemorehandbag)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sofia in a Nutshell

Sofia. Home of beautiful orthodox churches...

Sv. Nedelja, Sofia (onemorehandbag)as well as ugly (post)communist architecture

Sofia architecture (onemorehandbag)As regards shopping, I noticed that - just as in Latvia - plastic bags of various brands were sold at the market. I saw many people walk around with a BILLA bag, too, but unfortunately we never saw the actual supermarket. Instead, we chose the central market hall which was practically next to our hotel to buy (very tasty) snacks. At the central department store "TSUM" and the more upmarket shopping areas almost all international brands are available, but I didn't have the impression that there were many people shopping there. What I did notice was that high stiletto heels are de rigueur for females aged 14 - 94 (just as "original" hair dyes with the roots showing are) and that every street seems to contain on average 3 shoe-shops, 2 pharmacies and 1 casino.

Bulgarian trends (onemorehandbag)
Compared to New York in particular, this was a true low-budget weekend-break. The only things I bought were some souvenirs at the shop of the Ethnographic Museum and some rose and lavender soaps and hand creams from the omnipresent "Rose of Bulgaria" cosmetics range.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A weekend in Sofia OR: You're going WHERE?

Yesterday was a public holiday in Austria and I spent the long weekend in Sofia with my Mum. Now if you're ever looking for a mini-break destination with a duly "exotic" flair, I'd recommend Sofia any day. Every time people asked me what I had planned for the 8th-December-weekend, expecting to say something along the lines of "Oh, I'm going to my parent's" or "I'm flying to London/Paris/Amsterdam for the weekend", they asked me to repeat my answer, Sofia, as if they couldn't believe their ears. Yep, Sofia. Capital of Bulgaria.
Why Sofia? Well, I had given my Mum a voucher for a weekend-break at a European destination for her birthday. When Skyeurope sent out a newsletter promoting (yet another) "two tickets for the price of one" offer a couple of months ago, I checked all the available destinations and flight times only to find out that the latter did not really allow you to make the most of 3 days. Not so the Sofia flight which arrived at 9 a.m. on the Saturday and left at 8 p.m. on Monday night. Perfect! I checked with my Mum, knowing that she is quite adventurous when it comes to exploring "the East" and made sure the weather wouldn't be arctic that time of the year before I booked the flights and checked hotel reviews to find a nice, centrally located hotel.
More about my weekend-break to Sofia (with photos) coming up.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Vanillekipferln. Sugar-dusted Bliss

Vanillekipferln (onemorehandbag)If you ask any Austrian which type of pastry comes to their mind first and foremost when they think of Christmas cookies, they are very likely to say Vanillekipferln. These rich (butter!) little crescents have a mouth-watering smell and should, ideally, be so soft that they disintegrate in your mouth before your teeth even touch them. This is mainly achieved by not eating them straight away - if you can manage - but letting them "rest" in a tin for at least a week. Even though the dough is very easy to make, they are among the more time-consuming types of Christmas bakery if you take pride in a) size (the smaller, the better) and b) uniformity. If you don't, they are good to make with kids as well. Here's my granny's recipe:

Vanillekipferln (vanilla crescents)

150 g finely grated hazelnuts (toasted, if possible)
250g butter (at room temperature)
100 g icing sugar
1 sachet (equals 2 teaspoons) vanilla-sugar*
300g flour

* if you can't get vanilla-sugar in your country, you could use sugar infused with real vanilla from a pod instead.
Mix and knead all ingredients, roll to a ball and wrap in clingfilm. Let the dough rest in your fridge overnight or at least for 1 hour.

Form little crescents, the smaller, the better. I suggest rolling little "sausages" between your palms, then break or cut off a piece of 4 or 5 cms and bend to form a crescent. Put on a tray lined with baking paper. Bake at 160° for 10-15 mins, depending on the size of the Kipferln. They should be golden brown at the edges, but remain rather on the pale side. Take off your tray carefully (!) with a spatula as they are still very brittle when hot and generously dust when they are still hot with a mix of icing and vanilla sugar. The sugar-mix attaches itself best when the crescents are hot. The Kipferln should be coated all round with the sugar so I dust them layer by layer in the tin where I keep them for storage.

Enjoy and share!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Here she bakes again...

...this year with a new baking companion: MC with whom I produced 3 variations of cookies on Sunday, two of which you see here:
baking orgy (onemorehandbag)I continued the baking-marathon (baking-o-thon?) last night on my own, when I baked 5 (!) trays of Vanillekipferln on top of baking another type and decorating the Florentines I had made late on Sunday night after MC had left. Stay tuned for my granny's famous Vanillekipferl recipe which I am going to post tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Swimming in Times of Financial Meltdown

Last night, as I was swimming my laps at Stadthallenbad (without the Mermaid who is currently holidaying in the sun with her Prince Charming), minding my own business when a guy sitting by the poolside caught my attention. He was sprawled out on the tiled stairs/benches, completely engrossed in a book. Now I can never understand why anyone feels inclined to spend a minute longer than is absolutely necessary in that chilly environment, let alone allow their towels to touch a surface that shouts "fungus! mycosis! athlete's foot! nasty infection!" all at the same time.

Anyway, the guy was reading a book entitled "Optionen und Futures Verstehen". (Understanding Options and Futures).

Was he an investment banker who had bluffed his way up to the management floor but now wanted to catch up on the fundamentals before he was publicly exposed? Was he a minnow private investor who had watched his stocks dwindle to nothing and wanted to invest more wisely now? Or did he simply find swimming more boring even than books on financial subjects.

I almost asked him.
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