Saturday, July 30, 2011

Furry Pet

Recently, I've been playing a little game with myself in the office. Let's call it "Watch the dustball grow". With uncanny skill, the new cleaner manages to leave big balls of fluff (see specimen pictured below) right under the coffee table. Or indeed any table. It explains why most offices come with carpets, I suppose...
Speaking of "evading dirt" - at Coma HQ there was one super-nosy and super-annoying cleaning lady who in her eagerness to read the entries in employees' desk calendars and listen to their conversations was famous for wiping around items sitting on desks, obstacle-course-style, rather than lift them to clean the surface.

Friday, July 29, 2011

La Redoute Showroom, Prelude & Aftermath

On Wednesday, I took the Mermaid along to the bi-annual La Redoute Showroom to which I thankfully still had got an invite despite the fact that the nice marketing lady with whom I was on first-name terms has recently left the company. The PR event showcasing the current designer collection by Vanessa Bruno and keypieces of the new catalogue in addition to the coveted sample sale of the SS collection took place from 4-7 p.m. and when we arrived, there was not that much left on the racks. The clothes were either not to my taste or in my size, but I did buy something (surprise!). A pouchy blue leather bag for €20, for example:
It's a pity the original price tag wasn't on - it's even more gratifying to know how much you would have had to fork out originally...provided you would have bought it in the first place and not just been tempted by the bargain. I did research online, though, and found out that the original price was € 89.90. 

My other bargain was a long braided red (it is a much nicer red in real life, but I had to take the photos in front of the mirror without flash) belt for €5 (marked down from € 26.90). Believe it or not, I had been looking for a slim red belt anyway:
After we had been asked if we were bloggers (erm, yes, some of us, but this wasn't the reason we were invited, stuffed our faces with the beautifully presented fingerfood and perused the collection, we were given a €30 "journalists voucher". Unfortunately the small print revealed it not to be of the sort where you can just enter a code at some stage of the chekout process, but you have to send the hard copy to La Redoute by snail-mail after your purchase in order to get it credited to your account. Ah, and all that.
Afterwards, the Mermaid, who had not bought anything, was itching to get rid of some money and - in the mistaken assumption that it was Thursday - wanted to go to Peek & Cloppenburg on Mariahilfer St. to buy a belt she had her eyes on. Once we arrived there, it was closed (well, it was Wednesday after all) and she was suffering from major shopaholic anticlimax syndrome. Thankfully, Promod turned out to be open until 8 and we both bought a cool lightweight cotton tunic, marked down from € 27 to a mere 7:
In case you were having any doubts regarding my "trendiness", among the few keypieces from the AW collection that were displayed was a blue dress. It comes in two colours and I had received the black one just the day before. I wore it yesterday and it is both comfortable and stylish:

Thursday, July 28, 2011

End of an Era...

One of my first posts ever was on the "call shop" in my neighbourhood which had an original name. Well, on Monday a new sign was put up and "United Calling with Flower's" is no more. At least the new (and judging from the name, Turkish) owners had the decency to humour me with a typo, Kopi, instead of "Kopie" (photocopy):
Update! Chiquita noticed another typo which had escaped my attention, "telefoniren". Either the letter "e" was at an extra charge or the owner's sect doesn't allow him the use of "ie"...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Unsafe Driving (Don't Tell Mum)

As I was driving to KLU on Friday night, I was so impressed by the evening sky that seemed to be on fire that I couldn't resist recording a short video...while driving, ahem. Forgive the scratchy "soundtrack", please: 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My Blooming Food

Recently, there has been quite some...flora...on my plate. Earlier today, at a client function, both the starter and dessert contained (hopefully) edible flowers: 

Cardamom panacotta with apricots from the Wachau region: yum, yum!

Last Tuesday, I went to Halle in MQ with some colleagues and they were all fascinated by my choice of dinner: an artichoke with a dip. Admittedly, it looked quite impressive and almost threatening:

Whew, it took quite some effort to subdue it and had the positive side-effect of forcing me to eat slowly, for a change: 

Monday, July 25, 2011

S(n)o(w) White!

Talking about localisation. When I visited the KLU branch of Peek & Cloppenburg on Saturday, about one third of a floor was filled with racks of white clothes only. Why? It was because of the annual Fête Blanche , highlight of the event calendar of Carinthia's jeunesse dorée which took place the night before.
Well, the marketing ploy definitely worked as I suddenly remembered *needing* a pair of white jeans and duly ended up with one.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Environmentally Friendly

While I am in KLU for an (offline) weekend, I leave you to ponder with me, what "recycled people" are. My imagination ran wild when I saw this on a wall in the old town of Nice...

Friday, July 22, 2011

Sticky Fingers

I've had golden nails since Monday night and they are still going strong. It's not some magic nail polish in a bottle for a change, but stick-on nailcolour. I've been curiously eying this "genre" for months, but not been willing to fork out almost €10 for a single nail-job. I got lucky at "Sephora" in Nice, though, when a set of 16 (there's always spares to accommodate different shapes and sizes of nails) was reduced from €7,90 to €2. Here's what the package looks like:

When you open it, a pungent waft of acetone-smell hits you and you realise that despite looking like a metallic sticker, this really is nail polish. You remove transparent foil on either side of the nail-shaped portions and position it. Before you've firmly pressed it to your nail, you can peel it off and re-position it without tearing it up. You are supposed to just bend over the excess, but in my case, my nails are too short for that and I had to be careful not to accidentally guild my skin. As you can see, this is intended for women with long talons:

The finished product looks very natural and it really is long-lasting . The packaging pitches it as staying for 11 days - we'll see. Usually I tire of the colour within a few days anyway. 
All in all: a good investment of €2 and I wish I had bought more. What I love most about this "system" is that application is much quicker than with traditional nail polish, provided that - like me - you apply more than just one coat plus base and top coat.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ze French Shopping

Alors, le shopping. Let's start with the obligatory rear-view-picture.

Speaking of shopping, I also got GOODIES from MAF, brought all the way from Australia. I love the make-up bag and the Cadbury's koalas were really yummy: 
As every year, I could not resist buying something from La Droguerie, knowing full well that my purchases are destined for prolongued shelf-life until I actually decide to get started on a creative project: 

In general, I don't go into shops that exist in Austria as well, no matter whether there's a sale going on or not. I couldn't resist the handbag-themed t-shirt from ESPRIT for a mere 6 EUR at Galeries Lafayette though. Next to it, was a pair of comfortable chinos the same colour. And NO, I do not intend to wear the two together and look like Miss Piggy: 

I also bought two pairs of sandals, the left one from BATA (15 EUR!), the right from Galeries Lafayette. The photo was taken on the window sill in the room where I slept in Nice. The shutters were more or less only held together with good-will and I was afraid that they would decapitate someone on the streets every time I opened them.
I've already worn the shoes and the trousers and am very content with my purchases. I also bought a lovely blue cardigan from Sud Express, which I did not take a photo of, so you'll just have to trust me that it really is lovely and blue. Oh, and I also bought some stuff at Sephora. More about that soon.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Salade Niçoise

So. After a sufficient amount of beauty-sleep I have downloaded my photos from the camera and can show you some highlights. Once more, we were reminded where the Côte d’Azur gets its name from. The shades of blue (no alterations in post-production, mind) are amazing: 

On Saturday, we set our alarms to make it to the beach early(ish) in the morning and on the way there actually got to see the produce market which in the afternoon is replaced by souvenirs and crafts. The selection of locally grown organic tomatoes was quite impressive:
The day we arrived, July 14, was Bastille Day, which was celebrated not only with a military parade on the Promenade des Anglais, but also fireworks:

Laundry, hung to dry "Mediterranean style" in the Old Town:

The Promenade by Night: so pretty! After I took the photo below, we went to the Old Port, which had been partly turned into a pedestrian zone since I last saw it, and had dinner there. Two restaurants down from ours, there was a DJ playing dancefloor classics, which prompted passers-by to put down their shopping bags and beach paraphernalia to start dancing. He even played YMCA and it was only the fact that I was armed with knife and fork that kept me from lifting my hands in the air. I don't know if the party mood had to do with the fact that the Pink Parade had taken place the same afternoon, or if this happens every Saturday night in Nice. 

I also don't know if the gentleman on the photo below took part in the Pink Parade, either, but he and his neighbour (who wore white diva-esque sunglasses) entertained us by painstakingly adjusting their bathing trunks to get maximum UV-exposure. Check out the eye-covers:
Whereas Mademoiselle and MAF are flying back on Thursday, I had to return on Sunday already. My last lunch was rounded off by goodies from a patisserie, donated by MAF. Yum, yum!

I know from experience that it can be problematic to go on vacation as a "threesome", but I had a great time and laughed more or less non-stop. The apartment where we stayed was a source of amusement in itself: The landlady, a friend of Mlle,  recently sold the old apartment and bought a bigger one in a rather run-down old house. They split it into a smaller section for renting (where we stayed) and a big one, where the family are going to live. The husband (earning his living in the construction industry, so an alleged pro) is currently redoing it, but there's still a long way to go and the "finished" apartment also had some interesting and rather unorthodox features. When he let us in upon our arrival, he was the antidote to an over-eager real-estate agent, focussing on the negative things instead. I learned a new piece of vocabulary though: chantier (building site).

Monday, July 18, 2011


There might be one or two photos uploaded yet if I a) had not forgotten my camera at home today, which essentially is due to b) the fact that my flight was more than 3 hours delayed and resulted in me getting home at 1:40 a.m. Yawn.

But Nice was as wonderful as usual, I hasten to add.

Please bear with me...

PS: I feel strangely naked without my camera, which usually accompanies me wherever I go.

PPS: If you are ever stranded at Nice airport don't waste your money on internet access with of the public desktop computers there: a connection so slow you'd think it was via a dial-up modem (on second thought - perhaps it is?) and a French keyboard with stuck keys. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Holiday Mood

When you are reading this, I will hopefully be high up in the air, on my way to Nice for a weekend-break with Mademoiselle and MAF. The ladies will be staying until next Thursday whereas I'm flying back on Sunday night.

On Tuesday, MC and I went to check out the Tommy Hilfiger sale. She bought nothing and I only bought a nice, bright yellow sleeveless t-shirt with a rope print. I love the colour which really looks great on tanned skin: 

In preparation for my (beach) holiday I applied the orange nail polish to my feet (much better staying power there) on Saturday, adding some nail stickers I had got from the Mermaid for good measure: 
More next week...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Barbecue Wings

This is what happens when you go swimming on your own and don't have particularly flexible arm muscles to ensure your back is evenly covered with sunscreen ;-) 

On the bright side: long hair comes in handy when you want to wear a dress with a low "back cleavage" while hiding a little suntanning accident...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

English Rulez!

Last weekend, the weather was wonderful and I went swimming both on Saturday and Sunday. Having run out of reading material, I bought at MISS magazine, the only one half worthy of reading available. The July issue came with a leaflet on how to apply for the "Miss Style" contest, essentially a girl with good taste in fashion, make-up and hairstyle. These are the criteria the judges will focus on: 

The first bullet-point says it all, with the only 2 German words being Komposition von (composition of, literally) apart from und (and). "Hair, Make-up and Fashion". Hello? Admittedly, make-up is a loan-word in German which has a wider meaning than the German Schminke, but we do have perfectly fine and idiomatic words both for hair (Haar) and fashion (Mode). Having to translate Powerpoint slides from English to German in my glamourous day-job, I wonder if a) the author of the leaflet simply forgot to translate those words, b) assumed it looked much cooler in English or c) simply wasn't aware that this was strange at all. As they say in Austrian contest shows, after the voting, there will be a recall.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Shiny Happy Hall

The week before last, I got my new, custom-made floor-to-ceiling furniture for the hall. Yay! It was obscenely expensive (about the same amount as my kitchen with elecric appliances), but really worth it. The salesman almost encouraged me to go for the self-assembly option which would have cost considerably less, but I was really glad I didn't as my floors are VERY uneven and the workers actually had a hard time adjusting the base to an even level. While I was at it, I also got a new, larger mirror (on the right side):

As you can see, there's plenty of storage space. The first wardrobe holds my tall ladder (my rooms are 3,2 m high), clothes drying rack and ironing board, things that used to be stored more or less in plain view in my bedroom before:

A little peek inside below. I love the way I now have two tiers for coats/jackets, a separate wardrobe for handbags (between the coats and the shoes) and even got to include a small shelf to display stone objects by my Dad:

This year, I got quite a bit done in my flat: painted the living room and hall, new cabinet and shelf in the bathroom and now this major project. Next year, I want to redo my bedroom with a small walk-in closet and new shelves, etc. I'm falling in love with my flat all over again. The only thing missing remains a balcony...

Sunday, July 10, 2011


You know how fascinated I am by the Kebabburgerschnitzelfish genre of restaurants. On Friday, I discovered this gem in Ottakring (Vienna's 16th district):
As if "Schnitzel-Kebab-Fischimbiss"in itself wasn't enough (and there's also a sign saying "PIZZA" next to the door, this establishment offers "scanning, phone, fax" and proclaims itself an internetcafé. What more can you possibly want?

Friday, July 08, 2011


And there was I, thinking 10 € for a bottle of mineral water was excessive...How about 44? I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw this yesterday:
It's allegedly the most expensive mineral water in the world and was created by a Hollywood producer. Which sort of explains it, I guess.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Wistful Thinking

Two weeks ago, I took a picture of this beautiful view on the tiny island of Herm. What with the current hot temperatures (after a few cold days), I really wish I was near a sea, lake, or pool, even. Ah, well, I can't complain really, as I have a long weekend in Nice to look forward to next week. 

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Read Now, Buy Later

After the bright orange nails, which didn't even last a day and weren't really ME anyway, I decided to apply a nudish pink. As I said, I was thrilled to see that my favourite "shopping blogger" is back on the scene and when I read her post on Bourjois's Rose Lounge, I was intrigued. I had never tried this brand before, but knew it was readily available at BIPAs everywhere. Last night, I bought it, took off (most of, ooops) the bright orange and applied it:

Wow. The photos and my less than perfect nails don't do it justice, but this really is like a genre of its own. Super smooth and easy to apply and above all, incredibly shiny and somehow plastic looking (in a good way).  The colour is opaque and translucent at the same time. It reminds me of nail polish I saw in Tokyo and regretted not buying that was pitched as "looking like acrylic", which sounds rather off-putting, but basically meant that it gave a shinier and more long-lasting finish.

Picture without flash: 

The text on the bottle promises that it lasts 7 days, but if it even lasts 3 without chipping, I would be more than impressed. I think I'm going to clear out all my other nude and pink nail polishes as this is just so much better. Good choice, Mrs. Windsor!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

80s Disco

One of my UK glossy mags freebies was a full-size bottle of Leighton Denny nailpolish. I had never heard of the brand, but to be honest, I'm not all that impressed by its staying power so probably won't purchase it. Bazaar magazine had 3 shades on offer (or rather I remember seeing 3 on the racks of WH Smith) and I decided to go for the neon orange one. It's quite a cool colour in an 80s disco flashback way, but I think I try it on my toes where it is likely to chip less easily as well. This is what it looked like when I applied two coats on Sunday night: 

And this is the colour in broad daylight in my lunch-break on Monday, with noticeable chipping going on: 
I like the colour for its borderline "sluttiness", but it is definitely better suited to the beach than to the office.

When neon was all the rage in the 1980s, I decided to only "do" neon yellow and stay away from the other colours. My granny sewed me a chic grey tweed coat which I accessorised with a neon yellow scarf, hat and gloves. To top off the ensemble, I pestered my Mum to buy me a neon yellow umbrella (a huge one at that) in Italy. It was quite expensive and my Mum was reluctant to buy it, knowing that my "neon phase" would be shortlived, but I convinced her that it was a classic piece and I would love it forever. U-huh. A year later I despised all things neon and did not want to be seen dead with the umbrella. My Mum ended up wearing it herself to get some use out of it and rather than feeling guilty for being a fashion victim, I felt embarrassed on her behalf for wearing such an uncool umbrella. 

Now at least I pay for my fashion fickleness with my own money...

Monday, July 04, 2011

Saturday Night Fever

Before you think the title refers to my own wild weekend, think again. With the exception of a brief excursion to my nearby BILLA, I spent it all indoors, sneezing and coughing. The lowlight was waking up at 4 a.m. on Sunday morning and blowing my congested nose only to set off a viscious nosebleed and a coughing fit that lasted about half an hour. I was waiting for neighbours to knock on my door, complaining about all the noise, but then eventually went back to sleep only to wake up again at 1o:45!

End of self-pitying killer-virus tangent.

No, the title refers to British dress-sense. The first day of my vacation was a Saturday and my Mum and I decided to take the tube to Covent Garden to stretch our feet after the journey and recover from the shock about our "bonsai" hotel room. Walking to Leicester Square after the first of several visits to my beloved Pret, we were waiting at a traffic light when Mum nudged me. "Those girls must be going to work, don't you think?", implying that the 3 girls in front of us, all clad in micro skirts and killer heels (and not much else) earned their living by selling their bodies. "Oh no", I replied, "that's just your typical going-out outfit here." Mum wasn't convinced, especially as it was rather chilly and those girls were wearing neither tights, nor a cardigan or coat. I explained to her that British (and also Irish) girls had a tendency of simply ignoring outside temperatures and would go out in strappy sandals and flimsy dresses in December, too. It was only when I pointed out two dozen similarly clad groups of girls that she realised they were not all sex workers. In fact, it became a bit of a running joke during our trip, me commenting on scantily-dressed women, "look, here's another prostitute."

Not all women were dressed like sluts at all, but it was really easy to tell the tourists from the natives or Anglo Saxon visitors apart on the Channel Islands as well. Tourists: several layers of clothes, the topmost being a hooded jacket or raincoat, long trousers and trainers. Natives: sleeveless top, shorts or miniskirt, bare legs in flip-flops. Even on the plane that was chilled to arctic temperatures, most islanders or UK visitors were half naked. My theory is that girls are hardened for life from having to wear school uniforms with bare legs in harsh weather.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

School's Out

Today is the first day of summer holidays (2 months) for children in Vienna and some other provinces of Austria. On my way to work yesterday, the bus was full of smartly dressed children, some accompanied by their parents, many bearing flowers for their teachers. I felt incredibly envious as I still remember vividly what it felt like to know that you had all those weeks of excitement ahead of you. By the end of August I was always looking forward to seeing my friends again and it always felt that people had changed incredibly within those two months. This is also the time of the year when I think I should have become a teacher (like my parents) after all. Having many friends who teach languages at schools and/or university I'm well aware of the fact that the last weeks of the summer semester are incredibly stressful, so I know the long holidays are well-deserved and that it's an advantage to be able to take a vacation when you want it and not when you have to. Still, I would really love to experience the sweet sensation that is called "summer holidays".

Me, being the model employee I am, I'm trying to recover from the nastiest cold I've had in a long time over the weekend After not as much as a runny nose all winter long, I fell victim to airplance airconditioning a.k.a. "germ distributor" on my return flight(s). It started with a viscious throat-ache and a night of fever-induced shivering under two down blankets before it morphed into a horrible cough and head cold, with aching ears thrown into it for good measure. Last night I felt...what was the superlative of "dead" again? I stayed in bed reading until lunchtime, today, feeling very much like Maru. It's o.k. when I don't talk, but as soon as I do, I get a dry cough bark that would make any bandog jealous. Paired with sore muscles from manual labour on Thursday (perhaps not such a good idea after all, but I did feel quite o.k. on the day), coughing is not the most comfortable experience. Ah well, I hope to be semi-alive again on Monday.

On the bright side, Laura of Lollipop26 fame has taken up blogging again. Yesss!

Friday, July 01, 2011

But Vienna isn't Bad, Either

Yesterday, we had our annual day of "Community Work" and as in the two previous years, we chose to support Vienna's Municipal Department of Forestry and Agriculture at Bisamberg. Although our muscles (sore!) and skin (blisters!) definitely  are not used to manual labour, we all agreed that it is the highlight of our office year. 

Fresh air, wild flowers...

Not to forget great views and wildlife, too:

Not to forget the obligatory post-work barbecue...

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