Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Some Like it (Very) Hot

Hello, my lovelies! I am back from hot Nice in possibly even hotter Vienna. I actually don't mind heat (nor rain, unless it's non stop and during my vacation...) as long as I have a shower and enough clean clothes and both was the case in Nice. In fact, if I ever manage the art of packing light as opposed to for all eventualities, I'll devote a blog post to it and you shall be the first to know. A sea or lake nearby is nice, too and this is why Nice really is bearable in July. Once more, I had a great time with the Mademoiselle and the Australian, and wanted to share some pictures. They are not your typical Cote d'Azure holiday snapshots, but then again I am not your typical blogger or photographer, right?
Due to said heat and the fact that all of us had already seen many of the attractions of Nice and nearby towns, we took it easy and only undertook 3 day-trips (to Menton, Grasse and Saint-Paul de Vence). I didn't shop that much, either (*gasp*), so probably my Nice haul will be incorporated in an accumulative one.

Friday, July 19, 2013

A Saturday With My Favourite Expats

Hi all! I am still trying to go easy on my thumb and not to use it for typing, but I am sure that a week away from my desk (in sunny Nice, yay!) will do it good! What happened to my thumb? Well, the doctors didn't doubt my self diagnosis of "smarthphone thumb" (hey, perhaps I'm the official beta-tester for the Austrian market?), brought on to myself by more-than-usual writing/scrolling with my phone while on a business trip last week. Apparently the thumb is not really suited to that task and I can tell you, don't try this at home, kids, it was very, VERY painful. I took off the bandage yesterday, but it is still sore and feels a bit strange and the doctor told me to continue taking the anti-inflammatory drugs.

Now onto a more cheerful topic. Last Saturday, I happened to meet not one, but two of my favourite expats. First the Empress for a stroll round the first district and a matcha latte. I almost arrived with my LV Neverfull as well, so we would have been twinsies:
I was so happy to see her again even though my trip to Paris is not in the recent past. I guess some people you cannot get enough of and it's crazy that no matter how long you haven't seen the other, you just seamlessly take over where you left off last time you met. This is the type of relationship I have with the Empress and - let's face it - we share a certain type of ...strange humour that few others get.
In the evening, already slightly gaga from the pain in my paw, I was invited for dinner at the Mademoiselle's residence, together with the lovely Australian, who had arrived that afternoon. She was very hungry, so she was that close to devouring the herbs and flowers on M's windowsill... 
Look what she got me! A super cool tote bag with a map of the world and red thread to mark the spots where you've already been. Yay! Perfect gift for this little frequent flyer.
I am going to enjoy more quality time with the Australian and the Mademoiselle on our girly vacation in Nice. More soon and watch those fingers when playing around on your phones!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Perils of Modern Technology

Hi all. Just to let you know that typing is not high on my list of priorities right now:
I'm already feeling much better but need to wear the bandage until Thursday (white is really en vogue for summer, thankfully!). Why do I even have a bandage? More on the excruciating pain that made me brave the long wait at A&E on Sunday night to come, but in a nutshell, it was caused by repetitive strain injury of my thumb through smartphone overuse, see this Wikipedia article.
Well, it takes me to jump on every trend bandwagon...

Friday, July 12, 2013

So. Sale

I mentioned a few sale purchases that happened over the last few weeks in addition to what I bought in Paris and the wonderful kitchen nuclear power plant I introduced to you in my last post. So, starting with the most recent purchase, this blouse is something I picked up at TK Maxx in Warsaw. Now this is a store that attracts and revolts me at the same time. I remember seeing it in Dublin first many years ago and not "getting" it. Lots of carelessly presented rags and random pieces of household stuff did not exactly invite me to go crazy. After seeing the Gazelle sport some amazing things she dug out in that same store, I changed my mind.
Well, there is a branch in downtown Warsaw and I picked up this retro blouse (that reminds me of 1960s movies, where the heroine would wear this sitting sideways on a Vespa, her hair tied back with a silk scarf) for the equivalent of 7 Euros. Not bad and so I don't actually feel I broke my self-imoposed shopping embargo at all.
Right before my mini-trip to Paris I couldn't resist the Shopbop sale and ordered this caramel coloured bag from a brand I didn't know before, Steven Alan. I really like it and have worn it a few times already:
Right after Paris when I had already resolved not to buy anything more in the Sale, I happened to drop into COS with the Gazelle and another colleague and, waiting for the latter to emerge from the changing room, tried on this lovely cotton/silk cardigan. Weeeelll...
I couldn't leave without me as you will clearly understand. This is what it looks from the back and sorry for the washed out colours due to sunlight coming into my office window when I took the picture:
The week before that I found the perfect white dress at the same store. I love the pleated front, the pockets and the fact that is has a cotton lining to prevent showing too much flesh underneath. Love!
The pleats and pockets in more detail:
Now bright yellow is one of my all-time favourite colours and really goes well with my (summer) skin tone and hair. This long-sleeved but lightweight viscose blouse from Marc O'Polo was love at first sight. And 50% off, too:
I love the zipper detail at the back:

This blouse has already accompanied me to Paris and will no doubt become a summer love affair. So much about my sale splurges. In retrospect, I think I've actually been quite restrained...

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Big Splurge or: I Blame Katie

Hi from sunny Warsaw, where I am on a business trip this week I thought it was about time to show you my recent sale and non sale purchases. Let's start with non-sale. Oh yes, definitely NON. It's a blender. Not just any blender, but the holy grail kitchen appliance of all vegans and health-conscious foodies out there. I am neither a vegan, nor a health-food fanatic, but decided that I needed a Vitamix in my life when I started reading Katie's wonderful food blog. Every other recipe of hers is prepared with a Vitamix and she also gives instructions for other, lesser, blenders along the lines of "well, you can attempt this with other mixers as well, but it will probably take 5 times as long if the blender doesn't go up in flames". This intrigued me and when my old blender sighed and grunted as I was preparing the frozen dessert for the last book club meeting, I decided the time had come to bite the bullet and invest in this gem. Trust me, it is an investment as this baby costs the equivalent of a return flight VIE-JFK.  Yep. However, it is unbelievable how quickly it blends hard and even frozen things and I keep joking that this would be the ultimate device to get rid of your unwanted spouse. Or boss. Or colleague. You get my drift. I ordered it (from Amazon.de) in a sexy red:
Less than half a minute after I poured in carrots, raspberries, red currants a stick of celery, orange juice and frozen banana slices, my smoothie was ready: 
Here's another picture of a slightly thicker carrot and tomato smoothie:
I have so many ideas for delicious (green) smoothies and of course need to try Katie's ice-creams and cakes. If you are a kitchen gadget nerd (or just in awe of powerful machinery in general), have some disposable pocket money or an occasion coming up: GO FOR IT!
In my humble opinion, this was a much worthier investment than my Kitchen Aid, pretty as it may be.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Summer Crush

Me being one of those saddos who love taking pictures of 1. food and 2. themselves in a mirror with their smartphone, I'm posting OOTDs (for the uninitiated, this is an acronym for "outfit of the day") on Instagram pretty everyday. This week, I wore the white bag I bought in the sales in Paris last Friday on 4 days running. I find it super versatile and a great match for the colours I typically wear in summer. I have a feeling I will get plenty of wear out of it this summer:

Thursday, July 04, 2013


I consider myself a rather organised and tidy person and in fact am the "kitchen terrorist" in the office who nags everyone else to put their dirty dishes into the dishwasher (with little effect, but never mind), but I am always in awe of people whose desk drawers look very zen and, above all, work related! You might have a colleague with more shoes under her desk than you even have at home...or actually BE that colleague and I have also compiled a humble backup shoe collection myself. However, this is not about shoes, but about the lip product invasion that has gradually happened in my topmost drawer. Undoubtedly, 11 lipsticks and glosses are absolutely vital for survival in the corporate jungle, but then again, it might be just a tad extreme.
What do you think? Any skeletons in your office closet?

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

5 Pet Hates...

After the 5 random facts about me, I thought I'd share some pet hates. Whenever this comes up in a YouTube tag, I noticed that most people hate people eating noisily. While I don't exactly like that either, it doesn't quite drive me up the wall...unlike other things:

1. Sloppy grammar and punctuation (in your mother tongue at least). I'm not talking about typos in text messages or quick posts on social networks from your phone as we all know that smartphones have very small keypads. I'm talking about e-mails, letters or other forms of communication that - I think - require a minimum of concentration and dedication. It may sound extreme, but I take bad grammar that doesn't obviously fall into the typo or autocorrect category as a sign of bad education.
2. People (interestingly mostly men) who don't write umlauts or accents in e-mails DESPITE THE FACT THAT THEY DON'T HAVE AN ENGLISH KEYBOARD. Reading such e-mails makes me want to scream and then strangle the sender.
3. People who repeatedly can't remember who you are and require you to introduce yourself to them at parties every time you meet them despite the fact that you have mutual friends and meet them twice a year on average. At least pretend to remember me after the fifth time...
4. People who yawn (loudly) with their mouth open and uncovered.
5. Long toenails and feet that are obviously not taken care of but on full display in sandals. I could puke. Every single time. The same holds true for long fingernails on men. Most revolting thing ever.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

A Weekend in Paris

As I told you in my previous post(s), I was in Paris this past weekend to visit the Empress. It was my third visit since she moved to France and it was as lovely as my previous visits. Just like my girly weekends with l'Italiana quite some time ago (alas!) it was as if no time had passed in between and I loved how she acts like a local and knows all the cool places. I extended my weekend by arriving on Thursday night and working from the Paris office on Friday. Instinctively, I had timed my visit very well - the "soldes" had already started and it was the right time to already have sexy bargains up to 50% but with plenty of stock left. In other words, I shopped. A lot. Despite not actually "needing" anything. Yes, totally knew and very shocking, this confession.
Before I show you my purchases, here are some pictures of Paris to prove that I did see something other than crowded shopping streets and the inside of department stores:
Turns out Paris has a ferris wheel, too (at the Tuileries gardens nex to the Louvre). But we had it FIRST!
A cute "sport" for kids: you rent a boat that you get to shove around a pond dressed in a superman costume while your Dad dies of boredom (Jardins du Luxembourg)
I saw several good exhibitions at the Centre G. Pompidou. This is a close-up of an artwork by Mike Kelley.
The Empress and the Emperor are VERY fond of their Thermomix miracle apparatus that can apparently do ANYTHING short of nuclear fusion. This is the Emperor in action, preparing a very nice dinner.
On Sunday we drove to the La Vallée outlet village. This is me at the gates at 10 a.m. when they opened. The emptiness is VERY deceiving and wrong. About 10 minutes later it started to get crowded to the point of putting me off shopping.
My post-work booty from Friday. The bag with the macarons is from Uniqlo which has some sort of co-operation with Ladurée going on. Shockingly, I did not go to Ladurée this time, but I neither felt like sweets, nor queuing.
Now for the haul. Say "bonjour" to a linen/cotton top fromn Massimo Dutti and a blouse from GAP
On Saturday, we both had a manicure. I went for OPI's "Kiss me on my tulips", which is one of my favourite pinks. I am pleased to report that the nailpolish is still going strong today. The backdrop is a detail of the laser-cut leather bag that was in the Galeries Lafayette bag pictured above.
Here you see the bag, a real bargain, in all its glory, plus my new "friendship bracelet" (the Empress got a matching one) from Printemps and the Uniqlo linen blouse I discovered on the sample/faulty rack. It has a tiny makeup stain on the collar that dissapeared after a wash and therefore was a mere EUR 7,90.
The only thing I had actually planned on getting was the Clarisonic Mia (recently launched in Austria as well and more or less sold out), knowing that the Empress has a Sephora card (got 20%off). I also got 2 small nail goodies and here you see the Massimo Dutti top again.
Well, at the outlet, these Sonia Rykiel shoes were begging me to adopt them. They are the most beautiful pair of sandals I have ever tried on and I fell in instant love with them. They were originally EUR 350 or something and I got them for EUR 90!
The REAL shopping highlight - totally unplanned - was this Burberry Brit trench. I had been looking for a Burberry coat/jacket that was "classic-with-a-twist" for quite some time. I don't suit beige at all and many styles look frumpy. I was actually on the look for a navy one, but the one I liked (the same style as this one) wasn't on stock in my size. The mossy green one actually suits my skin-tone even better. This sexy baby can be worn 3 different ways, one of them very clever and unexpected and I love it. I was a bit hesitant about the lining (slightly too "manly" for my taste), but the Empress insisted that I had to take it. It did not take much to convince me as I love it and have never found such a cool one before.
Time for a leeetel shopping embargo, methinks.
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