Friday, October 30, 2015

A Little Trip to the Great Mall of the Bay Area

Have any of you ever heard of Milpitas? I definitely had not. Well, it is the location of the rather pompously named Great Mall of the Bay Area, to which I ubered (not exactly a steal in rush hour and with surge pricing, but never mind) on my last evening in California the week before last.
It is not the most exciting of outlet malls I have been to and food options are of the artery-clogging variety, but hey, I got my shopping fix. My personal highlights were the Coach store, where I bought a little bag that you can wear with a shorter metal strap or cross-body with a longer one, as well as a matching little card/coin wallet and the Uniqlo store. In the latter I found a navy down jacket with diagonal zipper for a mere USD 29 (plus tax) a cute long-sleeved striped t-shirt (not pictured) of which I bought a smaller size for the Empress from the Ines de la Fressange collection and a long shirt with the red pattern stemming of a coop with the renowned Italian stationery atelier Rossi for a mere USD 6. I also totally needed a third pair of Oakley sunglasses, right? Right? For the first time, I purchased a pair from the women's collection and therefore also got a complimentary sturdy case.
All in all, my recent visit reconfirmed what I knew already: I really could not live in the Silicon Valley, not even if I was a millionaire and did not have to pay a fortune for a small apartment in one of those depressing areas where Walmart and In-N-Out-Burger are the local shopping highlights and you need a car to get EVERYwhere. I am extremely grateful to live in a European city with efficient public transport.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Things that Made Me Happy Last Week: Week 43

1. Having heating and warm water in my flat again. Never mind those craters in the wall that are still waiting to be fixed.
2. A long weekend in KLU, where I hadn't been since August. Besides seeing my parents, it was great to see my favourite lake again in all its autumn glory.
3. Trivial, but getting a salary after unpaid leave and lots of expenses that I covered out of my savings really did make me happy...

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Best Friends

As you know, I have travelled quite a lot this year, both for business and pleasure. Let me introduce my 3 favourite travel companions, or 4 rather, that are my absolute must-haves other than my lucky ring which I never go on a trip without.
1. BOSE noise-cancelling headphones. Outrageously expensive, out-of-this-world amazing. Seriously, if you want to have peace and quiet on any type of public transport and block out unwanted noises (including conversations) or enjoy onboard entertainment in decent quality, this is the best investment ever.
2. A coin-purse. I love my little Rebecca Minkoff one with my initial. There are many countries (like Japan for example) where you need coins for a lot of things (e.g. subway tickets) and it is way more convenient and also safer not to have to fumble for your big wallet which also holds your cards, every time. I usually keep this purse in a pocket of my jacket or jeans to have it within easy reach.
3. A second smartphone to use with a prepaid local (data) SIM. This was an invaluable combo for navigation in particular in Japan where street signs are sparse and don't follow any kind of logic. Really, it was a life saver. I was sad when my Nexus 5 (the one pictured above) all of a sudden died in California last week, just as the warranty has expired of course.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Things that Made Me Happy Last Week: Week 42

1. Being in sunny California (at a conference) this past week, rather than in cold and grey Vienna...where my building has been cut off gas supply since last Monday (=no hot water, heating or stove use).
2. Meeting new people from all over the world at said conference and coming back very inspired.
3. Getting my outlet shopping fix...more about that in another post.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Things that Made Me Happy Last Week: Week 41

1. That several friends will be joining me at the Ellie Goulding concert on my birthday next year.
2. Being at home for a full week and doing mundane domestic stuff...and baking cinnamon rolls.
3. Seeing some of my team mates (which are spread out over several countries) live and in colour in Vienna this week.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Feeling Blue

When I returned from my recent trip (on which I did shop quite a bit, no surprise there) I suffered slight online-shopping withdrawal symptoms and remembered the cool blue leather and synthetic bag that B1 bought in Vienna 2 years ago when we went shopping together in the summer sale at the Liebeskind Berlin store and I regretted not getting myself when I saw it in action on my visit to Athens this year. It did not impress me that much when she got it, but somehow it had morphed into a really gorgeous bag that I wanted for myself. It was long sold out by then, of course, but I somehow could not get it out of my mind and when in said shopping mood I found this close-enough successor, also on sale. My laptop fits inside so I feel perfectly justified to have purchased another lightweight "business trip" bag...

Monday, October 05, 2015

Things that Made Me Happy Last Week: Week 40

1. Finding out that Ellie Goulding is playing in Vienna on my birthday. Bought tickets for this concert and also for the Wanda concert in April. Great to have something to look forward to in 2016.
2. Getting a warm welcome at the office, which made my return to work after 3 months easier.
3. Swimming at my old pool after quite a long time.
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