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Tuesday
Mar092010

The Big Dream, Part 1. 

It´s time to share with you what´s been going on in my life for the past half year. But first of all, I must tell you that I always wanted to live abroad (abroad = a country where people speak a different language. Austria does not count, even if the language is not quite the same). I wanted to do a college year in the US, then I wanted to do an au pair year in England, then I was going to study in Italy, then once I thought about quitting my job to do an MBA in New York, then my company wanted me to work from London for six months, and so on and so forth... you get the idea. It never worked out because I had fallen in love recently, or the circumstances weren´t quite right, or I got a job offer, or I didn´t have the guts in the end.

Still, this was one of my big big dreams and when I met M., this was something he shared. We always talked about that we´d jump on any opportunity that would arise. And then, in October last year, M. came home and said his company wanted him to go to the US to establish a branch there. To the west coast, San Francisco or Seattle. And yes, we jumped on that opportunity. Big time. We even married in a rush to make it possible for me to get a visa (don´t get me wrong, I don´t regret having married that man, and we had a lovely wedding, so no harm done - but still). I read all the relevant forums on the interwebs from tip to toe and I bought several hundred books and we went on a honeymoon to decide where we wanted to live.

Alas, there´s no happy end to this story. I can´t get into details about this (and I don´t want to either, I get too upset every time), but it´s most probably not going to happen. Not. As simple and devastating as that. I lived four months preparing for "the big adventure" to come. I thought I was really close to my big dream this time. Do you know how hard it is to just stop dreaming? I think maybe it´s not meant to be. I´ll give up on that one.

So. What are my plans now? Stay tuned for part 2 of this story... you´ll be surprised.

Tuesday
Mar092010

Bedroom Storage Ideas. 

One of you lovely readers asked me a question over at Formspring and I thought it was a good one - because we are all familiar with the problem: You go to bed, you´re tired, you dump your clothes on the next available chair in the bedroom (or something, the husband even has a "dump it on the floor policy" which makes me mad) and that´s that. Not pretty. Not even good for your clothes actually. So do I have any ideas for stylish solutions? Yes I do. Actually, Car Moebel does. I knew they had some pretty knobs, that´s why I checked their website in the first place. Turns out they have some really fancy solutions.

1) is my favorite - it would be nice to display pretty dresses here. If my bedroom was larger, I´d totally buy this. Solutions 2), 3), 4) and 5) are simple and good: knobs or a rack of hooks on the wall, but make sure they´re pretty (can you stand the sweetness of 4?). Solution 6) is more like a freestanding wardrobe... but still, nice! 7) is a solution for small spaces - use some baskets! 8) is maybe not the best idea for clothes, but just too cute not to include.

Oh, and here´s another great idea - while I don´t like the look of this specific one, I think it would be an easy DIY project.

PS: Please forgive my very basic Photoshop skills.

(Pictures by Car Moebel).

Monday
Mar082010

Small Pleasures. 

The weekend was only so-so. I was cranky, the husband was a bit sick. And we still didn´t make our thank-you-for-the-presents-wedding-cards (there must be a better word for this?!).  It´s been six weeks since our wedding, I think we should get going. But this weekend, all I could manage was to curl up on the sofa and watch Big Love on DVD and bark at the husband who couldn´t do anything right (I can be a terrible person).

But really, I blame the weather - no spring at all anymore in Vienna. It´s really cold again - around minus 10 degree Celsius yesterday night. I know we need to have patience, spring will come eventually. In the meantime, you´ll find me in the kitchen every weekend baking cinammon rolls (here´s the recipe, in German only though - sorry!). And then, eating cinammon rolls. And then, complaining on how fat I´ve become.

But really, it´s all about the small pleasures to get through winter, right? Today I met a lovely old lady who told me some of her life story (she lives in Paris, South France and Vienna, how glamorous) while we were waiting in line to renew our drivers licenses (mine has been stolen, hers was expired). We were both unsuccessful because of some missing papers, which sucked big time after standing in line for about an hour. But once we got out of the agency, she was all smiles again. "Look!", she exclaimed, pointing to the sky, "The sun is shining!".

And she is right. We should be thankful for the small things. Only she is going to South France next week and I´m not.

(Shut up, cranky me. Cinammon rolls! The sun is shining! Life is good!)

Saturday
Mar062010

Oh, Ireland.

Ireland has been on my mind a lot lately. That is because I have been cooking recipes from the Avoca Cookbook for weeks now. If you don´t know Avoca, read their story here. And if you happen to be in Ireland, make sure you visit one of their stores and eat in one of their cafés. Their food is amazing. But then again, Ireland as a country is amazing.

I have a love affair with Ireland since my parents brought me there for a family holiday 17 years ago (ugh, I´m old). Later I took my first backpacker trip there when I was 18. These are fond memories. I think we visited a fair share of pubs in the two weeks we spent there. Oh well. However - these days, I have a brother who lives in Dublin, Ireland, so this is a good excuse to visit the country again and again. The pictures above are from a trip we did last year in August to the Wicklow Mountains. We stayed near the very first Avoca mill (nowadays their headquarters).

So, the cookbook. It is amazing and I totally recommend it if you like salads, tartes and soups. If features a range of vegetarian dishes, too. Be sure to question the quantities specified in the recipes though. The fluids seem to be a bit on the wild side. The tarte recipe I made today (caremelized onions and three cheeses) called for one litre cream. Yikes! I used 250 ml and it turned out just fine.

One thing from the book I made twice in the last weeks is the fennel potatoe soup. It´s so easy and so delicious. You´ll need fennel and potatoe in equal parts. Cook with some vegetable stock until tender, blend in the food processor, done. Love it.

Friday
Mar052010

Five Senses. 

Dou you know Abby? You should! She takes the bestest pictures. I need to buy one (or two, or three) of her lovely photo prints real soon, if only I could decide which one I want. However, she does something called "Five Senses Friday" on her blog, here she explains where it came from. I love the idea and thought I´d play along. So here goes!

Seeing: A different kind of light.

Hearing: The wind howling around the house (it´s been stormy lately).

Tasting: A defrosted apple pie I baked back in summer.

Touching: My new summer dresses whenever I see them in the closet.

Smelling: The first earthy, springy smells in the garden.