Birds are chirping, first blossoms are out, one would say it’s the beginning of a beautiful spring. Where has all the ‘snow is falling all around me’ gone? Christmas is the one holiday we associate with snow and the cold but let’s be honest, when was the last time we really had snow for Christmas? This wonderful illusion has accompanied my life for years and I might just have to get used to a sunny Christmas and a snowy Easter and yet I like reminiscing about the good old times. The times I played out in the snow with my friends, believed in the Christkind (nope, no Père Noel or Santa in Austria) and the magic of it. As long as I won’t have to give up on spending some precious time with my loved ones, I guess I can handle it. Just like every 24 of December, this year’s most important holiday started off with my brother cursing the Christmas tree. I guess this year he couldn’t manage to get it straight, or maybe it’s just another way of looking at it…he’s a very grumpy teenager (whoopsie he turned 20 this year but according to his mood swings he’s still in his teenage years) so I am a very understanding sister of course. Christmas lunch included a real Austrian Bratwurst and Sauerkraut. Just a quick lunch before rushing off to the next chores that needed to be done before Christmas Eve. My duty over the past few years has become decorating the Christmas tree. Even though usually the Christkind brings the tree, I quite enjoy decorating it. Maybe it’s because it makes me some kind of Christkind or at least I just like the thought of it…Grandma and I have been decorating the tree for years now as mum always had to work on 24 of December. So it’s kind of become our tradition, a nice tradition as a matter of fact. It gives me time to listen to some Christmas songs and get in the mood (which let’s be honest was a bit difficult with 15 degrees and sunshine). This year’s December was very stressful and I didn’t have much time to enjoy the Christmas markets which is a shame as Strasbourg happens to be the Christmas Capital (have you seen my recent post?). That’s why coming home to the countryside is unbelievably relaxing. I’ve been making use of my spare time to see my friends, family and to do a bit of writing and now here I am sipping french Gewürztraminer, watching Bridget Jones and listening to Christmas Carols.
I just discovered an old entry that I was going to publish before I left Vienna. As I was obviously very busy, I’ve decided to post it anyways as it describes what I’ve been and still am going through and some people might ask themselves what it’s like to move away from home…this entry is dedicated to Diana, a true travel companion!
Diana has been a true friend, never has anyone been this loyal. She’s my lady in baby blue and black and is always full of surprises. As I’m slowly emptying my room, people start asking me questions: are you sad you have to leave the country? Are you excited? What are you going to take with you?
Sometimes coming home is exactly what I need. Don’t get this the wrong way, I love Vienna, but as much as I love it, I also love getting away from it, especially when it’s got about 30 degrees in the city. There are moments where my appreciation for a private garden and just being surrounded by nature and my family could not be exceeded by anything. Coming home sometimes feels like going on a holiday to a different country. The friendliness of the people and the non existant privacy might be seemingly unfamiliar at the start but very nice once used to. Actually knowing the people who live in your house and in your neighbourhood is an advantage that not everyone has and I fully appreciate it. It is a nice feeling to know that your neighbours are happy to see you when you’re back, especially because they have played an important role in your childhood. That’s another thing that I love about coming home. It’s the memories you have about when you were little, but the continuing traditions that make your memories come back to life. When at home, I sometimes have this strange feeling of seeing my younger, blonde me run around on the playground. I remember the long summer nights we stayed outside playing hide and seek and my mum would yell out the window asking for me to come home and I would beg her to stay a little bit longer, even though I was exhausted from playing with my friends all day long. I remember the long summer nights, the bonfire we had to celebrate the solstice, the innocent times. We’d sit next to the fire and watch the huge pile of branches burn until there was nothing left but embers. It is even nicer to see that these traditions you had ten years back still exist today. I would like to thank my neighbours and their friends for bringing up all those great memories of my childhood. Thank you for organizing a great traditional solstice fire (if that word even exists)!
I thought it was about time to introduce you to our almost home town Freistadt. Not only is it a beautiful city situated in the state of Upper Austria, it is also loaded with a long history and traditions.
First of all: welcome to our new page, we hope you enjoy it. We’ve decided to upgrade a little bit and change the website and design as wordpress seems to be a lot easier to handle and it looks good too. 🙂
Lara and I have had a couple of crazy months which didn’t include much free time. This probably explains our lack of writing. Summer has finally hit Vienna and I can’t believe it’s almost been a year that I started my internship in Budapest. Despite the heat, studying, writing and complaining, I managed to take C to the Edward Steichen exhibition at Westlicht, which was absolutely fabulous and every fashion fanatic needs to see. In case you’ve missed out: Edward Steichen is one of the most – if not THE most – influential photographer of Vogue magazine and Vanity Fair. He basically invented high fashion and was damn good at it. His photography was and still is so inspirational, I wanted to go back in time and just hug him. The beauty he captured and the naturalness that came with it were just breathtaking. No photoshop, no extraordinarily thin models but curvy, beautifully dressed women with natural make-up. Definitely something to admire! Here’s a little impression. Enjoy!
February has been quite a relaxing and calm month that involved a lot of thinking. Now that my last semester of one of my degrees is officially over, I need to figure out what I want to do with my life. What career path do I want to take? Which Master’s degree do I wish to take and where? What kind of job do I want to land? So many decisions and I am not very good at it. So ironically I chose to retire from the world and make it stop for a little while and what better place is there for a little pause from reality than your family’s home? The calmness of my current life also reflects my February treasures.
My first favourite of the month I have already mentioned before but I cannot help but mention it again: I’m talking about a book by the very famous Lena Dunham ‘Not that kind of girl’ and it is an absolute must-read for every girl in her twenties. Not that kind of girl is witty, lifelike and thought provoking. I don’t think there’s a better way that helps me understand that it’s okay if I don’t have a plan for everything yet and that sometimes it’s alright if things don’t work out the first time. Being surrounded by American Dream series where pretty little Barbies live their perfect innocent lives sometimes makes us forget who we really are. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my daily dose of ‘The O.C.’ with Rachel Bilson and am still a huge fan of ‘Hart of Dixie’ today but what I’m saying is that those series all have an impact on the way we think about ourselves and about the rest of the world. We get drawn into this perfect little bubble and seem to forget that these stories were made up. It’s nice to have a get-away every now and then and get carried away with dreaming but it’s important to wake up again and be realistic.
That’s what brings me to a second favourite of mine: my ballet shoes. A couple of years ago, I couldn’t imagine my life without dancing (and dancing at clubs doesn’t count) and now it’s been about 5 years that I haven’t set a foot to a dance studio and yes, for a girl who’s had dancing lessons for 10 years that’s an incredibly long time! So I’ve decided to go back to what once used to be so precious to me and signed up for dancing lessons (yep, it’s taken me 5 years to make that decision).
What I like about coming home is the little things I keep rediscovering in my house. It’s nice to find new things that I’ve had for a long time and they still make me put on a smile. I recently found a heart-shaped necklace with an engraved butterfly that I got from my auntie&uncle as a thank you gift for being a flower girl at their wedding. It’s quite a deep memory to me and this little necklace might seem so meaningless to some people but to me it’s a symbol of love that two people gave me at their wedding. I mean to a little eight-year old girl I was back then it was quite a big gesture and it still means a lot to me today and it does a great job as an accessory for my outfits.
Another February treasure of mine is my new old love for lipstick. Perhaps it’s the Valentine’s Day spirit that is still occupying my mind right now but Essence has quite some nice new shades of red and nude at the moment (sorry no grey there) that I cannot get my hands off. I started wearing lipstick when I was still quite young and I probably shouldn’t have, as I looked rather ridiculous. Today I am a little bit more careful with what lipstick I wear and how I wear it but I believe it’s a personal experience that every girl needs to go through on her own to figure out what fits best.
My rosebud lip balm that I got at UrbanOutfitters in London, my Chloé love story and an arm ring that my host family got me from New Zealand are some other favourites of mine that have sweetened my stay in Upper Austria.
Now I’m curious…what are your personal February treasures? Please leave a comment and tell us about your favourites of the month.
P.S.: And how could I forget to mention my favourite tulips and coffee?
A wedding’s always a perfect opportunity to wear a pretty robe, get dressed up and wear high heels. My mum’s been coping with my dress addiction for almost 24 years now. Every time I go shopping I hear her whingeing: ‘Another bloody dress?’ And I keep telling her, there will be a perfect moment for me to wear it, trust me, and she just rolls her eyes. I admit I understand mum’s hesitation. I have about thirty dresses in my closet and half of them have either been worn once or never. But as I said: time will come and it has! At least for my navy-blue dress that I bought in Australia about two years ago. I have this habit of buying dresses overseas just because I like to tease people. ‘Oh what a pretty dress you’ve got! Where’d you get it?’ ‘Hm, sorry, but this one’s from Canberra.’. I apologize that this is not an advertisement of a brand-new dress or coat or shoes that I had just bought recently. Just try to think of it as a reminder that things don’t always have to be new for them to look good. I get attached to things easily and therefore every piece I have comes with a certain memory. Like the dress that I graduated in, or the dress that I wore to my cousin’s wedding, or the dress that I wore on my first day of my internship and yes, I’m a very emotional person. So I was happy to add another memory to my navy-blue dress that I wore to my other cousin’s wedding. Getting dressed for a wedding is never easy, as you try not to steal the bride’s attention. This is why I chose to go for a rather simple dress, coat and high heels, all in matching blue colours. My baby blue coat from Zara has been a great companion for the past two years. It’s very simple but that’s what’s so perfect about it. You can dress it up with a lovely dress and high heels like my outfit for the wedding, or you can dress it down by simply wearing jeans, a shirt and booties. As it reads in ‘How to be Parisian wherever you are’: you need to find an item that makes you feel good about yourself no matter what, and this is mine. Perhaps it’s also the Parisian look of it that makes me feel good about it, who knows?
Here’s what I wore: dress (Dotti), jacket (Zara), high heels (Zara), bag (H&M), watch (Casio)