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Dienstag, 23. Dezember 2014

holiday post

Hello peeps!

Just a quick note to let you know that I'll be offline for the holidays. Just half a workday and then I'm off with my man to visit his family in Salzburg. And then the last rehearsals. And then our play. 7 times!! So there won't be time for blogging.

I hope you all have a wonderful christmas. Enjoy the time with your beloved ones and I wish you all a happy new year 2015! Read you next year.

And because a post is always nicer with a picture: Here is one of the sunrise that I saw on my way to the train station this morning.

xoxo Emma!

Freitag, 19. Dezember 2014

Taking Stock in December

Making : a cushion cover for my sister-in-law. Hopefully ready for Christmas.
Cooking : NOTHING. I'm really bad at cooking at the moment. I ate way too much fast food in the last few weeks...this has to change after christmas!!

Drinking : "Glühwein", which is something like mulled wine. Hot wine and christmassy spices. I love it.
Reading: A lot. For some examples have a look at this post
Wanting: knowing the lines for this years' play. Just one more week until the premiere. I feel so unprepared...
Looking: forward to the holidays. 2 weeks off work! Yay!
Playing: "the devils new dresses". That's the title of our play.
Deciding: what I will wear on stage. Probably not a dress this year, as I have to hide under a table several times during the play.
Wishing: for the holidays to be joyful and happy
Enjoying: working on some last minute christmas crochet projects. One is finished, one will be done over the weekend. I hope.
Waiting: for the voucher that I got for this online yarn store. Need some material to start working on the baby blanket for my niece/nephew.
Liking: the fact that after this weekend my man and I will have two weeks together. I hardly saw him the last couple of weeks and I miss him, although we live together. Does this sound crazy?
Wondering: if the weather will stay this mild throughout the winter. Right now it's 12 degrees and sunshine outisde
Loving: the fact that we will have our first rehearsal on stage tonight!
Watching: Gilmore Girls. I'v watched the whole series a thousand times and right now I'm doing it again. I still LOVE it!
Hoping: that I will learn my lines over the weekend...
Marvelling: over the new shoes I HAD TO buy for our production. They're perfect!
Needing: More time to learn my lines! ;-)
Smelling: christmas. Cookies at home, mulled wine on my way to work, the advent wreath in our kitchen...
Wearing: my new shoes that I HAD TO buy for our production.
Following: fashion and make up blogs, lately. Though I'm not really into fashion. Strange habit.
Noticing: that people are gettinge more and more hectic whereas I'm beginning to feel calm and relaxed.
Knowing: that I have all the christmas presents for my loved ones and that everyone is going to like them very much!
Thinking: that I'm really looking forward to the holiday season!
Feeling: calm and relaxed and excited and nervous and happy all at once!
Sorting: through my wool stash. It really has decreased, which is good as I need place for new stuff!
Buying: some great Baby Merino yarn from my christmas voucher
Getting: really nervous when thinking about the premiere. I know, I'm repeating myself but this is really dominating my life right now!
Bookmarking: baby blanket pattern. I have to decide between two.
Disliking: the fact that people are so hectic and annoyed and stressed. This is supposed to be the quiet time of the year!

Opening: some presents really soon. My man is making me so curious as he exclaims that he has the best present ever for me. Considering that he proposed to me last Christmas I can't really think of any material thing that could possibly top this!
Giggling: at the Gilmore Girls. Still funny.
Feeling: really happy with my life right now. Everything is great!
Snacking: Christmas cookies. What else?
Wishing: Everyone a merry Christmas and happy holidays!

Montag, 15. Dezember 2014

come take a walk with me

As you probably know by now, I work in Vienna but I don't live there. I live about 40 minute drive away, in a small town in the very flat very beautiful east of Austria. So I commute to work by train every day, which isn't really bad, once you get used to it, because it gives me plenty of reading time. Well, not plenty, as there is no such thing as enough time for reading, but it gives me more time as I did have when I commuted by car. 

Anyway. We had our Christmas party last week. It was very simple and laid back. There are just 15 people in my office and we all went to have dinner at a nice Italian restaurant in the city centre of Vienna. Because my last train went at 9 and we just met at 7, I decided to stay at a friend. She has her home just a 20 minute walk away from the city centre. 
So I walked there after our christmas party and walked back to work the next day. And now you probably get the title of the post. 

I took some photos when I walked around in the evening of the beautiful christmas lights that are hanging everywhere in the first district of Vienna and I took even more photos when I went to work early in the morning, wandering along the Danube river, watching the sun rising. 
Now I'm not really a city girl, I prefer the countryside over living in a big city with way too many people crammed in way to little space, but I have to admit, Vienna got me this time. But enough talk from myself. I rather let the pictures speak. And I know the quality of the photos isn't the best, but I just snapped them on my phone as I didn't really plan to see all those beautiful things. So please enjoy them, even if they are a little blurry.

Let's start our walk from my office. This is the street that I walk to and from the tube station everyday. I love, how the light just hangs there. 

I pass the back of St.Stephens Cathedral. There's a little Christmas market right now. I'm going to visit it tomorrow with some friends. 

This is my favourite. It's the "Rotenturmstraße" which means something like "red tower street"! Hence the massive overflow of red. 

These actually dim and light up from time to time. I actually had to wait a while for them to be bright enough to take a picture! 

And that's the famous "Graben"! It's a popular shopping area, if you have the necessary money to go shopping at Gucci and Prada. 

And last but not least - St.Stephen's Cathedral. Beautiful, isn't it? 

But let's fast forward. I had my Christmas party, I went to sleep, I got up again and made my way back to work. No need for morw words here! 

Hope you enjoyed my massive photo overload. I love the last one, where the sunlight reflects on the roof of the cathedral. 

Wish you happy pre-Christmas days! Do you have all your presents, yet? I got the present thing covered but am more nervous about our production this year. Just 11 more days until the premiere! Wish me luck! 

Dienstag, 9. Dezember 2014

a year in books: December

I can't believe that another month has passed. 2014 is surely getting along really fast. Anyway, new month, new list of books.

I've been busy reading this past month. Not only did I do my usual reading in the train to and back from work (45 minutes each, so I get a solid 1,5 hour reading time every day. Count to that, that I'm an exceptionally quick reader and you can see that I get through a lot of books each year!) but I did a lot of reading in the evenings at home. The weather has been awful in the last weeks. Rain and wind, wind and rain. Perfect weather for snuggling up on the couch with a crocheted blanket (what else), a cup of tea and a book. So here's what I've been reading in November:

Nick Hornby - Funny Girl

I LOVE Nick Hornby. High Fidelity is one of my all-time favourite books. So I was really excited when I learned that he has a new one coming out. I bought it as soon as possible and read it in two sittings. This has happened with nearly all Nick Hornby books that I've read so far. I just can't put them down.

Funny Girl is a book about Barbara, a small-town girl in the 60s who wants to be playing a role in a comedy series on TV. And as luck has it - she's able to fulfill her dreams.

Nick Hornby wrote a funny but also a very thoughtful book. It really gives you the impression to be in the middle of the 60s. Though I've absolutely no idea how it must have been to live in London, 50 years ago, reading the book made me think I was in the middle of that era. In his usual style Hornby tells the story of Barbara, who made it, who lived her dream. But he also tells about all the sad and hard times she has to go through to have the career she always wanted. If you want a quick and funny read, Funny Girl is the book for you! 

Chuck Klosterman - Downtown Owl

Now I remember the first time I read a book from Chuck Klosterman. I wandered around my favourite bookstore when I picked up a copy of "Killing yourself to live, 85% of a true story". Only in German, the "killing yourself to live" part was omitted and the "85% of a true story" was it, that caught my eye. When I finished reading the book I went online and bought everything else that Klosterman has ever written. 
Most of his books are collections of his many essays. Klosterman writes about sports and rock music and typical pop culture phenomenons. Downtown Owl was his first novel.

In this, he tells the story of a few different people who live in the small town owl. At first, nothing happens. I mean, of course something happens, but Klosterman tells the everyday lives and experiences and thoughts and feelings from each of the persons perspectives. And then IT HAPPENS. I'm not going to tell you what happend, obviously, as I don't want to spoil the book for you. In fact, I want you to go to the next bookstore to buy this book, because you really won't regret it. The ending is amazing. It left me breathless. It gave me goosebumps. It nearly made me cry and whoever knows me, knows that I really don't cry easily. 
I've read Downtown Owl before. This was probably my third time reading it. I'll do it again.

Donal Ryan - The Thing About December

I got that book from work, the German translation isn't published yet and I was able to read it before it'll be published. Such are the perks of my job. But anyhow, apparently the book has been available in english for quite a while now. 
I won't say too much about that book. It reminded me of Frank McCourts "Angelas Ashes" though it wasn't nearly as good as that. Angelas Ashes is a masterpiece. Which reminds me, that I haven't read that book in a long time either. Should really read it again.
Where was I? Oh yeah, Donal Ryan. The story started rather good. An Irish boy, clumsy, overweight and a little slow at thinking tells the story of his life. Right in the beginning of the book his parents die. First his father, who has got cancer, than his mother, who couldn't bear to live alone and died from grieve. The story than unravels how the boy deals with this new situation as an orphan. The story has it ups and downs, but it meanders along without any real highlights. The end was a bit surprising, but not so surprising as to change my opinion about that book. Plus, I always had Angelas Ashes in mind, so throughout the whole book it surprised me when there was talk about telephones, internet or cells. 

Read it once, probably won't read it again.

J.K. Rowling - The Casual Vacancy

I first read this book three years ago. I saw it in a bookstore, when I've been on holiday in Malta with a good friend of mine. Wonderful holiday, by the way, but visiting Malta is always great. Just saying. 
I already heard a lot about that book. Good things. Bad things. My cousin didn't like it. I read great reviews in the paper. But normally I don't really give much about the opinions of other. A lot of well-praised books were utterly boring to me. Others, that weren't even mentioned in the media belong to my all-time favourites. 
So I bought that book (I love buying books as souvenirs) and waited until I came back home, to read it. I was living with my parents at that time, waiting for December to come so I could board my plane to Bangkok and join my man in his travels around the world. Strange time, that was. 
Anyway, I remember waking up on a Sunday morning, with the book on my bedside table. Now one of the things that I enjoy most on free days is being able to wake up and go straight to reading. I love doing that whenever I can. So I started reading that book. And I didn't put it down. And I'm not just saying this, I really mean it. The only times when I stopped reading was when I had to go to the toilet or have a quick bite to eat.
I. READ. THAT. BOOK. In one day. In one sitting. At once. And I loved it. I loved every single page of it! See, I really like the structure of that book. I love it, when one story gets told out of different perspectives. It's the same with Downtown Owl. Same story. But depending on whos telling it, the story changes. Different things become important, different outcomes are happening. 

It's the same with this book. And when I finally took that plane to Thailand, and left Thailand again and took a plane to Manila and from there on I took a plane to Palawan and I spend one of the greatest weeks I ever had there, I read the book again. I had a massive sunburn from snorkeling at the most beautiful island that I've ever seen and so I spend two days at our wonderful bungalow, eating fresh coconuts that had fallen from the palm trees in front of our hut, munching on the most delicious bananas that I've ever tasted and gobbling down tons of the ripest and juciest and sweetest mangos ever known to man - rereading that book.

And now I rereread it. And I'm sure it's not the last time that I've done so. To me, J.K. Rowling is an amazing writer. She managed to turn a children's book about a little wizard into the most gripping and imaginative stories that I know. And now she managed to tell a rather "banal" story, a story that could have happened that way in real life. And she wrote it in a way that makes it unable for you to put the book down, before you finished it.

So, when you're in that bookstore, buying Downtown Owl, ask the bookseller if he has a copy of the Casual Vacancy lying around. You won't regret it.

And if you're still reading - thank you, by the way - just keep on reading a little bit more, as I have the best recommendation left here for the end.

Jeffrey Eugenides - Middlesex

Now I think that I've already recommended that book  in another post, quite a while ago. But one can never recommend Middlesex enough. I actually don't really remember the first time reading it. I think it was the summer 2011, when I had an internship at a library in Vienna. At least I have a picture of me sitting in front of the library, during my break, sipping coffee and reading that book. Which is a posture that you get to see quite often, if you know me. I really do a lot of coffee sipping and book reading.

Middlesex is the story about a taboo. It tells the story of Calliope, a Hermaphrodite, though she doesn't know this until she's fourteen. But more than that, Middlesex tells the story of a Greece, that doesn't exist that way anymore. It tells a story about war, about love and secrecy, about forbidden marriages, guilt, fear and loss. It tells the story about bravery, about new beginnings, about children, caring, growing up, being confused, about feeling lonely and sad and happy and ignorant and naive. 
Middlesex is one of the great novel of our times. Jeffrey Eugenides won the Pulitzer Price for it and in my opinion, it is underrated. 

I must be the fourth or fifth time that I'm reading this book. And it gets me. It gets me everytime. It still leaves me dazzled, with my jaw dropping and my mind blown by the talent and the great gift that this man has, to be able to put words into sentences and these sentences into chapters and these chapters into this book that loses nothing of its charm and fascinating curiosity that engulfes you when you start reading the first pages.

Okay, in addition to Downtown Owl and Casual Vacancy you HAVE to buy Middlesex. And take some time off, when you've done so. Because you won't be able to stop reading. You will read page after page after page, without being able to put it down. And when you finally finished it, it will leave you struck. It will make you sad and happy at once. And after a few weeks or months or even years you will read it again. And I'm pretty sure that this will continue for the rest of your lives. You think I'm exaggerating? You don't believe me? Go on then. Buy the book, experience what I told you and then come back here and tell me that I was right. I'd love to hear that! 

Dienstag, 2. Dezember 2014

handmade: Advent wreath

Hello lovely ladies and thanks for the nice comments about the christmas stall! 

The first weekend has been a success. At least that's what I'm told. As this stall is my man's project I'm actually not really involved with it. I just provided the decoration! ;) 

While he stood in the booth in the cold, I spend the weekend at home with my parents. Only 25 days until the premiere of our play this year!!! That's really soon! So we had two rehearsals on the weekend. Other than practicing my role as an arrogant carreer-driven fashion journalist (this is the opposite of me in SO many ways but that's what makes it all the more fun!) I used the time with my mum to make an advent wreath.

I always helped my mum making it and when I moved in with my man more than one year ago, I started to make my own. So this is the second wreath that I made all by myself and all for myself. It's now standing on the kitchen table, taking up the little space we have and making my home more christmassy and cosy.

I really love it, it makes me happy, everytime I look at it! 

Other than that I enjoy my evenings at home. The man works in the christmas stall so when I come home from work the appartment is empty. And can I be honest? I LOVE IT! Of course I miss my man and yes, I am happy to see him when he gets home, but I really cherish those two or three hours that I have every evening to myself! I come home and usually enjoy a long shower before I cuddle up on the couch with a crochet wip (currently the top for my mom. I REALLY need to finish that!), a cup of tea and some chocolate and watch ALL seasons of the Gilmore Girls again. I really love that series. My man isn't really a fan and IF he watches them he wants to watch in German as his english isn't that good. And I hate to watch the translated version. So I can watch it the way I want it, without anyone nagging next to me. Got to enjoy the little things in life!