v day.

Just a few snapshots from our Valentine’s Day.  We kept it low key with home bakes goodies (red velvet cupcakes of course) and then dinner at Bodega Marques.  It was our first time there and it blew us away.  We loved it so much that we decided to made a reservation for this Saturday night before we left the restaurant last night 🙂  Hope everyone had a love filled and relaxing day!  PS:  We only have 5 days left until our big move!

well hello there winter.

I left the house this morning and there was not a flake of snow to be seen…but after just a few minutes in to my drive to work (which is up a mountain) I was surrounded by these pretty white trees.  It’s a winter wonderland up here yet you would have no idea if you live just a few minutes down the hill.  It’s been a really strange winter so far…relatively mild but with sudden bursts of snow that seem to disappear just as quickly as they came.

♫♪ it’s beginning to look a lot like christmas ♫♪

Just a few personal pics from around the city that we’ve taken the last week or so…it’s so magical around here this time of year! I hope it’s just as lovely wherever you are 🙂

(photos by jetsetbarbie)

hide your kids: krampus is coming!





(personal photo from a Krampus mask stand at Karlsplatz)

Christmas time is often referred to as “the most wonderful time of the year.”  However, in Austria (and other parts of Europe), the holiday season would not be complete without a creepy and scary tradition known as Krampustag.  Krampus is a mythical figure that resembles the devil or some other demon that accompanies St. Nicholas to punish ill-behaved children.  Just take a look at some of the pics above and you”ll realize that Krampus does not mess around.  Scary, right?!  Many villages and small towns still celebrate this dark custom with adults dressing as demons and traveling through streets with torches, whips and chains.  My fiancé’s mom says she still has nightmares about this holiday tradition and it’s easy to understand why!  You can read more about the holiday here and here.

Want to celebrate Krampus day in a less scary way this year?

(send postcards  to family and friends)

(bring cake pops by Karin D. to your next holiday party)

The top city to live in is…Vienna!

“For the third successive year, Vienna was ranked number one as European cities claimed more than half of the top 25 positions in Mercer’s 2011 Quality of Living index, which awards points for a range of criteria, including political and economic stability, culture, health and sanitation, quality of schools, public services and housing.”- Paul Armstrong, CNN

Even though I’ll be moving back to the US in just a few short months, Vienna will always feel like a second home.  It is with great pleasure that I share this wonderful news with you 🙂

For the full article, head on over to:  The top city to live in is … – Business 360 – CNN.com Blogs.

vegan ice cream.

I had been hearing nothing but good things about a new(ish) ice cream store that opened up on Rottenturmstrasse called Eis Greissler.  They use bio, all natural ingredients without any artificial colors, ingredients, etc.  As an added bonus, I heard that they have lactose free ice cream, so of course I wanted to try it!  Every time I passed by there was a long line and I am not a fan of waiting in lines…but lucky for me, I was walking by with the bf the other afternoon and there were only two people in the store.  Score!  We jumped at the chance and headed right in.  

I discovered that while they do not have strictly lactose free varieties, they offer several vegan options, which are also just fine for me and my milk-hating tummy.  I ordered a scoop of strawberry and a scoop of pistachio.  The strawberry was great but nothing to write home about…it was more of a sorbet but with real strawberry bits.  However, the pistachio was TO DIE FOR.  This is coming from a girl who has never even been a big fan of the flavor.  It was so creamy and delicious and even the bf had to agree that you absolutely could not tell that it wasnt ”real” ice cream.  

Speaking of the bf, he is a lucky duck with no dietary restrictions, so he was able to try Caramel, Muffin and Goatcheese flavors.  That’s right, I said goatcheese.  I took a teeny bite and wow- it was so interesting but so good.  I also couldnt resist trying a bit of the muffin and it was my fave.  It made me curse my intolerance but then I took another bite of my pistachio and my sadness magically melted away 🙂

topshop FAIL.

I am SO disappointed and frustrated.  I was very much looking forward to the arrival of this dress that I’d had to order and then re-order for my upcoming birthday party (because the first one sent to me had a broken zipper)…unfortunately, the dress arrived in horrible  condition.  The cups on the top/bustier are completely mishapen with no possibility of smoothing them out.  To top it off, the side seam is completely sewn improperly.  For $140 (85 GBP )I am shocked that the quality is so poor.  So, now I have to send the dress back, again, and now I have to scramble to find something else to wear by Saturday.  That’s not so easy to do in Vienna where it seems like the only options are Zara and H&M 😦

     (take a look at the bust…not sexy!)

highly recommended.

It’s Restaurant Week in Vienna and that means we had the luxury of choosing from over 90 participating restaraunts all offering a 3 course dinner for only 25 EUR.  The family chose Kristian’s Monastiri in the 7th district. The restaurant is unique as it’s  housed in what used to be a monastery.  We were seated in the lovely courtyard near the entrance.  The atmosphere was lovely- cozy, romantic and comfortable.  The service was OUTSTANDING.  The kitchen went above and beyond to accomodate the special needs of our group (lactose free for me, a long list of “cant’s” from the bf’s pregnant sister, etc).  Not only were they gracious in accepting our requests but they actually seemed to enjoy the chance to get creative with substiutions.  The food itself was a modern take on Vienesse/fusion cuisine and it was sepctacular!  We drank many a bottle of  “Roter Muskateller” which is actually a very light, white wine.  It was the perfect compliment to all courses of the meal.  I can very highly recommend this restaurant and look forward to dining here again.

froyo in wien!

As an American living in Vienna, I can tell you that while ice cream and gelato options are in no short supply, what I was really missing was frozen yogurt.  The bf’s family and I even toyed around with the idea of opening our own froyo shop but ultimatley decided against it as we werent sure the idea would really catch on here enough to be profitable.  So, imagine my surprise when not one but THREE new frozen yogurt shops have popped up in the last month or so!

Kurt Pure Frozen Yogurt is located in the 1st district right by the Artis International Cinema-  The location is fabulous (probably the best of the 3) and the store itself is super cute.  One of the owners is a woman from San Diego, California and you can definitely see the Cali influence in the interior design.  The bf, my mom (who was in town visiting) and I stopped by last week to check it out.  Unfortunately for me, they do not carry any soy or lactose free options, so I was unable to try anything.  However, both the bf and my mother were very impressed. and said theirs were delish.  The store also offers a nice customer loyalty program.  If you collect enough of the little discs (pictured below on the side of the yogurt cup) you will get a free froyo.

For those that understand German, you can read a more in depth review on a fellow blogger’s site, here.

The other two stores I have heard of are Foxy Frozen Yogurt and YOKUH.  I have yet to visit them but their homepages look promising.  I am hoping for at least one place to have a soy/lactose free option so that I am able to eat some too 🙂

It will be interesting to see how these shops cope with the cold winter months!

forever 21

There has been quite the buzz in Vienna about the upcoming arrival of a Forever 21.  Signs went up on Kärntnerstrasse before the holidays, but information about the opening has been scarce.


Now, I have it on good authority that the expected opening date will be sometime in March.  Even more exciting is the lastest rumor-  supposedly, a second Forever 21 store will be opening on Mariahilferstrasse as well!

Anyone who has lived in or visited Vienna knows that we are seriously lacking in shopping options.  Besides H&M and Zara, we dont have many other stores we can turn to for inexpensive and on trend items.   Forever 21 was always a “go to” spot for inexpensive pieces to compliment the rest of my wardrobe…I just hope that the inventory remains similar to what is offered in the US!