Summer Second Hand Clothing Haul

Nothing beats a successful second-hand clothing haul. When vintage & recycled shopping it is often hit or miss. Sometimes you walk away with nothing to show for your hard work and sometimes you walk away with a mother load. I love nothing more than combing through racks and racks of old clothes until I end up finding a gem for myself. Or even better multiple gems! Which was what happened to me yesterday.  I basically managed to upgrade my summer wardrobe for €20.00.  It was like the vintage stars aligned to bring me a bounty of everything I had been lately looking for.

As you can probably see I am in full Summer Vacay mode and cant wait to hit beach as soon as possible.

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I have been searching for weeks for a new pair of denim shorts. Everything in store seems to be too high-waisted and way too short for anyone over the age of 21. So I was so ecstatic when i found this baby for €5.00. They are the perfect mid wash boyfriend cut with a decent length and appropriate distressing. I can see myself living in these puppies.

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I couldn’t resist grabbing this vintage blouse when I saw it. It is the most beautiful peach colour and the print looks like it has been hand painted. Note to self be careful when washing.  It’s a little too cropped of a top then I would normally go for but I plan to wear it over a swimsuit so I am not bare mid drifting anyone. Plus it was only €3.00. I can also imagine it paired with some light denim higher waist jeans.

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Once again Stripes. I cant help myself. This is going to be worn as a dress over my swimsuit and paired with sandals or white converse. It’s actually a men’s XXL dress shirt but will be the perfect beach cover up. All for €4.00

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Another pair of denim shorts. Dark blue wash with a quite high waist. I will make these my dressier shorts because of the wash and save them more for city strolling. Also bought for €5.00.

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Finally my last score of the day was this incredible vintage straw beach bag. I have been on a serious hunt for an all straw beach bag for ages and this one fit all of my criteria. Not too big, not too small. No weird embellishments or typography and it was only €3.00. I am obsessed with everything straw this summer.

So yeah that’s how you update your summer wardrobe or supplement a vacation wardrobe for under €20.00. Which means more money for shoes and cocktails!

 

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Just Peachy

Summer is finally here and I am feeling just peachy.  Vienna is almost a whole different city in Summer. It;s like the whole city collectively comes outside again to enjoy the open air and parks and plazas.

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So I grabbed the prefect loose dress for a 30 degree day to stroll around town and eat ice cream. This peachy dress is Mango from a few seasons ago, but I think its pretty timeless.

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It has the prettiest shoulder embroidery and I am obsessed with this muted peachy orangey pink pallete lately. It’s also loose and forgiving for maximum ice cream consumption.

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Also new in finally are my new favourite summer sandals. The Arizona Birkenstocks in metallic copper.  I am a Birkenstocks girl from way back when and love to wear them in an ageing hippie ironic way. I also have a very delicate foot from years of high heels in my hooker days ( thats a joke) Can I just say these are so unbelievably comfortable i may just sleep in them.

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Come On Vienna Smile On Your Brother

Everyone come together to love one another.

After 5 years living in Vienna as an Australian expat there are many wonderful things I can say about this country. The culture , the arts, the socialism. The access to reasonably priced organic seasonal food and so many more fantastic reasons to love this city.  We have all read those reports Vienna Austria has topped Mercer’s list of cities offering the highest quality of life year after year.

Truly apart from the long winters which is no ones fault apart from some geographical bad luck Vienna is truly a great place to live, to raise a family & to grow old in.

But…… If I could change one thing about Vienna it would be society’s approach to people. People on the streets. People in the shops. On the trams. In the bars.

More specifically people you don’t know. Strangers.

I was raised on the ethos that a stranger is a friend you haven’t met. Here in Austria all strangers seem to be considered enemies you don’t know or just people who don’t seem to exist.

Don’t get me wrong the Viennese are among some of the nicest people I have ever met. But the word met is the operative word in this sentence. For a local to embrace or entertain you without wary and a level of caution it is usually by the way of introduction. Then you are welcomed. And then as people the Vienese are exceptionally kind and very gracious. But as far as walking into a bar or strolling in your neighbourhood and meeting someone new – you will be always be held  at an arm’s length by a Viennese person.

When I first arrived in Vienna I was overjoyed. Happy to be in a new country with the man I love & full of excitement at the start of a new adventure. I smiled at everyone and everything around me. In the post office line, at the supermarket & in cute coffee houses.  Basically everywhere I went.  Eventually my Austrian boyfriend cautioned me to perhaps stop smiling at everyone. Explaining smiling can makes Austrians think you are hitting on them or perhaps you could be seen as intellectually a little disabled. Or even worse your smile makes them uncomfortable.  At first I thought he was crazy and killing my buzz. No one had ever told me to stop smiling except when i was a child getting in trouble and wasnt taking the matter seriously enough. But it turns out he was right. 

I once did a small experiment of my own I was traveling from one side of the city to the other for a teaching gig on the Vienna subway. Which is amazing by the way. I smiled at every single person who crossed my path. Most looked away. Some people looked at me in shock and then distasteful. Some looked at me like I was crazy and some men took it as a sexual invitation. But not one Viennese adult smiled genuinely back at me. The only people to return an easy smile were all the children. They werent old enough to have become cynical and wary but were just little open-hearted creatures.

Why the fear Vienna?

Is it a remnant from your war-torn history? Which I in no way pretend to understand. What’s to be afraid of – a young woman in broad daylight smiling and saying a hello to a stranger? 

Eventually I adapted to the Austrian way. Quiet subways. My head down as I strolled briskly on the streets. Eventually those 1.8 million Vienna strangers surrounding me in this beautiful city slowly stopped existing to me. Like shadows on a street. I tried my hardest to accept and respect the local customs. Telling myself the old age adage when in Rome do as the Romans do. 

Until 2 years into my Austrian expat life I found myself feeling anxious, depressed and isolated. Even though I lived in a new country and culture with a different language I wasn’t learning anything and despite a great group of friends & a supportive loving partner.  I felt desolate and less like myself than I ever had.

And one day it hit me like a ton of bricks. It wasnt the incredibly long winters. Although it’s not my favourite.  I missed the sun in winter but more strongly I missed the sunshine in my soul that I always loved sharing with the world around me. Being warm to others.

I missed smiling at strangers.

Not just that I missed desperately connecting with people on the very base level of perhaps chatting to an old lady on the bus. Cracking a joke with the barrista. Not meeting or connecting with anyone I wouldn’t normally meet outside my close social circle left me feeling more lonely than missing even my own family.

And isn’t that what humanity is Vienna? That connection collectively to other humans? Not just those you have known since grade school?

Humanity means to me the kindness of strangers. Chance meetings with other people. Smiling at someone who looks sad. Asking someone who is upset if they are ok.

Giving someone you dont know a complimet. Or receiving one. A compliment from a stranger can cheer up even the worst day. Not a compliment from someone who loves you enough to feel obligated to give one. But just a random person on the street telling you they like your outfit because they think its truly bitching. Or something as simple as being told to have a great day.

I know what you want to say Vienna in defence. I’ve been told by many. You can see that this is something sadly missing in your culture. But isnt this a better approach than the American school of over gregarious phony friendliness? Which the Vienese  have a big no time for. My reply is that no one is asking you to jump up and down on a couch Tom Cruise style. All I am asking from you is a tiny little smile.

So after this realisation I decided to not do as the Romans do. And do what the Australians do and just talk the ear off anyone. And just be myself. I am a super friendly and curious person. I am also self deprecating and I love to make people laugh. And what makes me feel the best about myself is connecting to everything & everone around me. Even the grumpiest of Vienese old ladies.

So I started smiling. Not caring what  faces reflected back at me. I started to say hello to people in my neighbourhood. I made it my personal mission to make the supermarket employees laugh. I danced jigs in grocery stores. I asked people that looked distraught if they were ok. I started patting every dog I met and asking the owners what their names are. I told mothers their babies were adorable. I played peek a boo with todddlers on the tram. And it made me happy.

I didnt feel the need to conform. I didnt want to contribute to propergate the fear of unknown people as something to be scared or stay away from.

And slowly I felt like myself.

If I could have one wish for this beautiful city it’s for all Vienna to smile on their brother. Talk to a stranger. Meet someone on the street and learn something you would have never learnt in your circle. Smile more. Be kind to people. Recognise that sometimes it’s not the love of those we already have that we need. It’s a greater love between humans that is the connection we all seek.

So I implore you Vienna open up your arms a little wider. Trust in people a little deeper. Nothing bad will happen except that just maybe you may end up feeling  a little happier and alot more connected.

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Second Hand Stripes

For the past few weeks I have been living in stripes.  Every morning I am channeling my inner sailor / Parisian.  The weather is finally starting to rewarm up and its perfect blazer weather. NO MORE COATS zone for me. This second-hand stripe shirt is a new addition. I think it’s actually a vintage 80’s by the tag attached. But it looks like something you can buy off the shelves right now. And at a whopping €3.00 a total steal.

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I love these jeans but they are a little too high-waisted for sitting, eating or bending over. I call them my standing only jeans.  They almost have me craving some low slung g-string showing jeans from the 90’s. Almost.

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I also call this look the mullet. I am business casual on top and party down the bottom.

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Everyday Essentials

My everyday essentials. Things I could live without but really don’t want to. All things I never leave the house without. My go to everyday must haves before I leave my house and start my day.

essentials1.jpgNarciso Rodriguez For Her Perfume. I have tried many scents  in my lifetime and this perfume always stays my favorite. It’s an elegant and delicate fragrance filled with musk,floral, amber and woody notes. I never leave home without a mist of this.

Wrist Watch.  Up until the last few years I never wore a watch. And now its something I feel naked without. I like oversized masculine type watches. And am always looking to add to my collection.

Nail Polish.  I never not have my nails polished. Except maybe a few weeks in summer to give them a vacation of their own. I lean towards either neutral tones as above in Summer/Spring. And dark reds, blacks, navy’s & burgundy in Fall Winter. I love painted nails and nail polish.

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Sunglasses. I wear sunglasses everyday even when it’s raining. It’s a habit from Australia. And i just think the world looks better in shade. I don’t wear make up everyday so sunglasses are great cover up. My signature is the Ray Ban aviator and has been for years. But i pretty much like all sunglasses and couldn’t live without sunglasses.

Dark Lipstick. This is a new essential for me. I never used to like lipstick but I think I have reached that sweet spot age wise were lipstick looks great. It adds a bit of drama and makes you feel polished and ready to take on the world.

Jewelery.  My everyday jewelry is my 2 engagement rings (don’t ask). I wear them everyday except when I am mad at my partner and punish him. Even though he doesn’t really notice. And my new half-moon gold necklace I got this year from Christmas. The rest of my jewelry is interchangeable but these are my everyday essentials.

Concealer. I suffer from dark eye circles and don’t often leave the house without a small amount of concealer concealing.

Phone. Because it’s just the way it is. I hate when I forget my phone at home. It makes me panicky.