Friday, December 31, 2010

Festival o' babes...


Diplo-husband's birthday falls on December 31st so he always gets a built in party for his birthday...usually.  This year, with diplo-baby's arrival, we were a bit more low-key - in DC we celebrate with with a table full of good friends and dancing to euro-disco-pop classics at Bistro du Coin, and last year we got all dolled up and rang the new year in at the KaiserBall, officially kicking off the ball season together with Valentino...and my parents.  Needless to say, Valentino was not with us, but who's counting - he was there and so were we.  His tan was decidedly better than mine.

This year, we decided to take advantage of our central location, and have a few friends who have also recently aquired babes.  Since the baby thing was new enough, the menu featured things we've made before - the turkey breast from Thanksgiving (it came out a weensy bit too done), roasted potatoes (came out a weensy bit not done enough), a mixed green salad with blue cheese (diplo-husband's favorite), but add enough bubbly in the mix and no one will notice - or at least, they won't notice out loud.  Top it off with nearly an hour of the most spectacular fireworks I've ever seen from our living room windows, and church bells from Stefansdom ringing in the change of the year - all in all, pretty good for a year we thought we would have to stay in.

The one exception to the tried and true was a run at a new cake recipe.  For the big happy birthday finale, we did an old-fashioned banana cake with cream cheese frosting from Ina Garten.  I'm pleased to say it was just right  - here's to wishing my diplo-husband a very happy birthday, and a very happy new year to all the readers in 2011!  And don't forget your pigs!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Austria-isms: This little piggy went to Vienna...


Right after Christmas, once they whisk the Christmas markets and stalls away (though Gluwein stands get to stay through carnival - hurrah!), a caravan of white pop-up vans stealthily rolls into town in Vienna, all of them selling...pigs.  Stuffed pigs, glass pigs, plastic pigs, obscene pigs, hats that look like pigs, cheap pigs, expensive pigs, big pigs, small pigs...you name it.  Last year, we were away for the Christmas holiday but came back for New Year's and couldn't figure out what was going on with all these pigs. 

As it turns out, pigs are a sign of good luck here in Austria (or at least, in Vienna), and known as the "gluckschwein" ("lucky pig").  Perhaps this has something to do with the Austrian love of pork and pork products.  The idea is that you buy these for good luck in the coming new year.  And then new year's day, the caravans are gone with nary a pig in sight.  Here's to good luck in 2011!










Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Diplo-Man of Style: Tom Ford


We just came from a Christmas party the other day, and upon leaving the hostesses house, I spied a black bag from the Tom Ford boutique in the hallway.  Perhaps someone brought something as a gift, perhaps a guest had her flats in there - who cares - it still made me a wee bit envious as I haven't seen the boutique myself yet in NYC.  Not that there's anything for me in there, but certainly good gift material for the gentlemen in your life.

There's a scene in Ferris Bueller when Sloane has to describe Ferris as he poses as Abe Frauman ("the Sausage King of Chicago") to the snooty/snotty maitre d' at the fictional Chez Quis, and she calls him "devastatingly handsome".  That phrase always comes to mind when I see Tom Ford.  He's stylish and he keeps women stylish - what's not to love? He makes a five o'clock shadow look like a must have accessory, and he defines the way a tuxedo is meant to be worn (sorry, James Bond).  Here's to his return to women's fashion - can't wait to see what's next!







Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Object of My Affection: Holiday Elva...

Ladies, ladies, ladies-  new necklaces are up from Elva Fields! You've heard me say it before and I'll say it again, I love these gems.  Perfect with a white pressed shirt, sheath dress, cashmere crewneck...even plain white or black t shirt.  Also, mark your calendars for January 6th when Elva Fields launches their annual sale. 

Here are my picks from the latest collection - enjoy!




Monday, December 27, 2010

My Favorite Things: White Christmas


A few years back, a friend of mine suggested that we watch White Christmas while we were Washington, DC.  A few bottles of red flowed away, as well as a few tears over the plight of the pensioned General Waverly and Bing Crosby's crooning about unemployed military leaders, and it's been a tradition to watch the movie every year ever since.

Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney do most of the vocal heavy lifting, Vera-Ellen does most of the heavy duty dancing (with her nearly non-existent waist), and Danny Kaye most of the comedy - the jokes are a bit hokey but it helps make it a classic.

The caper begins when the two gentlemen audition the sisters at a supper club, and then end up with some elaborate plan to have the boys replace them on stage, run off in a cab, take their train compartment while the guys end up sitting in the dining car, all going to Vermont, all because the ladies owe their landlord $200 for a hole in the rug they claim they didn't make - it sets the stage for the rest of the movie, but I can't help but agree with Bing Crosby when he says, "Why don't we just pay the guys $200???".







Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sunday Shots: Christmas Sparkle...


In Vienna, the Christmas trees come with real sparklers...

Photography by The New Diplomat's Wife.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Holiday Travel

Last year was a marathon travel year for the holidays - back and forth from Vienna to the US, coast to heartland to coast.  Nothing beats being with as much family as possible for the holidays but with all of the snowstorms here in Europe last year, it seemed we spent more time on the plane than actually with our loved ones.  This year, we're parked here in Vienna due to diplo-baby, but we'll be having our first merry little Christmas of our own, which is exciting too. 

I confess I had a small sense of relief when this year's weather reports and flight cancellations started coming in, but for those on the go this year, here's to wishing you blue skies and happy holidays!  Here is a little something the gals at High Gloss put together on travel attire - personally, if you're headed in the direction of snowstorms, you might want to dial down the dainty flats and re-focus on boots and layers.  Also, don't forget your change of unmentionables and a toothbrush!


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

United Nations Living

The thing about having diplo-baby at home is that there are periods of time when it seems like fifteen things are colliding at once, and then completely down periods of time when she's sleeping and it's oddly quiet.  During the down periods, I try to catch some rest myself, but was also able to catch up on mail and reading. 

This month's House Beautiful issue predicts that one of the next big trends in home decorating will be "UN living" - a mix of styles from all over the world, which, for those of us living here and there I think has already been the norm.  Perhaps that makes us ahead of the curve? Here's a gorgeous home that they profiled that captures this mix, and for all of the global elements, who would have guessed that it's located in Vero Beach, Florida?











All photos from House Beautiful.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Favorite Things: Orange Boxes, Brown Ribbons

"Brown paper packages tied up with strings"....so sings Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music as one of her favorite things.  I have to say I like them too - especially since it's rare to get brown paper packages with string these days, but always the sign of something good inside.

So too are orange boxes with brown ribbons, blue boxes with white ribbons, red boxes with gold lettering, brown boxes with leather ribbon....all packages that mean something special.  As recovery moves along, we went out for a walk today and Hermes had a some lovely window displays for the holidays, as they do even when it's not the holidays.  Enjoy the view from the Vienna store - who knows, maybe a few of their orange boxes will make it under your tree this year!





Photography by The New Diplomat's Wife.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Holiday Style from Ms. Lujo

Getting settled after the arrival of our diplo-baby - happy and healthy and glad to be at home, though adjusting to new routines is taking some getting used to.  While I get up and running, I thought I would share some of the lovely work Ms. Lujo has been doing, profiling her lovely holiday ensembles for various diplo-events around town in Mexico City.  As I'm doing most of my living in pyjamas at the hospital, they definitely made me look forward to skinnier and more festive days ahead!