Monday Question – Your Top Five Part IV: Favorite Things

Today I want to know about material things you love. After books, music and movies, we take a look at the things we love to surround ourselves with, the things we love to look at, collect or admire from afar. What are the to five things or activitites you enjoy? What is the stuff you love? Please share your list with us!




My Answer:


Art hopper-drug-store

Edward Hopper is hands-down my favorite artist. I can’t really explain why, his work just speaks to me as it is the case with the best pieces of art – too much rational explanation takes away the magic. (Nothing against art history -on the contrary; context is important, knowledge is power – but sometimes the best things need and want no explanations).



hermes scarves

Hermès is my mother ship, no news here. But I love scarves in general, having something protective about my person feels good. A very expensive, very beautiful security blanket maybe?


Leather Goods


I love leather. Small things like notebooks, wallets, card holders, pouches and big things like handbags. Beautiful high quality leather that is skillfully treated and made into useful things makes me happy. I don’t need (rather avoid) ostentatious labels, it is the craftsmanship I go for. My favorite artisans are Robert Horn Vienna, Smythson of Bond Street and Hermès, although the latter remains in the realm of dreams, as I am neither equipped nor prepared to spend that kind of money.


Food avocado toast bon appetit I have to say food is a very important thing for me. I love treating myself. I go through food phases, and the avocado on bruschetta (or some other toasted bread or even better Schüttelbrot) is my favorite right now. So good! What else can’t I live without? Chocolate, nougat, marzipan, macarons… a habit which clearly necessitates the next thing on my list:


Yoga/Pilates 30-Day Challenge on



I recently started going to Pilates classes here in Vienna and I’m completely happy with them. My only regret is that I didn’t do that a long time ago! In addition I do yoga at home with the lovely Erin Motz whom who can see in the video above, She is great and I find myself craving the fantastic stretches and poses of yoga daily. Very unusual behaviour for me! 😉


What are the five things you love at the moment?


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61 Responses to Monday Question – Your Top Five Part IV: Favorite Things

  1. Hey Birgit,
    Loving this series. Favourite things I surround myself with…
    1. Friends. I know, daggy and boring cliche but these amazing people that are in my life make it so much fun and a joy to live. Not just my Sydney buddies but all over the world.
    2. Food. I love it when we all sit around and eat together. Jin sets up a table full of food sometimes and we all make Vietnamese Rice Rolls or Nori Seaweed Rolls. It’s always fun and having our hands busy means conversation flows. These are times I treasure.
    3. Art. My favourite artist is Gloria Petyarre, she is the only Australian artist ever to be asked to do an Hermes scarf. We have a couple of them here and her amazing use of colour, shape and shade never fail to excite and inspire me.
    4. Fabric: I have had so much fabric over the years, collected from all over the world. I love to incorporate international flavours into my costumes and it’s always nice to have something completely different to everyone else. A couple of years ago I cleaned out my fabric cupboard and gave loads to the young queens starting, I still see those fabrics on girls on stage and in the gay media.
    5. Tea. I love tea. To be honest I’m not a connoisseur but here there must be about 50 varieties that I love to pick and chose from, then 8 times out of ten I just pick the regular black tea and love it as much.
    Portia xx

  2. Sandra says:

    I love your list Birgit! Edward Hopper paintings are brilliant.
    My favorite things at the moment are:
    1. plants and orchids – loving the color that I get in the flat and on the balcony in spring and summer.
    2. Silk Scarves – you know how I love them – enough said, my wallet certainly cannot take anymore.
    3. Paints – the smell of opening up a tube of paint and then working with it.
    4. Tea – mostly green and white tea with no flavor but sometimes with a tropical twist like mango slices or ginger slices or even goji berries.
    5. Egg free, gluten free carrot cake! with icing no less. Finally managed.

  3. Jane EP says:

    Hi Birgit – these get harder, not easier lol. Loved your responses too Portia!

    Anyway, here goes:

    1. My two sons are the light of my life and connecting with them and seeing them pass through the different ages brings me enormous joy.

    I am a foodie and so could make this list all about world food, but from all of the kitchen gadgets that I use, I guess two have the most rotation:

    2. My professional icecream maker. I adore whipping up different flavours and types in just a few minutes. Gelati, low fat/low sugar, kulfi, yogurt .. Yum.

    and ..

    3. Coffee maker(s) – I think I have just about every sort in existence including traditional Italian and Arabic pots (electric and stove top). I have even been through phases of buying the green beans and roasting them at home. Glorious aroma. I drink gallons of the stuff every day and don’t care if it’s good for me or not lol. Can’t live without it.

    4. IT – I find the subject endlessly fascinating and try to pass some of this enthusiasm on to my students. I am a gadget freak and also have an enabling co-worker and we are as bad as each other.

    5. Writing. I can’t imagine not putting electronic pen to paper. I enjoy writing screenplays, in particular.

    6. DIY – I’ve been whipping my lovely home into shape over the past couple of years and it is starting to look loved. Home truly is where the heart is.

  4. Ana says:

    Fun question!I couldn’t chime in the other series,as it was impossible for me to choose,and even now it’s hard enough but,there we go:

    1.Leather and wool:I love tough leather jackets,shoes,handbags wool scarves and cozy jumpers,in a way I have to as weather is generally quite fierce in Ireland and my wardrobe has adapted accordingly. I used to favor a lot more feminine and flirty style,but as my life has become tougher rather than easier,I now favor armor style clothing.I need protection,both literally and figuratively speaking.My two most worn items now are my Superdry dark brown leather jacket which is cut like a short double breasted tight fitting blazer and my purple Doc Martens

    2.Sunglasses.(at the mo I have three pairs 2 Celine and 1 Marni) I like the way they transform my face adding mistique and a sort of inscrutable sensuality.The lips become the focus of attention which brings me to number

    3.Make up and body care.I am naturally pretty but pale and a bit wishy washy looking so make up is still essential and it brings me great pleasure to see my features so beautifully enhanced.And I adore slathering loads of oils on my body skin,washing my hair with lovely shampoos,the odd scrub now and then,generally speaking I would love to live in a big spa.

    4.Food.I have a thing for avocado as well,I simply love guacamole.I would eat it all the time.I like garlic,hummus and natural yogurts.A simple tomato salad gives me great pleasure too.

    5.Hot drinks.Tea and decaf coffee also a cacao and macca hot chocolate with a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg or vanilla,the combinations are endless.I work in a coffee shop and every weekend I miss the convenience of having my hot drinks facilities around.

  5. Ankica/Bellatrix says:

    Hm.. I will try… 🙂

    1. Paper, postcards and paper organizers
    – for writing ostcards, letters, for scheduling…

    – I could lose myself for hours… I love traditional and digital art

    3. Meetings in coffee bars with friend(s)
    – relaxing and fun

    4. Lying on the beach after 6 pm
    – less people, not so hot, just me and perhaps a book about perfumes

    5. Watching series with my hubby
    – we are currently crazy about the Wire so it became like our second job. 😀

  6. Sabine says:

    Hallo Birgit, Love your question and all the answers as well.
    1. Not really things, I know, but I love and adore cats. Not only my two new furry firends, Heather&Russell, but all cats. I volunteer at a local cat shelter and always have a bag of treats with me for local strays.
    2. Patterns. I enjoy creating them, looking at them, finding them in all things around me. Symetry is beauty. I used to screen print my designs on fabric and but have not done that for a while and I hope my muse will come back.
    3. Art and Design. I had thought that may be your fourth question would be favourite piece of art, and I’m glad that you kept it a lot more open because chosing 5 artworks I love would have been difficult. I don’t have a favourite artwork, not even an artists, but art is something I constantly engage with. That sounds probably a bit poncy, but what I mean is that most of my inspiration and a lot of my internal musings are based on art and design.
    4. Walking/Hiking. When I was younger the idea of going a walk in the countryside was totally ludicrous, something that old people did. And may be I was right because now that I am old people, I love it.
    5. Food and Drink. I love to cook and to eat and drink well. To chose one thing from this wide field is difficult, but I will go for my newest interest: Gin. Lovely gin. I am a novice and very happy to learn.

  7. ladywinther says:

    Love your list, Birgit! Hopper is one of my favourite artists too.

    1. The sea. The sounds, the smell, the wetness…just sitting on the beach, closing my eyes and listening to the waves, the birds, the boats…healing to me.
    2. Food. I have more than 100 cookbooks, but maybe just a handful that I use on a regular basis.Love to cook, love to eat, love the colours, the chemistry, love to cook for and share a meal with the people I love.
    3.Dogs. My dog, Harry in particular. He’s a Lagotto Romagnolo and the most incredible creature ever- he truly is my fluffy son.
    4.Music. Have been singing all my life, can’t imagine a world without music, but I know it wouldn’t be half as good as WITH.
    5. Books. Being able to read has made me who I am. Not only novels annd short stories, but also books on history, art, photography, philosophy….Books are more important to us than we know.

    other stuff….hiking, picking flowers, perfume of course, the theatre, sitting in my garden an early morning, enjoing a cup of tea.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I had books in my list today, but ended up deleting them because of the separate books post, but I so agree with you, books are the most important thing for me too.

  8. Alice says:

    I love your five, and could just about have said ‘snap’, especially to the avocado, but here are 5 just for me:
    bags (love them, and smaller bags to go inside them) – just win by a hairs breath over shoes
    walks through London streets and parks with my partner
    lunch or brunch out with friends (much prefer this to evenings out, and prefer casual meals)
    waterfronts, harbours and sailing
    my apartment, especially early morning with a cup of tea or a good coffee

  9. Anka says:

    If I don’t count people or animals, then my favorite five activities would probably be:
    1. Reading and discussing literature – I have a book club and we’re reading Anthony Marra “A constellation of vital phenomena” right now, I can higly recommend that book!
    2. Playing impro-theatre (it’s the most fun activity)
    3.Drinking coffee – my favorite place is a café in my neighbourhood where they serve the best coffee in town, funnily it’s called “Fiaker” and they offer Einspänner, too.
    4. Reading perfume blogs…of course!!!
    5. Enjoying flora (trees, plants, flowers, tea etc. I can appreciate it most during a good walk and in company with my husband).

    (Btw, I started Feldenkrais one year ago, it’s so effective and unpretentious, you can even leave your jeans on and do it everywhere, anytime you want. Will give Pilates a try soon. But all of these activities are connected with being reasonable and preventive and not so much with being favorite things…but maybe attitude changes one day.)

  10. Andre Moreau says:

    Well, it’s a difficult task…or maybe not so difficult!
    1-Food in the kitchen: the smell of food during cooking is the Final Frontier of aromas, since I live in Italy I can say it…..
    2-My Jasmine walls with Wisteria roof, in the garden.
    3-Walking inside forests
    4-My citrus trees (oranges, lemons…)
    5- Anything good-smelling

  11. Annina says:

    Hi Birgit!

    Things I love:

    1: Yoga. It’s saving my life, quite honestly. It eases stress, focuses my mind, and helps chronic pain.

    2. Art. Any medium, almost any artist. My strongest preference is impressionist painters, and my children’s creations.

    3. Makeup. I now have a small collection, but I’m a retired makeup artist. Makeup is like art supplies to me. Lipstick in particular. Pretty much applies to most beauty products – I’m also a skin care junkie. Aside from perfume, everything else I use is certified safe and clean/toxin and chemical free (Eco-cert/organic/BDIH). But I have a soft spot for Chanel.

    4. Recipes. I am a total foodie, but I have some food restrictions, so I love to collect recipes for meals/desserts I can really enjoy. I don’t love to cook (but my DH does), but I like to bake. I also adore my new Vitamix blender!

    5. My music. I have hundreds of CDs, downloads, and records. I love almost any genre (exceptions: rap, hip-hop, modern country). I listen to music almost constantly.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I never knew how great yoga really is, I crave it all the time, the body just feels so much better! Thank you (and Arline and Brie) for gently nudging me in that direction for quite some time. 🙂

      Makeup – I so get it!

  12. Lynley says:

    Edward Hopper is my favorite artist too Birgit, they way he captures the emptiness of space and time. I also love an Australian artist named Anwen Keeling for similar reasons. I studied architecture and art history as my specialization at uni, so art is definitely #1.
    #2 antiques/vintage. Furniture, art glass, mirrors, coats, clothes, hats, china, tins.. I have many collections.
    #3 cooking. I love food, love cooking. Baking and middle eastern & Mediterranean mostly.
    #4 gardening. I don’t have a lot of space but my courtyard is full of fruit trees, potted plants, flowers, herbs, and lots of coloured furniture, windchimes etc.
    #5 books, movies, music, the arts in general are a big part of my life. Going to concerts, the opera, pub gigs, blues clubs, etc. I like to see what’s going on out there 🙂

  13. Suzanne says:

    Hi, Birgit. Here’s my list of material things I love:

    1) Travel. I would love to do more of it, but even just one great trip a year makes me happy.
    2) Art. I have a small collection of bird prints in my home and would add more if I had space. I particularly like the fairy tale illustrations of Kay Nielsen.
    3) Plants, particularly annuals, as they’re so very colorful and can be planted densely to create a whirl of color outdoors.
    4) Boots and shoes. If I could afford it, I would buy and wear boots endlessly, even in summer, though I try to resist that temptation.
    5) Food, particularly steak dinners, big salads, cappuccinos and lattes, fresh berries, and ice cream.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Wouldn’t it be great to combine all five of these in Vienna? Plenty of art, great gardens and parks, many shoe shops, fabulous food and you have to travel to get here! (I’m on an unsubtle mission to not so subliminally influence your next travel destination decision.)

  14. arline says:

    CREATIVE EXPRESSION. I do my best, to infuse everything I do, through the energy of creativity, beauty and flow. I am an artist and yoga teacher, yet I don’t see much of a difference in how I approach a painting, a practice or a class that I teach. This I suppose leads me to my second favorite thing.

    LAYERS I appreciate the many layers in say a painting for example. I love the layers of meaning that it as well as words can have. I love the layers of people, and enjoy getting to see many through the ones that I care about. I love to reveal the layers within myself, and clear out what is not needed any longer.

    PERSONAL STYLE. This relates to creative expression, though I did not want to say fashion, as fashion is an industry, style is what a person has, or has yet to tap into. I like to include interiors within that, because I love to put my house together in an artful way. I have become obsessed with piintrist.

    SCENT This is a no brainer and connects with everything that I have said thus far.

    TRAVEL I have only done a small amount of traveling so far, though I intend to bring more into my experience. I would love to take people on yoga retreats around the world. (my friend Jessica and I are planning a yoga/ aroma therapy retreat in France, hopefully this september)

    You said five, but I could appreciate none of this without including , that with out my body and senses, sight, smell, touch, feeling intuition.


    • Olfactoria says:

      Such a beautiful comment, dear Arline! I really must thank you for inspiring me a to take up yoga. I think about you often these days. 🙂

      • arline says:

        Im so glad you are practicing yoga. I love it so 🙂 So many things have opened up in my world because of it.

  15. cookie queen says:

    All make-up. Couldn´t go out without it.
    Chilies. I love all things überhot.
    Flip flops. I feel free.
    My car. My second home.
    My Professional Kitchen Aid. It changed my working life.
    Andy Warhol.

    Never could count.


  16. shellyw says:

    I love my bernese mountain dog- it is really nice to come home at the end of the day and get a snuggle with so little asked in return. I wish I could post a pic 🙂

  17. anatu13 says:

    Things we love to surround ourselves with/love to look at: Things from my grandma’s house–brass coffee table with Arabic designs, wooden Indonesian sculpture of a young woman, silver and glass coasters from her wedding, copper-y lamp w/stamped designs, long carved wooden thing she always had on her dining or buffet table, etc.; china balloon lady that used to be my mom’s; Grimms’ Fairy Tales books and Giovanni Fidelli book (special beautifully illustrated books from my childhood)
    Collect: Framed photos of family and especially my daughters, flowers in my flower garden, books, my perfume collection
    Admire from afar: Art museums, Vermont/New Hampshire landscape on the way to pick up my girls from school
    Activities: Tabletop roleplaying games, editing
    Misc.: Tall high-heeled Harley-Davidson boots

  18. Vanessa says:

    Afraid this will have to be snappy, as I am embroiled in vetting sanitaryware on an epic scale, but five favourite things (not necessarily THE five, you understand) would be:
    1) Dry white wine – with salty snacks as a sub- / related category (Kettle Chips being the ultimate, followed by mini-poppadums and prawn crackers.
    2) Wool – the therapeutic value of touching my stash of colourful balls, or looking at the mosaic I have created in the spare bedroom wool basket…
    3) Fine bone china and tactile Mexican glass with bubbles and hobnail patterns.
    4) Sumptuous curtain fabric and silken tassles – stroking both sets of bedroom curtains has become a bit of a ritual
    5) Beautiful retro paperbacks – thinking of the designs from Persephone books. They give out free bookmarks with each order, all of which have winged their way to fumeheads in the USA, in their important capacity as genuine decoys on the customs label.
    Here’s their design philosophy!

    Actually, if I had a sixth category, I am deriving a surprising amount of pleasure from contemplating pure white pedestal basins at the moment, of a rectangular design with a nod towards Art Deco styling!

    • Olfactoria says:

      I love how you immerse yourself in the decoration of your house. I admire that very much and I wish I could be lie that. I always just want to get it over with. No Martha Stewart, me. 😉

      Wonderful list, V, thanks for sharing. I can just see you stroking those tassels…

  19. jdennard75 says:

    Another fun exercise in thinking about favourite things.

    Pocket knives: the men in my family have carried pocket knives going back several generations. And I enjoy continuing the tradition. I find them to be an indispensible tool on a daily basis. I most often carry a Case brand knife.

    Double edge razors: I have never enjoyed modern means of shaving- catridge and electric razors, specifically. Once I found out from my Dad about DE razors and tried them I never looked back. They are more comfortable than modern shavers- and the “cool” factor of using a tool like my grandfather used is nice to me as well.

    Fountain pens: My brother got me into fountain pens years ago. I use all sorts of pens depending on what is around when I need to write something down. But I love to write a letter to a loved one using a fountain pen and nice paper.

    Watching Football/Soccer: I love the game of football and am a longtime supporter of Arsenal FC.

    Walks in nature: I make a point to spend some time outside every day that I can. Walking around in my backyard or anywhere outdoors is a wonderful time to get some fresh air and excercise and clear my mind.

  20. Tara says:

    What amazing readers OT has with the most cultured and unique interests. Loved reading the comments. I’m not nearly as interesting but here are 5 things making me happy:

    1. The Valentine’s card made for me by my niece which sits by my computer.
    2. The young cherry tree in my garden given to me by my dear friend, which has recently blossomed.
    3. My Kindle which has revolutionised reading for me.
    4. My iPod which lets me tune out the world on London public transport.
    5. My GHD hair straighteners which are essential for a closet curly like me.

    Very happy you’re getting so much from Pilates and Yoga, Birgit. The fact you are even craving it is amazing. I envy and admire you.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I thought the same, our readers are an interesting bunch!

      Lovely things on your list, Tara. The Kindle is a godsend indeed.

    • Lavanya says:

      Tara and Birgit- do you find you read more because of the kindle? I have been on the fence about whether or not I need one (I almost got one for my birthday and then didn’t). I haven’t been able to read much lately so wondering whether the kindle will magically change and if you don’t mind, which model of the kindle do you have? TIA 🙂

      • Olfactoria says:

        I do read more with the Kindle. It is so small, slim and portable and even if I don’t take it with me, I can read on my Kindle app on the iPhone. So no spare moment goes to waste without readig a few pages. 🙂
        I have the Paperwhite with 3G.

  21. Lady Jane Grey says:

    Having pretty things around me makes me relaxed: flowers, sculptures from Giacometti (I mean in a museum, of course), handmade cashmere scarves, Alfonso mango, holiday in Vaucluse … (plus a session of Hatha yoga)

  22. Katherine says:

    Good friends with food and wine, anywhere and anytime. Vintage black and white photos, especially Texas Farms.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Vintage photos of Texas farms – that sounds intriguing. Must investigate…

      • Katherine says:

        1920’s through the 50’s, especially sepia toned. Usually a traveling photographer/vagabond would offer to take pictures for food. I find them in old antique shops for a few dollars up to $50.00 depending on size. My family photos on the farm during the 1930’s are my favorites.


    That’s such a sweet series, B. 🙂
    A shame I’ve missed the start, but work has been insane lately.
    Your top 5 is very elegant indeed, and I share your love for Smythson

    Lemme see, what are my 5 favourite THINGS?..

    Number 1 would be my Apple stuff.
    I’m not a fangirl but I love how this company does business and means business and owns innovation and even greennovation. Gotta love. I have the feeling they take feedback seriously, however large a corporation they’ve become. And they let others have a share in their success (with apps and Co.), let other people’s imagination run wild with the help of their devices. I love what I can do with my iPad, iPhone, and MacBook, and moreover, what people who are hundred times more creative than I can do. It’s insane, it’s the future.
    2. Games!
    I have a few all-time favourites that I can play for hours, or restart and play again, among others Skyrim, Oblivion, Bayonetta, Diablo III, the Broken Sword series, and countless “oldies” that I can’t play anymore, obvisouly, but hold dear for their innovative spirit (the Gabriel Knight series, for example).
    3. Fountain pens and stationery.
    I can spend a fortune in a “Papeterie” as such shops are called over here 🙂 I can nerd out at nibs, calligraphy pens, inks, papers, punches, luxurious Italian prints, and – related to this – art supplies…
    4. My “collection” of perfume ads.
    5. Books – real books, kindle books, iBooks,…

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hello Nath,
      I’m sorry you are having a stressful time, you taking the time to comment is much appreciated.

      I’m so with you when it comes to papeteries, they come right after perfumeries in my favorite shops category. 😉

      • BEAUTYCALYPSE says:

        For me, they beat the perfumeries 😀
        It would be, I guess Apple store > stationery store > deli > specialist perfumery 😉

  24. lucasai says:

    Tea, candles, incense sticks, home deco,

  25. Pingback: Monday Question – Your Top Five Part V: Perfumes | Olfactoria's Travels

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