Monday, February 28, 2011

Who invented Migros Nanomania

In one of my earlier posts (Nanomania in Switzeland), I did promise to find out who invented the absurd but highly effective Migos marketing Nanomania lure.

Migros admits it has taken the idea from the United States where the Nanos are called Mighty Beanz.

Mighty Beanz are collectible toys manufactured by Moose Enterprises, a corporation headquartered in Melbourne, Australia. Mr Stul took over the Moose business with his partner, joint owner and the company's director of product development, Jacqui Tobias in 2000. Moose had seven employees when the pair took over and had an annual turnover of $10 million. Is a great Victorian business success story, having done what few toy companies in Australia have been able to achieve - it has taken its quirky and inventive toy creations to the rest of the world and in doing so has quadrupled its annual sales to $43 million in three years. Moose services 42 countries these days, with half its export revenues generated in what is generally considered the toughest toy market in the world, the US. Moose does all its design and development work locally, but like almost all toy makers these days, it manufactures its products in China.

Moose's breakthrough toy is Mighty Beanz, which Mr Stul describes as a collectable version of Mexican jumping beans. "The secret there was that we made them collectable and gave them endearing character designs," he says.

Moose launched Mighty Beanz in the Australian market in 2002 and the toy launched in the United States that summer. Besides the five main series of Mighty Beanz, Moose also produced licensed Beanz based on Marvel superheroes, The Simpsons, Pokémon and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. So just you wait for Migros next marketing wave with Superman and Bart Simpsons, we'll have to fight our way into the Migros stores!!!!

Mighty Beanz have become a large collector's commodity and prices vary on sites such as Ebay based on rarity of the Beanz. The highest rate at the moment is US 770.00 for a complete set from 2004. (This still doesn't cover my cost of CHF 960.- spent in Migros to receive 48 Nanos)

Just wait until they launch the Special Edition Beanz: G-Force Bean, Crash Test Dummy Bean, Genie Bean, Daredevil Bean, Computer Bean, Skeleton Bean and Hollywood Stunt Bean or Space Moose Bean.

If you are still curious about the Mighty Beanz click here.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

...and the Oscar goes to Harry Winston

"Talk to me Harry Winston, tell me all about it"
Marilyn Monroe in Diamonds Are A Girls' Best Friend

We are counting down to Hollywood's biggest night: the Academy Award ceremony.

Since the 1943 Academy Awards, when Harry Winston outfitted the lady of the night, Jennifer Jones, with her jewelry, Winston has lent the who's who of Hollywood royalty that extra sparkle--and, some say, a lucky charm--on the night of nights. Each year, Winston lends a staggering $200 million worth of jewelry to celebrities. As those very celebrities walk down the red carpet dressed in the likes of Gucci, Versace or Cavalli, one other name is always implied: Harry Winston, jeweler to the stars.

For this year's Oscars, celebrities collectively borrowed $40 million worth of jewelry from the exclusive designer. For 71st Annual Academy Awards, host Whoppi Goldberg alone added that extra sparkle with $41 million in Winston jewelry--including a rumored $15 million diamond ring. Halle Berry was wearing Harry Winston's famous Pumpkin Diamond Ring (the world's largest vivid-orange diamond ring), worth $3 million, when she accepted her Oscar; and Elizabeth Taylor, the queen of diamonds herself, was also loaned $3 million worth of jewelry for Oscar night.

In 1950, Harry Winston, the namesake of the House, was nicknamed by the press "The King of Diamonds"; and with good reason! Winston got his start in the jewelry business when at the age of 12. In 1908, he purchased a glass stone for $2, he later sold that same stone for $800.  It turns out it was an emerald. In 1920 he organized his first business, "The Premier Diamond Company" in New York City. In 1932, Winston acquired the jewelry collection of Rebecca Stoddard for $1 million. The early thirties saw Winston transition from wholesaler to retailer when he opened the first "Harry Winston" in New York City.

Winston has held more of the world's most famous jewels than any other group, with the exception of the British Crown. Although Winston does have some competition in Hollywood, with other retailers looking to outfit the stars on Oscar night, the King of Diamonds is likely to prevail over any competition and remain the premier jeweler to the stars.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Pink Luxury

“A house is made of walls and beams; a home is built with love and dreams.”

Here is a home full of light, color and life. The Micheli Residence comes from Italian architect Simone Micheli and was built for the artist’s family. Located in a beautiful part of Florence, you are looking at a home which does not involve only a fabulous design. The architect meant to transform a regular living space into one that would reflect the creator’s architectural focus: “Ethical Luxury”. Here is more information on the concept from Simone Micheli: “ …the new luxury does not mean immobility or habit, but rather freedom and movement. It is a light and stirring thought, at any moment we are able to choose where and how to live and to reinvent the environment we live in. As for architecture the new luxury is related to the idea of regaining the beauties and the truth of our daily life together with our inner feelings”.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Casting Call for Fox Town's treasure hunt!

Take the spotlight, participate and win.
Be as smart as a fox and participate in 
Fox Town's "Treasure Hunt"

Inscriptions are open until March 6, 2011 for the "Treasure Hunt" of the Fox Town Factory Stores in Mendrisio, organized in collaboration with TeleTicino, Radio 3iii and

Live on TV:
Don't miss a fun opportunity to win a purchase voucher to spend at the shops in Fox Town and become the protagonist of the television programme aired from March 28th, 2011 on TeleTicino. Ten episodes, each of which will see two rivals under pressure to find all the clues that will lead to the treasure. And as in every race, who comes first wins!

The winner will receive a voucher worth CHF 200 .- to spend in Fox Town.
But there is also a consolation prize: a voucher of CHF 50.-.

How to participate:
Forwarding your application is really simple: either ask for a form at Fox Town's infopoint and through it into the ballot box or go online here, print out the form and bring it to the Infopoint ballot box.

The casting call:
All applications will be evaluated during the casting which will be held at the television studios of TeleTicino in Melide. The committee will select the 20 players who will animate the game and content for the prizes while followed by the cameras.

How to Play:
The game is a true treasure hunt. Two opponents for each episode. Four clues each to decipher. The cameras will follow the reasoning and the actions of each competitor. The contestants are allowed to seek help from the customers in the stores.

Only one aim: to cross the finish line first!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Facts & Stats about Lugano

“My rank is the highest known in Switzerland: I'm a free citizen.”
George Bernard Shaw

Swiss Population: 7'782'900 (2009)
Percentage of foreigners: 21.7%

Population of Canton Ticino: 335'720
Percentage of foreigners: 25%

Lugano's population: 58'658 (2010)
Percentage of foreigners: 38% (Italy, Portugal, Serbia, Germany, Bosnia, Kosovo)
Divorces: 334

National Swiss Languages:
German - 63.7%
French - 19.2%
Italian - 7.6%
Romansch - 0.6%
Other - 8.9%

The Ticino with an area of 2,812, or 6.8% of the total area of Switzerland is the only Swiss Canton entirely situated south of the Alps.

The major towns of the Canton are Lugano, Locarno, Bellinzona, Chiasso and Mendrisio.

Full time employment rate (women): 42.8%
Full time employment rate (men): 87.1%
Part time employees (women): 57.2%
Part time employees (men): 12.9%
Unemployment rate: 3.7%
Employed foreigners that cross the border every day: 22%

The gross Cantonal product surpasses 10 billion Euro and represents 3.8% of the Gross National Product. For a population of 335,000, the per capita Gross National Product is 30,000 Euro.

Roman Catholic: 67.9%
Swiss Reformed Church: 5.7%
Other churches: 17.8%
N/A: 8.6%

Health insurance:
Every resident is required by law to have the minimum Swiss health insurance coverage. The standard of medical care in Switzerland is very high, with short waiting lists and world-class hospitals.

Did you know that the Swiss are the world's recycling champions? They recycle more than 90% of their bottles and jars!

Zabaglione al Prosecco recipe

"Champagne is the only wine that leaves a woman beautiful after drinking it."
Madame De Pompadour

Today's post is post for Mummies rather than kids.
How about indulging in some Prosecco Zabaglione at supper? Fast, easy and delicious this dessert sets the right mood for a romantic tête-à-tête or can top off your perfect dinner party.

8 free-range egg yolks

100gr caster sugar

175ml Prosecco (Spumante/Cava/Sparkling white wine)

1. Place a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water and place the egg yolks and sugar into it. Make sure the base of the bowl does not touch the simmering water.

2. Using an electric whisk, start whisking the egg yolks and sugar in the bowl over the simmering water. The mixture will become pale and thick like whipped double cream, and it should triple in volume and be very frothy. This could take up to 15 minutes but it's worth the wait.

3. Continue whisking and slowly pour in the Prosecco.

4. Pour the zabaglione into eight dessert glasses and serve immediately.

Mmmmm, que c'est bon!!!!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"My Switzerland" - put your drawing on 1 million Coop milk cartons this summer

Participate in Coop's drawing contest "My Switzerland - as seen through the eyes of children"...and make them forget those Nanos for a while!!!!!

Ever wondered how the "little ones" perceive Swiss traditions? Do stereotypes such as chocolate and watches still persist? It is for children to say! Coop is searching for answers. All children - ages 5 to 11 - living in Switzerland are invited to create a design for the next Coop milk carton and to participate in the second major design competition organized by Coop.

Of all the works received,  a panel of experts will select 20 designs that will be published in Coop's weekly newspaper. An online vote at will designate the six most beautiful designs on the theme "This is typically Swiss", which will be printed on the packaging of 1 million UHT milk & Coop Qualité Prix for sale in the summer of 2011 throughout Switzerland.

Not only glory await the six lucky winners, but also a nice prize: a vacation for everyone at a family farm. The 14 second-placed children win an adventurous night in the hay with their family, including breakfast, on a farm of their choice.

Here's how it works: 
Just arm yourself with brush, crayons or markers, and unleash creativity by drawing a "oeuvre d'art" with the "Switzerland and its traditions" theme. 

Important: The drawing should not to be larger than 14 x 14 centimeters!
You will find a booklet in all Coop stores with a sample square of the right size and all information related to the competition or else download here

The masterpieces are to be sent in a stamped envelope with the form completely filled out and signed by the parents no later than March 15, 2011 to: 

COOP - Redazione Cooperazione
Concorso Latte
PO Box 2550
Basel 4002

2 important events not to miss in Lugano today!

Take your Nanos for a walk!

Nanomania is on the rise throughout the Ticino and the rest of Switzerland. Don't miss the Nanomania roadshow where all the Nanos meet up to play and to be swapped.

Where: MR Migros Lugano Città
When: Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011
Time: 14.00 - 17.00

Join the International Women's Club of Lugano for dinner

The evening group of the International Women’s Club of Lugano ( IWCL - ) has been set up for International people living in Ticino willing to get together in a friendly and casual atmosphere. Partners and friends are welcome.

Sandrine has designed a flexible format, so you can choose to have a single course, a full menu or just a drink!

Where: Ristorante Soave 10, Via Soave 10, 6900 Lugano - Tel. 091 922 01 70 (
When: Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011
Time: 19.30

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

La Traviata in Lugano

Don't miss Giuseppe Verdi's famous 3 act opera "La Traviata" at the Palazzo dei Congressi tonight performed by the Soloists, Orchestra, Choir and Ballet of the Municipal Opera in Kiev.

Text in Italian by Francesco Maria Piave, after the novel La Dame aux Camélias, by Alexandre Dumas fils. Created at La Fenice in Venice in 1853, La Traviata is one of the most popular works of Giuseppe Verdi. This opera is part of a trilogy composed in 1953: Rigoletto, Il Trovatore and La Traviata.

If you spend any time at all reading about opera, you've probably seen comparisons between operas and movies — and those comparisons are easy to make, as the two genres share any number of common traits.

In 18th- and 19th-century Europe, operas were a popular form of large-scale, mass-market entertainment. They featured compelling drama, dazzling effects, stirring music and superstar performers — just like movies do today. And the adulation showered on today's Hollywood stars has been enjoyed by great opera singers for centuries.

So it's not surprising that we often see operas in the movies. Remember Cher attending La Boheme in Moonstruck? Or Richard Gere taking Julia Roberts to La Traviata in Pretty Woman?

Sometimes, when operas show up in the movies, it's simply because their music seems to enhance the films. But in the examples just mentioned, there's more to it than that. In Moonstruck, the two main characters are lovers who seem just about perfect for each other — except when they're not. Much the same could be said of the lovers in La Boheme.

In Pretty Woman, Vivian — the Julia Roberts character — goes to the opera for the very first time. Even so, La Traviata moves her to tears. And that's hardly surprising, as Vivian has more than a little in common with opera's tragic, main character — not least, her occupation.

The character of Vivan in the film is an old, Hollywood staple — the "hooker with a heart of gold." Verdi's La Traviata is the story of Violetta Valery, a glamorous Parisian courtesan. Both Violeta and Vivian meet up with just the right guy — and they both have to think seriously about the difference between their place in polite society, and that of their new paramours.

Vivian, in true Hollywood style, is swept away by her new lover, amidst the promise of a brand new life of luxury and bliss. And if Verdi had lived, say, in the Baroque era, when operas nearly always had happy endings, Violetta might have done just as well for herself.

But in Verdi's day, fiery romances at the opera often didn't turn out so well. The heartbreak of La Traviata has been drawing tears from it's audiences for more than a 150 years — and not just in the movies.

Where: Palazzo dei Congressi
When: February 22nd, 2011
Time: 20:30
Tel: +41 (0)21 791 33 23

Monday, February 21, 2011

Nanomania in Switzerland

If you live in Switzerland and have kids the last thing you probably want to read about is Nanomania!

A short intro for those of you who have managed to avoid the craze:
Migros (one of the 2 main Swiss supermarket chains) comes up with some marketing plot (because you CANNOT call it plan anymore) about twice a year to entice your kids whom will in turn insist on you shopping at Migros in order to receive the prize (a Nano plastic bean) with every 20 Francs you spend. When the fidelity plan was about Ocean animal stickers or old-fashion marbles, we Mummies could see the point of changing our shopping rituals to suit our childrens wishes, but this time Migros have outdone themselves. I still need to research who is behind this piece of genuis marketing of Migros but there is not a Primary school child in this country who isn't hooked on this perfectly designed choking devise called Nanos. i-Tunes even have an i-phone application for Nanomania and a Nanomania facebook page has been set up as well!

Expat Girl just marched in through the door as I am writing shouting: "Mummy, Mummy, pleeeeasse can we go shopping at Migros?"

Just to throw a spanner in the works, for the uninformed (under pressure from their kids), there is a "must-have" metal collection box available at CHF 9.80.

It is not enough that Luganese housewives have to discuss the Coop vs Migros weekly promotions, now we have the kids informing their Mums about the Migros promotions!!!!
Every Wednesday is "Joker" day - when a special Nano gadget is only available on this day - for minimum purchase of CHF 60 (clever Migros!).

You can catch the road show as well: MR Lugano Città on Wednesday, February23rd, 2011 from 2 to 5pm for exchanging Nanos. I am NOT sharing that piece of infomation with my daughter!!!!

Get this: my additional expenditure at Migros - where I usually do NOT spend a cent - would be 48 nanos x 20 francs = 960 francs for the love of my kids!!!! And it all ends mid-March!!!
My question: how am I suppose to spend nearly 1000 francs in one month in Migros?!?

Somebody help and send me those bl---y Nanos!!!!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

One lonely Luxemburgerli in Zurich



St.Peter's Church

Observatory Urania

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Nominate my Lugano blog

"Where there is a will, there's a way!"
My personal motto

Now that I'm starting to get the hang of blogging, the time has come to publicize my pink Lugano site.
If learning how to blog has a milion facets to it, trying to promote your blog brings the world to your doorstep. Where DO I begin?

Here goes my list:
Lugano - my friends: check
Ticino - expat association: check
Switzerland - expat blogs: check

Having gone from a simple hotmail user 3 months ago, I now own accounts on twitter, stumble upon, glue (or is it getglue?), Yahoo, Social Moms and I can hardly keep up with myself. How can I expect my readers to follow me? Then again,  they might just stumble over me? ;)

GO OVERSEAS kindly invited me to display their "Nominate This Blog" badge on my website. Substantive nominations from my readers will definitely help me stand out during their blog selection process they say.

So my dear readers, let's make this site a wee bit more interactive: Vote for my blog by clicking on the "GO overseas" logo on my blog: I promise I'll keep you updated on the success rate.

My mother always said: "You never know what comes around the corner."
Hey, I might be on the cover of Newsweek in a decade or two?!?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday afternoon inspiration

Evening Group of the International Women's Club of Lugano

The evening group of the International Women’s Club of Lugano ( IWCL - ) has been set up for International people living in Ticino willing to get together in a friendly and casual atmosphere. Partners and friends are welcome.

Please come and join us on Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011 at 19.30 at
Ristorante Soave 10
, Via Soave 10, 6900 Lugano - Tel. 091 922 01 70 (

You can make your reservation no later than Friday,  February 18th 2011 by contacting:

Sandrine Nélisse
078 75 143 75

Ristorante Soave is a nice restaurant located in Lugano’s city center and offers a selection of pizza, salads, fish, meat , pasta and more. The ex-scuole/UBS and Motta parking lots are available nearby.

Sandrine has designed a flexible format, so you can choose to have a single course, a full menu or just a drink!

Should you wish to have dinner, prices range from CHF 17 to CHF 40 for a single course, starting at CHF 44 for a full menu. Following are some mouth-watering choices:

Menu No -1-
Insalata di rucola e scaglie di grana
Risotto ai funghi porcini mantecato al taleggio
Tortino tiepido al cioccolato
Frs.  44.00 Per Persona

Menu No -2-
Tomino alla griglia con patate e pomodori 
Tagliatelle con gamberoni e scampi
Frs.  59.00 Per Persona

See you there!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

New Chocolate shop in Lugano

"Look, there's no metaphysics on earth like chocolates."
Fernando Pessoa

Great news for all you chocoholics out there in Lugano.
Merkur has opened a new "Läderach" branch in Via Pessina 10, opposite H&M!

"Läderach – chocolatier suisse" stands for tangible freshness, for handcrafted creative masterpieces, for top Swiss chocolate creations and for authentic products.

Pure delight in quality has defined the Läderach philosophy since the family-owned business was first founded by Rudolf Läderach in 1962. It all depends on the freshness. Only the finest hand-picked ingredients from the best origins are good enough for their creations. Taste the difference and savour the fresh taste experience of Laederach chocolates and confections.

Läderach's chocolate and confectionery specialties are prepared with loving care and according to the highest standards of the art of Swiss confectionery making. As in the good old days, hazelnuts and almonds are roasted and caramelized by hand in real copper pans. Discover the added value in the pleasure of handcrafted and hand-picked raw materials.

Läderach is the perfect expression of creative and innovative Swiss chocolate culture.

So what are you waiting for..... discover the noticeable fresh taste of Läderach products. Choose the right product for that special occasion from their amazing variety.

Click here for a peek of their assortment of fresh chocolate:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sisterhood of the Macaron

Legend has it that two Benedictine nuns, Sister Marguerite and Sister Marie-Elisabeth sought asylum in the town of Nancy during the French Revolution. They paid for their housing by baking and selling macaron cookies and thus became know as the Macaron Sisters.

This post is dedicated to all my girlfriends who absolutely adore Ladurée macarons.

Like so many bloggers before me I could not resist to write a post about the lovely French Macaron. When in Paris you cannot miss a visit to the Ladurée shop for a cup of tea and a taste of their ever so famous macarons. Beware of Pierre Hermé who's macarons also look divine and taste amazing. Hermé's window display is even more spectacular than Ladurées.

But since I claim Switzerland to be my home, I must insist that the prize for best macarons goes to Sprüngli in Zürich. Their "Luxemburgerli" are a delicacy that resemble the macarons but are a wee bit smaller, just like a little sister of the macaron. These mini-macaroons with their delicious fillings have become not just a symbol of Confiserie Sprüngli, but also an emblem for Zurich as such.

The success of the Luxemburgerli began more than 50 years ago. At the end of 1950s a young pastry chef from Luxembourg, with whose employer the Sprüngli family were friendly, was spending some time in Zurich learning his trade. Here he began to produce the speciality of his Luxembourg master confectioner, and because no-one could come up with a name for the new product, this airy delicacy was simply named the "Luxemburgerli" after its country of origin. As Luxemburgerlis became more and more popular the Sprüngli pastry chefs in Zurich made it their ambition to improve and refine the little macaroons.

Nowadays there are more than 30 different kinds of Luxemburgerli, and every month Confiserie Sprüngli creates a new taste experience for its Luxemburgerli connoisseurs. You can find macaroons almost anywhere – but for Luxemburgerlis you have to go to Sprüngli!

My favourite one? Champagne , of course!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

MOMIX ReMIX in Lugano

"From the moment we enter this live we are in the flow of it. We measure it and we mock it, but we cannot defy it. We cannot even speed it up or slow it down. Or can we? Have we not each experienced the sensation that a beautiful moment seemed to pass too quickly, and wished that we could make it linger? Or felt time slow on a dull day, and wished that we could speed things up a bit?"
Eisenheim in The Illusionist

MOMIX ReMIX is a thrilling reverie which transports the audience to a fantasy world with innovative props, entrancing music, magical lighting and performers of exceptional inventiveness and physical beauty. Known as dance-illusionists, the cast of MOMIX ReMIX defy gravity; performing unimaginable feats with powerful grace, and creating scenes of dream-like splendour.

Director Moses Pendleton founded MOMIX after working on the choreography for the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics. Since then they have made five television shows for the Italian network RAI which have screened in over 50 countries. They collaborated with Charles Dutoit and the Montreal Symphony in the film Pictures at an Exhibition which won an International Emmy for Best Performing Arts Special, and were also involved in one of the first ever IMAX films, IMAGINE.

If you are eager for more of MOMIX's artistic joy, or have not yet had the pleasure, hurry down to the Palazzo dei Congressi this evening and buy your tickets for this performance featuring the troupe's most popular works. Tickets also available at Manor or SBB railway station.

Where: Palazzo dei Congressi, Piazza Indipendenza 46900 Lugano
Tel: +41 91 923 31 20
Date: Tuesday, February 15th and Wednesday, February 16th
Time: 20:30

Nippon in Lugano

Between Myth and Reality: Art and Cuture from Japan

Driving around town you might have noticed the Nippon advertising. Until February 27th, 2011, four exhibitions and numerous events will represent the stages of a journey - involving the most prestigious venues of Lugano - through the culture of Japan: from the ancient traditions to contemporary artistic expressions.

This initiative documents centuries of social and artistic culture, embracing tradition as well as present day expressions, putting in the spotlight the elements which recur in the extraordinary Japanese civilization. In is chronological development, this project unites the whole city and its several exhibition venues “under the Rising Sun”.

Araki - Love and Death
Nobuyoshi Araki's photography expresses and updates many of the themes most closely connected to Japanese culture. The Lugano exhibition bears witness to the artist's work in its many varied expressions. Museo d’Arte, Villa Malpensata, Riva Caccia 5, Lugano

GUTAI - Painting with Time and Space
If Nobuyoshi Araki’s work invites the viewer to observe the world through the eyes of a Japanese artist and to seize its sensual charge, the work of the Gutai Group allows to grasp the meaning of concepts as matter and creation and the relationship between artist and nature in the island of the Raising Sun. Museo Cantonale d’Arte, Via Canova 10, Lugano

GUTAI - Painting with Time and Space
The creativity of Gutai aims to express the aesthetic autonomy of materials. Following this principle the goal of the group is not the production of works destined to be displayed in museums. On the contrary, the art of Gutai often implies a relationship with nature. The exhibition hosted at Museo Cantonale d’Arte has therefore an obvious extension in Parco Ciani. In the park will be recreated some of the most remarkable open air installations devised in the mid-1950s by the artists belonging to the group. The Park at Villa Ciani, Parco Civico, Lugano

Ineffable Perfection. Japan’s Photography. 1860-1910
Villa Ciani plays host to Ineffable Perfection. Japan’s Photography Between 1860 and 1910. This is the largest temporary exhibition of its kind ever to be realised, worldwide. The themed path, the fruit of research carried out by the Museo delle Culture’s team beginning in 2007, takes its audience on a journey of discovery into Japan's traditional image. Villa Ciani, Parco Ciani, Lugano

Shunga. Art and Eros in Japan During the Edo Period
The natural conclusion to the exhibition path is represented by the display dedicated to the shunga at the Museo delle Culture. The shunga, the Japanese word meaning literally 'images of Spring', is a genre of erotic prints whose output peaked during the period of the Tokugawa shogunate, between 1603 and 1867.
Briefly summarised, the shunga were an exceptionally vibrant expression of ethical and aesthetic reflections on the brevity and transitory nature of life, sentiments which expressed the values of the middle-classes of the large cities of the time. The selection presents works from the most important creators in the evolution of the shunga genre from Koryusai to Kunimori, and includes a large selection from the most renowned artists, including Kiyonaga, Utamaro, Hokusai and Hiroshige. Museo delle Culture, Heleneum, Via Cortivo 26, Castagnola

For detailed information, please go direclty to the NipponLugano site which is beautifully set up. Hurry up, there are only 2 weeks left to visit this very original exhibition.

O tanoshimi ni 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Be my Valentine!

Timeless Valentine
As time goes by from year to year,
One thing is surely true, my dear;
Though decades come and decades go,
Just seeing you sets me aglow.
Time shifts my body; I start to sag,
When I pass a mirror, it can make me gag.
My joints all ache; I can hardly move;
Still a smile from you, and I’m in the groove.
Getting older can be a pain,
But with you along, I can’t complain.
Despite the things that we go through,
I know I’ll never stop loving you.
Your loving heart turns life to play,
As we laugh at time from day to day.
So I write this poem, and I’ll hang my sign,
Saying, "Always Be My Valentine."
By Karl and Joanna Fuchs

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Chocolate Soufflé recipe

"All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt!"
Lucy Van Pelt in Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz

In response to yesterday's post: Chocolate CAN do the trick for Valentine's Day. Just the mention of chocolate soufflé can conjure up feelings of decadence and luxury. The ability to prepare a chocolate soufflé usually commands the admiration of the diners. However, the difficulty in preparing a soufflé has been somewhat exaggerated over time, and, although, most people won't even attempt it, soufflés can be quite simple to make. This yummy chocolate soufflé is easy to make and can be the perfect finale to a romantic dinner.

Don’t be fooled by the diminutive size of these cakes: They’re beyond decadent, and will instantly quell any chocolate craving you have. And they couldn’t be easier, requiring just five ingredients and 15 minutes from start to finish.

This recipe is primarily dependant on good chocolate, so be sure to use the best quality chocolate that you enjoy.


4 Tbsp unsalted butter, plus more for the ramekins
1 Tbsp flour, plus more for the ramekins
50gr bittersweet chocolate
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
2 Tbsp granulated sugar


1. Heat oven to 450ºF.
2. Butter two 6-oz ramekins and dust the inside with flour.
3. Place the butter and chocolate in a glass bowl and microwave on high in 20-second intervals, stirring after each, until melted and smooth.
4. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg, egg yolk and sugar in a medium bowl until thick and lighter in color, about 1 minute. Add the melted chocolate mixture and flour and beat until fully incorporated and smooth.
5. Divide the batter between the prepared ramekins. Bake until edges are set and center still jiggles slightly, 8 to 10 minutes. Let stand for 15 seconds. Run a knife around edge, then invert each cake onto a plate. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve with fresh mint or berries, if desired. Serve immediately.

Make-Ahead Tip: Refrigerate the batter in the ramekins for up to 1 day. Before baking, bring to room temperature.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Will a box of chocolate do the trick?

"Giving chocolate to others is an intimate form of communication, a sharing of deep, dark secrets."
Milton Zelman, publisher of "Chocolate News"

The chart below was taken from an article I came across 2 years ago. Eventhough it isn't that recent I just had to share this knowledge with you in view of Monday's celebration.

On Valentine's Day, the relationship between chocolate and sex becomes, at least for gentlemen considering the ideal gift, less a matter of theoretical musing and one of stark practicality. Will a box of chocolates do the trick? In some parts of Europe sex and chocolate go hand in hand, though a causal link is unclear. Mediterranean lovers tend to have as much sex but less chocolate—perhaps hotter weather has a bearing on both. The Japanese have precious little of either.

Valentine's Day gifts for him

I have written so much about what we girls would love to be gifted on Valentine’s Day and before the guys feel ignored or if you are in need of ideas for gifting then do read the rest of this story.

TOP MUSIC: Its futuristic and delicate design makes this home audio equipment irresistible. Beo Center 2. produced by Bang & Olufsen, two aluminum doors slide sideways to unfold a radio player, CD, MP3 and DVD (3,840 € approx.)

HIDDEN MESSAGE COLLAR STAYS: come in PG-version and Racy version. Both the PG-version and racy collar stays are made from stainless steel and feature 12 different messages of love and lust. The PG version includes messages such as "You’re so handsome" and "You make me laugh”. The racy stays includes messages like “Wait until dark” and “Feel my desire” among others.
They come in a dapper black leather carrying case lined with red faux suede for $39.95.

BASEBALL STICHES CUFF LINKS: Salute his passion for baseball with cuff links handmade from the same baseballs the pros have used. Created from authentic game used Major League Baseballs, the baseball cufflinks feature iconic red stitches and unique scuffs and scratches earned in the journey from hand to bat to glove. He can even look up what game the ball was played in using the authentication number on the back of each cuff link. ($149.95)

MEN’S LEATHER WATCH CASE: If he has more than two, it's officially a collection. Our top-stitched leather case has a place for all of his favorite watches. Exclusively from RedEnvelope. $ 49.95

HOME GOLF SIMULATOR: This plug-and-play golf simulator lets you play championship caliber courses from the comfort of your home with any club in your golf bag. The turf has a regulation golf ball mounted on a flexible tether that allows the ball to spin when it is struck, enabling you to swing with the same tempo and force as on an actual course, and producing the same feel and "ping" sound when you strike the ball.

RECORD PLAYER: Vinyl isn’t only for the music pedant nor should it be. Help him listen to it in the best possible way. There are a variety of models for vinyl beginners and experts. has turntables for all listening levels like the Pro-Ject Debut III (approximately $500). Thorens has products at all price points, including the TD850 ($2659) and the TD90-2 (579.00).

WATCH G-Shock Aviation Series from CASIO: Taking design cues from aircraft flight panel indicators, the new G-Aviation features a triple layered dial and frame display structure that gives the watch face a three-dimensional feel while increasing overall visibility. Impeccably designed with toughness and technology, the G-Aviation also features Self-Charging, Tough Solar Power & Self–Adjusting, Multi-Band 6 Atomic Timekeeping technology, Tough Movement and the quadruple hybrid case structure for the ultimate in accuracy, strength and performance. ($300.-)

PERSONAL TRAINER SESSION: If you are running late and have no time for shopping, call your local gym and reserve an hour with a personal trainer for your loved one. 
Should you live in Lugano call the A-Club (Tel. +41 91 966 13 13) and ask for Gian Luca. Highly recommendable. He is friendly, professional, serious and gentle all in one. Perfect motivator! Personal trainer A-Club.

Happy Valentine's Day

Friday, February 11, 2011

Shopping for the perfect Valentine's Day gift

You have got the whole weekend to find the perfect gift for your sweetheart or why not pamper yourself? If you haven't come across your pink dream in the Toys for Girls book you might want to consider the following selection.

The closer we get to Feb. 14, the more pink electronics are coming out of the woodwork!

In view of Valentine’s Day I thought I’d come up with some gift suggestions combining high tech with distinct female aesthetic. Sound sytems, underwater MP3 players, top luxury phones and mobiles, pocket notebooks have definitely been getting into the V-Day spirit... a world that is evermore expanding: the art of pink design engineering.

GLAMOUR TELEPHONES:  Get a cordless phone like this one and turn it into a decorative, almost sculptural piece of art for your living room. With the buttons arranged in two rows and a black support, it is another great idea offered Bang & Olufsen (661 €).

USB necklaces: Ceramic is one of the hottest trend for jewelry at the moment.
Danish brand Kähler had the idea to combine beauty and functionality by creating My Life collection, a unique range of USB necklace made in ceramic. A sexy and ultra-modern way to carry all your precious files around! 2 GB of capacity (49.95 €/ each).

DESIGN & SOUND: Bang & Olufsen remain true to sound and style with the BeoSound 8 new docking station for iPhone, iPod, and iPad. High-end design and amazing technological features, the BeoSound 8 can be placed in any room or even hang on the wall. It offers sublime sound and beautiful design. (995 €).

ATTENTION GETTER: The undeniably chic and colorful 1.3-pound2, 8-inch3 Vaio P portable does more than you could imagine – with impeccable style. Work on important documents, organize your photos and music, or just show it off when you want some attention. Once you get used to it, you'll wonder how you ever got along without it. Best of all, it fits right in your purse or jacket pocket. Includes GPS (899 €).

FRESH, SPIRITED, COOL, YOU: Where is it written that a keyboard can’t be stylish? That a mouse can’t be whimsical? Logitech believe self-expression can be found in most everyday objects, so they created the Logitech Fantasy Collection. Mouse M305 (29,99 €) and Speakers LS11, (19,95 €).

THINK PINK: If you’re gonna go pink, then why not go all the way with matching pink accessories? That is the idea behind the Olympus FE-340 Pink 8 MP Digital Camera Deluxe Kit. The kit doesn’t just include a pink camera, but it also comes with a matching leather case, a 4×6 photo frame, and a photo Storage box. The camera sports a 1.7″ LCD, 5X optical zoom, face detection technology, red eye removal, an AVI movie mode, Digital Image Stabiliz and has 1GB capacity (180 €).

KEYBOARD AND MOUSE FOR BLONDES: First off, it’s pink, so you’re probably intrigued already right? The designers have also made things easier for us girls with some special keys.

You’ll get a lot of use out of the MySpace spacebar, while Enter= Yes, I want it. Delete= “Oops” and T= TC4S, too cool for school. S= “SOS”, shoes on sale. Seems like they covered everything. The numbers even look like dice rather than plain old digits. With this keyboard, every moment you type is a blonde moment. The link "Keyboard for blondes" is definately worth a peek. ;) (59.50€)

VERSACE UNIQUE SMARTPHONE: Designed for the cosmopolitans who love technology combined with fashion in mind, the new Versace Unique luxury mobile phone unites all essential functions for professional and personal use. A full-featured multimedia creation, Versace Unique also offers bespoke services and private fittings to clients who want to suit personal style, inspirations and creative mood in colour and texture accoutrements for the telephone. (5'500. €)

SONY MP3 PLAYER with HEADPHONES: When jogging or at the gym, no matter how cute and tiny your pink mp3 player is, having dangling cords and having to carry an mp3 player around can be a nuisance. When working out, you want no fuss, a cord free gadget that will allow you to go through the entire workout free of wires, as they can get in the way be yanked accidentally out of the player while working out. Look no further: these tiny music devices offer 2 GB of memory space, hours of fun music and the beauty comes in the fact that the mp3 player is actually integrated in the headphones. (85.-€)

UNDERWATER MUSIC from NAICAL: Perfect for bringing music to your favorite aquatic sports, the Nu Technology Dolphin Touch MP3 player will keep you entertained whether you are out lap swimming, snorkeling, kayaking or surfing.

The Dolphin Lite is a comfortable and ergonomic MP3 whose battery lasts 18 hours of continuous playback, and weighs only 20 grams. The Dolphin lite, unlike most of the MP3s on the market offers cable-free design that allows the user to forget completely where to place the device. It is available with 2GB of storage at a price of 79.- € at the official website of the company.

SONY DIGITAL READER Pocket Edition: it's elegant, lightweight design makes it perfect for on-the-go reading. Take your favorite books (up to 350) with you to the beach, on travels or to bed. Build your library comfortably from home at the eBook Store from Sony, where you can access new releases or choose from over one million free public domain titles from Google Books, or you can visit public libraries to borrow eBooks if you live in the US. (200.- €)


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Basketball Derby in Lugano

"Baketball doesn't build character, it reveals it!"
Author unknown

You're thinking basketball??? Why would I watch a Lugano basketball derby?

The local basketball matches are a well-kept secret that my son and hubby discovered this past winter. Should you have kids between 7 and 13 years, whiz them off tonight to assist the Massagno vs Lugano Tigers basketball derby. Make sure you bring your Vuvuzelas, horns, drumsticks or anything else that makes alot of noise to cheer on your preferred team. The fun consists in rooting for your team as loud as you possibly can. When the Lugano Tigers play in their home gym (Instituto Helvetico) the team provides their fans with drums and tamburines to be played as loud and long as possible. The kids get to shout and sing their basketball chants (Take that ball and jam! Dribble, dribble - slam!) through the microphone. After the match the Lugano Tigers are very generous with signatures on t-shirts, shoes and balls. The whole event is a fun, family-friendly moment - which given the high noise-level - is much more appreciated by the youngsters than by the adults.

But hey, how many times are you encouraged to make noise in Switzerland?

The derby will take place tonight at 19:30 in the Palamondo di Cadempino. For more info also follow this Lugano tigers link or see my previous post: Another Lugano derby.

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