August 2014 archive

Another day in paradise

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Another day in paradise

Another day in paradise

another day in paradise

On Instagram I found some other Samos lovers and I am glad to share with them the excitement of being here. I hope the rest of you also enjoy my photo journal as I travel through the Greek islands. It is literally one more day in paradise for me here and it’s one more day in paradise for you as well, wherever you are.
I borrowed the title for this blog post from one of my favorite songs “Another day in Paradise”, although the song of Phil Collins is referring to a social problem and aim to raise awareness about the countless number of homeless people living on the streets world wide.

Oh think twice, it’s another day for
You and me in paradise
Oh think twice, it’s just another day for you,
You and me in paradise

Life is a beach

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Have you ever been to a desolate island? Samiopoula is such an island, a Greek islet situated on the south of Samos Island. All you can find there is one beach, one church, one taverna and a drove of goats that want you to feed them. I usually visit Samiopoula once a year. This time 24 friends of mine and me were gathered at the port of Pythagorio and they told us that we had to be there at 07.00. The plan was to stay there until 19.00. So you can imagine one day before, we prepared food supplies like we were about to go to a war. We made sandwiches, toasts, baguettes, we bought watermelons, bottles of water, soft drinks and beers, and we also brought cooked food on a baking sheet.

If it happens that you are in Samos on holidays, take your friends and make a one day excursion to Samiopoula. Small boats depart everyday from the port of Pythagorio. They leave you in Samiopoula, then you have to walk a little bit to get to the beach in the photo below. There are signs that indicate the path to the beach. Since there are not so many things to do in Samiopoula other than lying around in the sand, playing with a beach ball, taking some pictures or swimming all day, life there is a beach..but probably only in Samiopoula.

La isla bonita

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We usually get up around 11.00 or 12.00 and the weather is very hot in “la isla bonita”. Then we slowly head straight to the beach, where we spend the rest of the day. Around 18.00 or 19.00 we go for a dinner to a taverna, preferably next to the sea listening to the waves. Our favorite outfit is of course….the swimsuit. When we come back home, we have a shower and later on, a glass of sweet Samos wine makes us dizzy and looking at the stars is the perfect way to end one more day in this paradise.

With all this beauty around me, it is difficult to sit in front of the computer and gather my thoughts, concentrate and write something for this blog. I see vivid colors and happy people everywhere. We have 3 turtles in the garden, cats and a Chihuahua dog, with big eyes and ears, called Lady. The neighbor wakes us up with his loud folklore music, the dog barks every time a stranger comes in, the turtle doesn’t like to be touched, the cats make the dog nervous but at the end of the day we all have good time in “la isla bonita”. I think I am literally in heaven.

Dear Greece

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My father comes from Athens and my mother comes from Samos. Samos is a Greek island in the eastern Aegean Sea, the birthplace of the Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras. When my parents met, they decided to settle down in Athens. Consequently, my life was divided into two places. As a family we used to spend the summer in Samos and the winter in Athens. I consider myself very lucky having grown up in a Greek island because those experiences in Samos have influenced and shaped my life in a very positive way.
How I ended up living in Vienna is another long story. The situation now is even worse because I feel that my life is divided in three countries, something between Italy, Austria, and Greece. Sometimes I have an identity crisis (you know, who am I, where do I belong) but I think to myself that I am just a girl who went international and it is absolutely fine like that.

There are two ways to reach the paradise aka Greek islands from abroad. Either you fly with a direct flight from your country to your desired destination, or you fly to Athens and then you take the ship from the harbor or the airplane from the airport Venizelos. Usually direct flights from abroad to the islands costs more but they are more convenient. On the other hand, taking the ferry from the Piraeus harbor to the islands takes more time to reach your desired island but it is more adventurous and you can hop the islands around. You have options; it’s up to you to choose what suits you the best.

I have always been asked which Greek island tourists should definitely visit. That’s a hard to question to answer for the reason that there is no correct answer. Greek islands vary and have a lot to offer. I am not able to know which one you are going to like most. They are all beautiful, each one for different reasons. It always depends on what you want and what you like. And they are so many. For romance, go to Santorini. For summer beach parties, go to Mykonos. For history, go to Crete. For the most carefree holidays that you have ever experienced, go to Ikaria. If you like small islands go to Paxi or Antiparos. For a less touristic island, go to Patmos, Skiros or Samothraki. For beautiful beaches go to Zakynthos, Skiathos or come to my paradise, to Samos.

August nights

On an August summer night, my choice was a special place called Klee am Hanslteich for dinner. During the summer, I always try to find out ways to escape the city, even for a while and visit some places that give the sensation of being on holidays. This place is in the suburbs of Vienna and there is a small lagoon next to it. In other words, ideal for doing what I like most: snapping some pictures and having a tasteful dinner afterwards. It must be nice to visit this place in the winter time as well because we checked the interior design and found it very pleasant. There will not be the august full moon but it will be beautiful anyway. So, see you soon Klee am Hanslteich.

Tip: Check their website to find out how to get there if you don’t have your own vehicle and I advice you to make a reservation in advance.

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Breakfast at The Guest House Hotel

Breakfast at The Guest House Hotel was on my list of the “Things to do and see in Vienna”. It wasn’t just a breakfast, it’s an experience sitting in a lovely atmosphere with my sweet friend Elena, exchanging our news after a hard week of work. We liked everything and we spent plenty of time there and as usual, snapped some pictures. She was excited that I brought her in the brasserie of The Guest House Hotel. I told her that she has to follow me and she will not be disappointed.

The Guesthouse is a design hotel in Vienna city centre, situated in the 1st ditrict and surrounded by magnificent Viennese buildings.

Photo: Elena Azzalini Photography


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Breakfast at The Guest House Hotel

Bikinis and bows

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One day a friend of mine in Athens gave me a link with some images and asked me to help her decide which swimsuit she should buy for the summer. She was kind of indecisive. I looked at all the swimsuits carefully and I told her my opinion. I liked them all a lot but I had to choose one and this is how I got to know Madame Shou Shou.

How was the world of Madame Shou Shou born?
The Madame Shou Shou world was born in 2011 with a lot of laughter, good vibes & plenty of love to give.

Why did you decide to call your brand Madame Shou Shou? Is there any special story behind this that you would like to share with us?
When I was young, I played with my older sister and we were always causing trouble so our grandmother would call us madame shoushou. The name got stock in my head for years, so when I created my second brand of clothing it seemed like the perfect fit.

What makes the brand Madame Shou Shou successful?
The brand’s characteristic is definitely the bow symbol which for me represents something very girly, romantic, cute, and feminine, but for this Spring/Summer 2014 collection I tried giving the aesthetic of a bow without actually using so many bows. We even had a T-shirt  with the motto no more bows on it. The most characteristic items are definitely our bikinis.

Did somebody help and support you at the beginning to make the Madame Shou Shou brand possible?
I always had the love for fabrics and design. But my mother who owns a store in the suburbs of Athens also played a big role for me. I love exploring new designs. It always gives me a state of bliss.

Where are your collections made and why?
All of our collections are 100% made in Greece from the inspiration to fabric to the actual creation of the clothes.
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Let´s say that I just finished my studies as a fashion designer in a fashion school. What are the next steps? What would you advise me to do? Are there any traps that I should avoid?
The advice I try giving to new designers who are trying to succeed in the fashion industry is to never lose their love and what makes them unique, don’t stop after the first negative comment you hear because the world is a tough critic. The most important thing is to never stop the research. Trying to succeed is like completing the second Fashion diploma.

Where can we find your collection? Do you have an online shop?
We do have our own online store which has some items available. We also collaborate with many stores in Greece but also in Germany, Finland, Italy, Dubai, Spain, Cyprus, and many more.

If you hadn’t made the Madame Shou Shou brand, could you imagine doing anything else?
I couldn’t imagine myself to be doing something else. I feel very blessed to be able to work on my dream.

What is life like in a big city like Athens? What are the positives and negatives and what things would you like see changed?
Athens is a very beautiful city, it combines everything since its a city with a great everyday life, which is surrounded by beautiful beaches and islands.

Which is your life motto?
“One small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day”

Photos of the collection s/s14: Ioanna Roufopoulou



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