Friday, February 27, 2009

splashes of primary color.

my daily look may be somber, but i do love me some bright color from time to time. since i admit to having a decent collection of vintage dresses and loving any excuse to wear them, i was more than thrilled to fetch a box of my dresses from the storage. many of my dresses are slightly dramatic and need a rather, ahem, tolerant environment to work; one of the "compliments" i've received when out in one of my gems was "she must be having her bachelorette party" and it probably sums up pretty well how my take on party wear is sometimes received. this weekend there are two really good reasons to flaunt my finds: flop and a theme party.

flop is run by two friends of mine, miss socialite lili butterfly and jean michelle, at loop and their nights are known for outrageous outfits and ravishing tunes. the theme of tonight is 'minttu vesala', a tribute to the finnish stylist who never fails to deliver. as far as i know, she's the only finn ever photographed by the sartorialist and, accordingly, her personal style is amazing.

i don't expect to live up to minttu, but my attempt will be along the following lines: an electric blue draped dress with ginormous shoulder pads and a flowy back.

on saturday i'm attending a party with the dress code 'monaco'. when i think of the tiny country, there are three obvious choices: formula 1, casino glam and yacht club pastels. i'm still undecided, but if casino is the way to go, here's a choice i may try: red satin dress with butterfly sleeves and gold/black accessories. the shoes are impossible to walk in, but oh, so over-the-top they are just craving for some time on the dance floor...

i think i'm ready to party!


i've been the resident dj at kiasma's openings for over a year now. this week's opening was photographer ola kolehmainen's exhibition titled a building is not a building. he is one of my favorite finnish photographers with his minimalistic style and impeccable and playful eye for detail. his images are derived from structure and patterns which form large, almost sculpture-like constructions.

dj'ing at kiasma is no mean feat, and not because i consider it a great honor, but because the feedback i need to deal with is often horrendous and inexplicable. to the despisal of many snobby middle aged culture junkies, i play (and am paid to play) whatever i desire to keep the party going until the bar closes. thus, i am there as an employed artist and entertainer. if i were a jazz singer or a pianist, i doubt these ladies who enjoy high culture would forget their manners and complain to me that i "ruined their entire evening" even if they didn't like what i sung or played. i have been asked whether i was "sick in the head" by a prominent gallery owner and forced to listen to a long complaint summing up with "this place is not for the youngsters!"

if anything, i've learned that it is incredibly surprising how many people believe that status -- whether real or imagined -- is an excuse for a lack of manners. it may not be newsworthy to mention (ever think of going to a museum opening to party?), but large museums can't seem to hold onto their opening guests who tend to leave after seeing the show, and my role is to keep them happy at the bar drinking the night away. thus, i play with the intention of turning the museum into a lounge/club. so far it's worked out great and an increasing number of guests stay until closing time.

obviously, i need to dress the part, too. miss coco had it right: you cannot go wrong with a little black dress. finding the perfect one is a similar quest to finding the impeccable white tee or the ultimate pair of black pumps -- once you're certain you nailed it, there is always a detail that would bring the dress a notch up. despite mademoiselle chanel's original idea, one lbd hardly ever works for all occasions, although a simple boatneck, 3/4 sleeve, knee-length wool voile dress might be as versatile as a garment ever was.

therefore, i have several lbd's. as i counted through my predominantly black closet, i found 9 and there's more in the storage. there's everything from strict business to slinky 'n silky.

my choice for this opening was found as i strolled through some high street stores. definitely not classy, but rather on the trashy side, i grabbed this fully sequined version at h&m, added a pair of quirky heeled zara pumps, a leather cuff and my favorite earrings from all saints. the length made me wonder whether it was museum safe, but i gave it a go anyway.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

neighborhood recommendation #6: newcomer deli.

last weekend while driving home i noted a new deli on annankatu called enjoy it. i visited yesterday for lunch and must add them to my recommendations.

they've been open for two weeks and quite a few things are still a little off. for example, the pricing is a little on the steep side for the coffees and their pre-packed meals (satay meatballs were around a whopping 12€ for which you can enjoy a fresh meal almost anywhere during lunch...) and finding milk for coffee created some fuss.

nevertheless, the effort put into conceptual thinking at the place seemed more prominent than at your average new coffee house. enjoy it definitely aims for its own exotic niche in the deli box. therefore, the selection offered is interesting and provides unusual flavors, such as cinnamon salmon for your salad, and sultry and trendy flavors like chocolate pudding with a whole chili on top. i was particularly impressed with their selection of small delights, like tiny mango shots for 1€.

the interior is pleasant, there's free wireless (always a huge plus for me!) and the view from below transforms the sidewalk into a catwalk for people watching. go enjoy it.

Monday, February 23, 2009

styling for a living.

i've been posting less lately because i was busy working on an advertising campaign. i spent all of yesterday in the studio at the shoot, and boy oh boy, the result is going to look amazing!

i work sporadically as a stylist, usually with friends (as an equal or their assistant), and i admit to really enjoying it. i've had the chance to work in music videos, in television and advertising, and i've had creative responsibilities from a completely free flow of ideas to building an exact image according to the art director's wishes. needless to say, each job has been challenging in its own right but, nevertheless, gratifying.

as a teen one of my dream jobs was a professional stylist but at the time there were no schools you could study at and the only feasible strategy was to study abroad or become part of the fashion in-crowd -- and i did not live in helsinki where the fashionistas mingled. now that some finnish schools offer a program for stylists at least some young girls can reach for their dream in a way i never could.

hence, i have been fortunate to be a part of several jobs because of people who believe in me and my skills. it's quite humbling, actually, and i feel lucky and grateful for being provided an opportunity to explore a dream of mine.

the job itself is very much less glamorous than most believe. on each job, you spend hours on end in search of clothes, accessories and props, and 70% of the time is spent just dragging heavy bags around. in finnish weather that means through slush, rain and cold. depending on the job, you may need to go through warehouses full of theater sets or search for the exactly right shaped turnip. additionally, there are deadlines and budgets to meet, and usually they are tighter than you imagined.

if flaneuring around stores is one of your favorite hobbies it shouldn't be confused with being a stylist: you're not on the lookout for your new wardrobe nor can you go for whatever you would personally want to wear. thus, being a stylist is a far cry from having a blast shopping. therefore, i have the utmost respect for fashion stylists who find the energy to plan editorials month after month.

in fact, you often run in and out of stores and showrooms with a list of things, quickly ask about or glance through the selection, and leave feeling the way everyone is familiar with when in search of exact items: disappointed and frustrated because they just don't seem to exist. but unlike the sporadic shopper in need of something to add to their wardrobe, as a stylist you need to make do with whatever you can find...

photoshoots are long and there's lots of waiting around. things go wrong: computers crash, clients are unsatisfied, schedules change and feet get sore despite everyone acting as professional as they can. after the shoot you drag the stuff back to wherever you got it from...

the perks include working with great people and having fun during shoots despite the fact that difficult personalities are not unheard of. building a photograph is a collective effort where trust meets ambition; creating an advert or a fashion image requires several professional standpoints which need to merge together in a collage of commercial and artistic achievement. sometimes it means disagreeing and making compromises. regardless of possible setbacks, more often than not it means collective glee and excitement.

ultimately, the results are often very satisfying: a completed product feels like a triumph, and realizing the client feels contentment adds to the enjoyment. can't beat the feeling, really, but i wouldn't do it on a daily basis. sporadic is just fine with me.

Friday, February 20, 2009

intended consequences.

i believe wartime rape should be regarded as a weapon of mass destruction and treated accordingly by international law. planned attacks on civilian women, their bodies and sexuality injure, scar and stigmatize decades onwards; a single act of rape can destroy entire families and future generations. while many of the reasons rape results in such devastating consequences are due to our cultural and systematic views on gender and women's value in society, at the very basic level it is a brutal act of violence which often brings about an innocent, but constant, reminder: a child.

rwandan genocide in 1994 resulted in estimated twenty thousand children born from rape. the mothers struggle to sustain themselves as members of communities who shun them for raising children of hutu origin. in addition to living a life bearing the scarlet letter, these women perform their daily routines conflicted about a child they love but whose presence forces them to relive the horrors of war repeatedly.

as wartime rape remains a common form of warfare around the world -- amnesty international reports war raping at ongoing conflicts in colombia, iraq, sudan, chechnya, nepal and afganistan -- it is important to hear the voices of these women and take their experiences seriously as war crimes.

the compelling stories of rwandan women are told by jonathan torgovnik's photos at aperture gallery starting 9 march 2009 and a related book will be available.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


i first came across edun (inverse for 'nude') when i was trying to check out rogan's new collection sometime in 2005 and their website redirected me to edun's site. i had been a fan of rogan gregory's line of denim since my friend introduced me to it in 2003 at his store in nyc and i got my first pair of supersoft jeans with an embroidered 'r' in the back pocket.

to my disappointment, i realized edun was not sold online at the time, and actually forgot about it until very recently when i noted the logo on the window of a helsinki boutique (which unfortunately sells items not to my taste which, to be brutally honest, was apparent from the store decor alone...) and when anu posted her alpaca dress in her blog.

the jeans guru's 100% organic clothing line designed in collaboration with scott hahn called loomstate established his reputation as an eco-conscious designer, and provided the reason for bono and ali hewson to contact him when they started edun. the threesome shared the commitment to ecologically conscious materials, but also social consciousness as in providing trade instead of aid to the developing world. the clothing line is produced in peru, india and tunisia, and they still struggle with quality standards attainable at the locales and factories they want to use in order to promote global justice.

they're not giving up, though, and the garments are not your average hippie hemp tie-dye sacks, but sold at harvey nichols and barneys new york, i.e. the quality is commensurable to designer denim lines. edun is definitely a real fashion line and according to gregory his eco-conscience has a limit:
I am definitely aesthetic-oriented. If I don’t like the way something looks but it’s super-eco, I don’t give a shit. It’s got to look nice.
hence, here are my two edun tee dresses. the other with a chain print, the other with a dandelion. made of organic cotton in peru they work well within my wardrobe and add a touch of eco-chic to my personal style.

rogan is now (and finally!) available in helsinki at helsinki10. since 2007, rogan has also produced a line of furniture, rogan objects, following the same ethos. edun can be bought via their online store.

neighborhood recommendation #5: sushi lunch.

one essential lunch option is most obviously a selection of sushi. i recommend trying len's keishoku bar for your quick fix. the food itself is definitely better than average and the small restaurant looks fresh even after five years with its alvar aalto chairs and rice paper cube lamps. in addition to sushi, they serve traditional japanese fare.

a family ran business, the place is open only during weekdays for lunch in addition to friday night dinner service.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

ec(c)o hype.

when you hear of an eco-friendly night club, it's pretty obvious green is the new black. ecco is a night club in hollywood with several ecological solutions from wall insulation and lighting to sounds systems and tabletops. everything is designed with the reduction of the club's carbon footprint in mind.

what amazes me, though, is that there is a multitude of solutions available that consume less energy from strobe lights to waterless urinals. there are ways to reduce waste, and sound technology that produces optimum frequencies with minimum energy and heat. they could be used everywhere, not only at places that brand themselves as green. after all, the technology exists already.

why is it, as anu previously commented, that in order to get an eco-charger for your cellphone you need to buy an eco-phone? why aren't all cell phones manufactured from recycled materials now that we obviously know how to do it? why are we still producing stuff we know is not environmentally sound when we have better alternatives?

do we need to go overtly green to be green, huh?

Friday, February 13, 2009

neighborhood recommendation #4: bar.

how do i describe the one bar where i've always felt at home? i've spent afternoons there reading magazines (they have a great selection) and drinking coffee (which is awful and is usually exchanged for a beer sooner rather than later...) and finally realized at 2am that i never left but that i've met several friends who have popped by during the evening and enjoyed some frantic conversations with them.

my friend maire was once told by a friend of his that erottaja is a place where "everybody who's anybody" go to. dunno about that, but the place is frequented by musicians, graphic designers, fashion people and other such creatures who enjoy a dive with great music and a laid back atmosphere. as with most small bars, it seems everyone knows each other (or at least recognizes the faces), but the random passer by may find it equally cosy.

service is mostly really cold (unless you're a close friend of whoever happens to be working), but the staff have been known to smile occasionally. no fancy cocktails should be requested, but they do provide a slightly dried out celery stick for your instant bloody mary -- and it all adds to the charm of the place.

a certain je ne sais pas surrounds the bar, and for years it's been my drinking hole of choice. either you love it or ya don't, but it won't leave you cold.

edit: after this was written the bar changed ownership and things went downhill from there. last weekend i walked by and realized that it has been turned into a karaoke joint. thus, not recommended anymore.

imitating the inimitable.

idhren posted a few videos of wonderfully skilled new robots. we’re still quite far from terminator era, but the subtlety of moves and censors have definitely improved from even a decade ago.

as i watched the video below, i started to question my previous assumption about what made us relate to – or feel uneasy about – robots. you see, i’ve believed until recently that we’re fascinated by artificial life forms as far as they can imitate human capabilities, mental and physical, successfully, i.e. perform tasks we humans excel at, i.e. become more humanlike. so far the ability to relate in anthropomorphic terms has required an increase in the variety and number of capabilities and movement.

thus, it seems creating the ultimate robot is about perfecting a set of skills: movement, emoting and such. also from the comments idhren received, it appeared that the increasing abilities of the robots appalled people. i, on the other hand, realized that synchronized robodancing did not impress me at all: it was a performance that revealed that a subtlety of movement was not something that creates familiarity.

as i watched the robots perform their routine, it was apparent that the programming was extremely complex. however, without the human capability and tendency to err – to make mistakes and forget the routine – the show turned into something quite different from dance. dancing as a part of a synchronized group is about learning to become almost robotlike in repeating bodily movement accurately and, moreover, some of the fascination created by a performed routine derives from the successful suppression of individuality and the ability to avoid personal mistakes.

it occurred to me, and this may tell quite a bit how i relate to people in general, that we identify more with imperfection than flawlessness: robots that are programmed to move their limbs perfectly in synch do not dance. ultimately it comes down to the fact that human capability for accuracy is very limited. therefore, it might be that as long as creating a humanlike robot was about improvement, we have nothing to worry about. when we’re able to produce a machine that both acts and moves with complexity and makes embarrassing mistakes, the era of the cyborg may well be here. "errare humanum est" may well be the insight that perfects the artificial life form.

all the while i thought i had it good...

there is nothing like stupendously young talented people to make you feel aged, worn, unsuccessful and past your prime, and since i'm sure y'all could use some "cheering up" for the weekend, here's laura marling, a 19-year-old singer-songwriter who is fresh, cute, smart and annoyingly talented.

dunno about you, but i'm ready to sulk over a bottle of wine listening to her soft voice. blah blah.


so... i'm going all fashion blog on ya, now. bear with me.

i recently started snapping photos of my outfits regularly because i realized that while the picture distorts my body shape (my legs aren't that short...) my awareness of my own look forms fully only after seeing a self-image. i've got a pretty good and trusted eye for outfits that other people wear, but take shortcuts when it comes to adding finishing touches for myself. taking pics has proven informative and actually rather inspiring, since i have felt an urge to find new combinations that suit my form. therefore, i'm posting a set of ensembles of late.

all in all it's quite apparent how monochrome my daily outfits are. black, grey and white with accidental touches of blue and green. boring? perhaps. uninventive? prolly. will i start wearing more color? i doubt it. moreover, this week i also experimented with a mini skirt -- a look unfamiliar for years now, but it's regrowing on me...

most importantly, these photos have made me increasingly aware of needing to accessorize more, because i seem stuck with my watch (which i love); so if any of you have feasible tips as to how to add bracelets that don't clash with a masculine wristwatch, i'd be more than thrilled to hear about them, please.

(click to see details, if you wish...)

digital minds.

if you have a social life with at least one internet savvy person -- and who hasn't -- you have heard of popping popcorn with cell phones. in may 2008, short clips with small groups of people from different parts of the world appeared on youtube and instantly became a conversation topic that was impossible to ignore. they were doing something everyone in my circle of friends wanted to try if only we had eight cell phones and a set of corn seeds available at the same time.

we definitely were not the only ones. over four million people watched the clips during a fortnight. here are some of the first posts on youtube all rolled into one.

after two weeks a company called cardo systems revealed that the clips were their adverts for handsfree sets.

the pioneering advertising campaign utilized youtube as never before: it created hype around a hoax and caught everyone's attention. the downside of the campaign seems to be that their revelation failed to reach the same audience and people are still doing exposés explaining the phenomenon with the popcorn. moreover, almost no-one is aware that the originals were ads for headsets and without a doubt there were some branding issues involved, as well.

but cardo systems got us talking. the power of viral has been apparent for a while now and it is ultimately changing the way we relate to each other. in april 2006 a silent, masked guy posted a 41 second video on youtube where he wrote something on his palm, held it out to the camera to reveal “one world” and was followed by a text urging responses. madV’s video became the most responded clip in youtube’s history with hundreds of clips sent within days amounting to over two thousand. madV combined everything to a powerful montage of a sort, below. the song playing in the background is by one of my favorite bands, mogwai, called "kids will be skeletons".

many of us enjoy internet channels for their imitation of television, that is, we use them for reminiscing the goode olde tymes and often catching up with shows we missed the previous weeks. nevertheless, a new mindset is emerging with the use streaming possibilities and it seems internet video has huge potential for future communication if we're only able to approach it in digital terms. it takes pioneers like madV to show us novel ways to reach each other through the web. stream on...

Thursday, February 12, 2009


brooklynite telepathe is not a newcomer to electropop, but an interesting female fronted oddball group that's notorious for attitude driven shows. if you like tv on the radio (you music snob you!) they're definitely worth getting to know. nme review of their album which describes the music as
[f]loating between crystalline electronica, misty shoegaze and ass-shaking club-rap, ‘Dance Mother’ is disorientating by design; like being set down on some unfamiliar street corner where the drone of synth from a nearby window meets the boom of bass from a passing car, and snippets of overheard conversation hang in the air like cryptic incantations.
can be found here.

new adbusting.

subvertising refers to the practice of making parodies of recognizable advertising imagery by creating an illusion of recognition only to be followed by the realization that one has been duped. it relies on cognitive dissonance as an effective tool for promoting critical thought. by altering already existing billboards or even purchasing space for subverts, adbusters act towards creating a more media and corporate literate world.

much of the world’s artwork can be read through political glasses. as of late, and increasing number of artists have taken a keen interest in the marketing industry and many refer to corporate efforts in their politically inclined works. the true subvertising pomo artist is the anonymous high culture appreciated graffiti ninja, like the uk’s own banksy whose satirical artwork is a mixture of naturalistic painting, graffiti and political commentary. he’s smuggled and hung his art in notable galleries, but is perhaps best known for painting the israeli west bank barrier with ladders and children digging through the wall. banksy’s identity is unknown although speculations are vast.

while banksy uses publicly owned ”canvas” for his expression, there are other artists who target advertising, but differ from your average graffito by their explicit political commentary. new york city has "poster boy". he’s the graffiti adbuster who transforms subway advertizing into political commentary. while remaining anonymous for years, he was arrested two weeks ago for vandalism and his identity is still up for question.

another way to comment on advertising and current affairs without risking being sued for destruction of public property is to work the insights into more traditional artwork. hank willis thomas makes compelling images which comment on the use of racial images in advertizing, especially the presentation of the african-american male body.

his two series b®anded and unbranded explore the imagery of commercialization and americans of african descent. giving 'corporate slave' a whole new meaning, willis uses a familiar language for us all, advertising, to talk about race and the historical pains of modern america and has exhibited his work in spaces reserved for adverts.

banksy’s artwork can be purchased at no cost from his online store. poster boy’s flickr page holds his artwork which obviously gets cleaned promptly -- sometimes even while he’s still working on them. hank willis thomas is currently showing at jack shainman gallery in nyc.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

the greendress.

while walking my dog this afternoon i popped into the greendress, a new eco-chic boutique that opened last week. they offer carefully selected vintage pieces that were moderately priced, some new eco-fashion and their own collection made of second-hand materials.

as i browsed through their selection it was apparent that the items were mostly good quality and the number of designer pieces was quite considerable. they also function as a consignment store which actually is something i could use. the garments needed an indication of size in addition to price, since at times i had trouble figuring out whether a dress would be worth trying on or not. all in all, it really seemed like a store i could frequent.

what was surprising was the complete lack of attention i got. as i stepped in steering my dog (she's blind and stairs are a hassle) and looked up to greet the salespeople, i was met with an avoiding glance. no hello. nada. zip. after i was done browsing through the entire store, another salesperson greeted me briefly, but disappeared faster than i had time to respond. when i left, they brought another customer (or friend) a cup of coffee, but ignored me leaving the store...

maybe they were busy. perhaps i didn't look like a potential customer with my sloppy beanie and loose jeans. i hesitate to believe they are rude people since they explicitly invite people over to the store for coffee and cake on their website.

the idea behind the store is great, but minimal sucking up to random walk-in customers (such as greeting them) is kinda required for running a profitable business. a concept relying on approachability is antithetical to the experience i got. not a good start.

Monday, February 9, 2009

tellier like it coulda been.

i was excited about seeing sebastien tellier hop on the stage of tavastia, since he did a great job at last summer’s flow festival and usually smaller venues imply a more intimate show.

it was, well, up-close and personal. he started beautifully and after the first two songs talked to the audience. his remarks seemed to take forever, and when the third song was up, the audience was more than ready to dance. it felt pretty great being part of the party.

if only had he stopped there. he is a funny guy, but seemed sligthly too impressed by his own wit and seemed to forget that his art was music not comedy. it could have been the two bottles of wine he gurgled down while performing, but i suspect it was some sort of boredom that inspired the nauseatingly long speeches between each one of the eight (or nine?) songs he managed to deliver during the hour and a half he was on stage.

sure, the fact that we were tired going in and had a heavy dinner before wasn't helpful, but we weren't the only ones unimpressed by his babble. i don’t recall seeing another show at tavastia where the audience slowly leaves the room and vanders to the bar before the concert is over.

mighty bummer.


i remember people around me talking about giving up shopping or diminishing their spending for significantly over a year now. as a topic of conversation, consumer boycotts and trying to buy less have appeared regularly since my teen years, but for the past year buying less has been trendier than ever. many people talk about taking a full break from shopping for a month, half year or even a full twelve months. i really admire people for their ability to do that.

there are different reasonings behind making the choice of consuming less. ecological reasons are by far the most popular, and ethical considerations drive an increasing number of people to think carefully before buying. origin, washability, longevity and combinability are all important factors when making a morally sound consumer choice although finding a combo where everything is ethically in order can sometimes feel like a battle bound to fail.

however, other arguments appear almost as often. an interesting one is concentrating on what you already have, i.e. many of us have become so accustomed with updating our look with new items that we forget the many exciting things we already own. buying something new also seems to interfere with the process of creativity and our ability to combine individual garments in novel ways. taking a break from shopping can reaffirm our love for the existing contents of our closets. therefore, going shopping in your own wardrobe can be a refreshing experience which is both ecological and frugal.

and since we are in the middle of a full-blown economic crisis (or approaching it, depending on whether you work in finance or not...) a reason which has become acceptable to utter nonchalantly over coffee as of late is the lack of money. it may be that people save because of the recession or that they’ve lost their jobs – i’ve witnessed around three people a week report losing their jobs or fearing that they will at facebook alone. while most people enjoy exactly the same income and we’re supposed to keep the capitalist wheels rolling by consuming as we did, many find themselves scrutinizing their spending habits, and defer more expensive purchases and completely abstain from quick fixer-uppers.

i have had my ecologically spurred episodes, but they’ve never been exactly long lasting. when it comes to comfort shopping, i am terribly weak-willed and my ability for self-deception is notorious when it comes to clothes. i do dwell on ethical matters, but have trouble acting according to my deepest convictions. i also revisit and re-evaluate my closet regularly, but have tended to concentrate on what is missing rather than what i already have.

my weakness is the inability to reassess my consuming without being forced. dualistic to the bone, abstract reasoning, however detailed, hardly inhibits my corporeal shop-a-holic and i have to suspect the ghost in the machine is definitely not in control of this fashion cyborg. i admit to being one of those young women who believed that an outfit could be destroyed by heels half-an-inch too low (which obviously meant i needed a new pair just perfect for the outfit), and who never wore the same party dress twice (meaning that one wedding crazed summer i had the opportunity to convince myself – and it wasn’t that hard, really – that i desperately needed six new dresses). i religiously started my weekends by ”reinventing” myself with a new top or dress which i often wore just once, if i ended up wearing it at all. there are still a couple of items in my closet with tags.

everything changed because of the fact that i chose to take a sabbatical, sell everything valuable i own (well, my apartment...), and live off my savings right before what’s been described as the most devastating global recession. re-entering the job market at a time when everyone is being laid off has taught me – obviously – that telling the future is not my forte, but also that i can consume less and feel quite content. i have learned to love many of the clothes i already own, realized that i do not need several egg shaped black dresses and that i can wear the same outfit to a party more than once. actually, the fact that i can speak of ”outfits i rely on” is news to me.

it is embarrassing in a way to realize that i have close to no control over my whims and desires. i thought i was more rational than i seem to be. when i started to run out of money at the end of my sabbatical, i hesitantly grew more cautious with how i spent my vanishing funds also because finding a new job proved more difficult than i predicted. new appreciation in longevity and good quality became something of an epiphany because they mattered more: quality turned out to be more than just an aesthetic and a feel of luxury since it became also something i would enjoy repeatedly and count on. i have finally learned to leave items i feel slightly iffy about at the store in the store. i am not concerned with reinventing my look every single weekend and am happy to reuse outfits i have learned to love. nowadays, i shop very little and, thus, am much closer to my moral aspirations.

all this said, i wouldn’t mind a crazy shopping spree in new york city, and once i get my finances back in shape, that is exactly what i will do. be it my diminutive act of recession suffocation.

Friday, February 6, 2009

remember to floss!

a song for the weekend: flosstradamus feat. caroline polacheck. at first i thought the song was boring, but i'm easily persuaded by accordion playing and now it's really catching on. it's kinda goofy, but makes me wanna dance.

downloadable via greenlabelsound.

bawl like a baby.

i suffer from what i call "ceremonial sensitivity" which means i burst into tears every single time something traditional and ceremonial takes place. at weddings and funerals i blend in because weeping is appropriate. the fact that my eyes water even in situations when i do not know the couple or the deceased sometimes raises an eyebrow or two, but often i'm just considered fittingly emotional. mind you, in these cases my tears are not driven by subjective feelings of joy or grief, but merely by the ceremony itself.

the tendency is downright embarrassing at other types of ceremonies: i, for example, started crying when i saw the headmaster of my alma mater lead the professors into the university at our yearly opening ceremony. i cry when i watch the president give her new year's speech. i cry at every oration given by somebody's (anybody's!) close family member or friend at any party. the worst, however, are official meetings which follow a strict convention, because my eyes tend to water when semi-ceremonial phrases are uttered, such as "this concludes the matter, let's have a vote?" and people say "aye" in concession.

as much as i love the arts, fashion and music, i am hardly ever brought to tears by them. some music typically used at ceremonies i call psychological warfare, but aside from albinoni's adagio and such, music evokes all sorts of emotion, but never sobbing. this morning changed everything: i guess i've never been pushed with the right combo before.

pelse wrote in his blog that he found a couture show with music by klaus nomi and photography by nan goldin somewhere. if you're unfamiliar with nomi, i cannot but recommend browsing through youtube for his genius. my appreciation of the photos of goldin is, perhaps, unprecedented and i revisited her show at kiasma several times only to love her imagery more. combined with this fall's couture, what could hit the aesthetic spot better than this package. eagerly i googled and was directed to ny times (i was about to miss it, for goodness sake!) and here.

i wept. it's beautiful. go see.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


on every kitsuné compilation there is a standout song. on the latest, it's synthpop act la roux fronting elly jackson. enjoy!

die die die!

it all started out as a normal, rather inspiring day: i was about to run some errands and decided to wear my fairly asymmetric, but lovely vivienne westwood wool dress. as i slipped it on, i noted a hole in the hem. knowing myself, i blamed my stuffed closet where hems easily get stuck between shoe boxes. hence, sometimes delicate fabrics rip. the thought that i might have harmed it during our move occurred to me, as well. ultimately, i wasn't devastated and just gathered the hem up with some safety pins: westwood with holes is at another level compared to a flawless westwood -- the punkier the better, right? normally knee length became a rather short miniskirt, but i think it worked out fine.

off i went, ran the errands and popped into a clothing store. in the fitting room i noted that the entire garment was covered in tiny little holes. my punk attitude deserted me instantly: something was eating my precious dress!

no matter how much we like to diss synthetic fibers, they've got a perk one hardly ever thinks about: critters do not like to munch on plastic! there are all kinds of minute larvae after your shreds: the clothing moth enjoys wool and the carpet beetle will savour almost anything but has a preference for fur and wool. oh so savvily, i've filled my closets with cedar wood moth repellents, but the science behind the method is unclear to me. they smell nice, though, but obviously do not work all that well...

thankfully, we've got a sauna. i found no further damage, but i am not taking any chances. heating up the b*tards is a handy way to kill almost any kind of creepy crawler and while my meticulous search gave no clue as to who might be blameworthy, i hope the heat treatment will solve the problem. die, creepers, die!!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

greased up.

imaginative people never fail to amaze me. i find myself regularly in awe with the fact that someone came up with radio waves and the microchip. i've never bought the anachronistic crap that an airplane was something which became a reality out of inevitable necessity because humans have a general desire to fly since, obviously, we don't. we actually tend to fear flying more often than not. but isn't it amazing that some people did have an urge to conquer the skies, which enables us to hop on a plane and actualize the idea of flying around the globe?

minor inventions have me equally delirious at times. for example further, a luxury hand soap made out of used restaurant grease. i kid you not: the oil used to fry french fries and calamari can be reused for biodiesel (through extracting glycerin and adding potassium hydroxide and methanol) and soap (the remaining glycerin plus some essential oils). the makers actually create a sustainable circle by taking bottles of the soap back to the restaurants that provided their oil.

human ingenuity rocks.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

nothing to wear.

i know i listed a few reasons why i do not post photos of my outfits and sort of said i wouldn't. then i broke the promise at least once. it seems i'm doomed since today i got a surprise invitation to see a pre-showing of the musical spring awakening. the catch was that there was an awards ceremony for magazine ads and the crowd would be media people from the more conservative end.

i easily end up looking a little overdressed or i-assume-you-work-in-advertising when pushed timewise, and utterly panicked, i ripped my favorite "smart casual" shreds which did not scream "artsy!!" from my closet.

i have a few outfits i rely on when in a hurry. here's one of the ensembles i have grown to trust: dark drainpipe jeans by julian red, silk blouse with ruffles from zara, leopard print pumps by christian louboutin and epi leather clutch by louis vuitton. and i had time to snap a couple of shots, too.

(the flash does not do the shoes justice nor is my waist quite that high up. i also changed the belt to a subtler one after seeing the photo. yikes.)

if you're into musicals and don't mind the fact that the theme relies on assumptions of anglo-american hypocrisy to really prove its point, spring awakening is worth seeing. honestly, i looked forward to the meal served afterwards more than what came after the intermission since it was just a tiny bit too obvious. and the food was yummy, yay!

DIY vs. DIT.

okey, i broke my rule of no caps... bummer. i also apologize the artificial opposition in the title, since DIY (do-it-yerself) in the sense of creating something derived from an inspiration yourself is still very cool and dandy in my view -- and not exactly opposite DIT in this sense.

but to my point which is that in this age of virtual socializing and connecting, do-it-together (DIT, duh!) is making a comeback. big time! groups in facebook titled "why are we friends in facebook if we don't greet each other irl?" and "let's meet for real coffee" reveal a disturbance in our sense of social interaction and it seems the perks of re-establishing contact with long lost pals over the interweb has created a void we're more than eager to fill with real-life encounters.

i do not mean to dismiss the value of facebook, by any means; that is, i'm not one of those "i'm so over facebook" kinda people. i have witnessed several friends lose their jobs/apartments, post it as their status, and receive recommendations which lead to new jobs/apartments. i can follow my friends' kids grow in ways never imaginable before. the ability to invite people collectively over to a party through events is amazing. but it certainly does not cover everything and tends to create a false sense of connectedness with people who you might otherwise call sporadically to figure out how they are. i have noted that instead of visiting my friends with kids, i just ask for new photos in fb... and it's just lame.

another thing completely is relating to strangers, meeting new people and making contact with like-minded individuals. exchanging glances and nods at bars or at the gym hardly ever develop to actual encounters and perhaps they do not need to. most people like me who aren't into group sports or any other group activity miss out on feelings of belonging to a whole or a community -- something i do recollect from my times of playing in an orchestra. being a component of a larger mechanic is a valuable immersion that provides contentment an individualistic life never touches upon.

groups like the terror pigeon dance revolt! (yes, with an exclamation mark) are spreading the news of partaking and social interaction. their gigs come with the main performer (neil fridd), prop makers and his entourage of party starters who mingle with the audience with the sole aim of getting everyone involved in the concert. according to fridd, most of his fans are so into playing in their costumes and sword fighting that they're actually clueless as to who's in the band and who is not.

here some group of people sing together about their hearts going to explode. don't you wanna just sing along?

le'ggo of my lego!

this morning's feel good post for all you nyc lovers out there: illustrator christoph niemann's blog entry in ny times made me smile.

Monday, February 2, 2009

neighborhood recommendation #3: hangout.

an obvious place i have to recommend is restaurant tori. i wasn't sure how to label it, though, since it is my fave for lunch, coffee, brunch, and breakfast. i don't visit every day, but several times a week -- enough to be such a household name that the staff are not always certain whether they already took my order or not.

tori is a great spot to meet friends for coffee or just linger by yourself in the corner reading a magazine. the clientele consists mainly of regulars and many of us seem to live in the neighborhood. there is something extremely comforting in seeing familiar faces on a regular basis even if i do not know them personally. somehow the place reminds me of my hangout in brooklyn, called atlas cafe, where the same crowd gathered daily over their laptops (me amongst them) and enjoyed the atmosphere sipping beautifully roasted coffee.

tori's big plus over atlas -- in addition to being located diagonally opposite my home instead of the other side of the atlantic ocean -- is great food. almost every sunday i stroll over with a group of friends for breakfast to enjoy a cheese and tomato toast, some scrambled eggs, and some loud chatter. their daily lunch menu usually has some good old home cooking and fresh fish and the serving size is generous. the famous meatballs are such a staple dish that when i was part of creating kortteliravintola kerttu in me olde hometowne of turku, we included a version of the dish on the menu, and it's been a huge success ever since.

strictly on a walk-in basis, they take no reservations, but sometimes are willing to extend their kitchen opening hours if you're running late with the munchies. they've improved their service speed significantly from a few years ago when it was excruciatingly slow, and now things usually go quite smoothly... unless the staff is relying on reino to help out, because then you just have to live with the warmest and sweetest waiter creating ultimate chaos.

some velvet morning.

this morning i went shopping in my closet. it is a wondrous store i always find something new in (read: i spend way too much time in my black jeans and tees) and since i was feeling good i decided to dare wearing a pair of velvet pants i bought at least two years ago. a tight, slightly short cigarette shape in emerald green, it's just the right amount of color for a subdued day.

velvet is not for every day: the heavy fabric does not work in every situation and like any girl aware of the hype around size 0, i have days when i feel fat. velvet being a thick, nonreflecting material, it is a perfect exaggerator for feelings of bulkiness. and yes, i know i am anything but fat, but subjective states are often out of tune with reality... since i sprained my back a week ago and have been over-consuming painkillers (which i hate), i dared not try hovering on heels today -- and we all know that a good pair of heels works as an instant diet whenever you're feeling a little on the wobbly side.

but since none of the body-conscious issues applied today, it was a velvety morning that continued into a soft, sheeny day, and i kept going to the rhythm of this song. the original is one of my alltime favorite songs, but this version by the primal scream (featuring kate moss!) is pretty cool as well.


my sweetheart and i celebrated our one-year anniversary last saturday. because of finnish eurovision finals, which holds a special place in our hearts, not only because some of our first dates were heavily eurovision infested, but also because of our love of camp, we had to dine early. my duty was to find a place where being seated in a half empty restaurant would feel intimate enough for the big date.

one of my favorite restaurants in helsinki is raku ya. the place has cosy booths for parties up to 6 people in addition to traditional seating. an izakaya style japanese restaurant, they serve amazing sushi in addition to delicious dishes for sharing and socializing. their new chef comes from the kitchens of nobu restaurants, a chain of world class japanese cuisine. nobu's legendary new york flagship is an establishment everyone who loves sushi should eat at least once in their lifetime. (as a tip, try to walk in slightly before dinner servings and you might get lucky. otherwise, book months earlier for reservations. nobu next door is slightly easier, but despite their claim on the website, not exactly something you can just pop into. worth a try, definitely -- especially if you've got scandinavian good looks. yes, the place is very much "to see and to be seen" and strangely they're genuinely preoccupied with looks...)

at raku ya, the sushi is always recommendable, but you can build a whole delicious meal without a grain of rice in sight. my favorites are their broccoli salada and tofu salada, their fish du jour is always excellent and i could gnaw on the edamame endlessly. moreover, the staff is worth listening to: their recommendations are often spot on. for the quality of the food, the pricing is extremely moderate and there's plenty to share in their hefty portions. we left extremely satisfied.

i've managed to get seated without a reservation off peak without a hassle -- if a spur of the moment desire for sushi overcomes me.