Wednesday, December 30, 2009

my precious.

this xmas santa treated me rather negligently – maybe i've been bad or just reckless with mailing my wishlist, dunno really. nevertheless, my little critter, jorma-irmeli, got plenty of gifts and helped rip open every single present under the tree.

her favorites were obviosly cookies from all fur dogz where we sometimes stop for coffee and biscuits, but the perma-frozen pup simply adores her jumpsuit from limbo so much that i got her two new ones: the stripey one here and a brown'n'white polkadot version for her 11th bday. yup, the pup is a senior citizen already! both are very 70's marimekko and make me giggle every time she passes me by.

did you remember your furry friends during xmas?

you don't have to be smart all the time.

utilizing the instant hit potential echoing from "rebel rebel", julian casablancas' first single of his solo debut combines synth with rock with such ease that i am quite content with waiting for the next the strokes album for as long as it takes. here's "11th dimension". great dancefloor material!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

average joan.

earlier this fall i mentioned that i had some repeated media attention. the first interview came out – as did my response to it – and it was the only one where i agreed to talk as a style blogger.

this month's print media contribution is in the newest issue of trendi magazine, a finnish fashion journal. i was asked to help a friend and pose as an average style joan, "tyylitavis", for a series she writes for the magazine. the idea is to take regular people who dress well in accordance with a random denominator, such as patterns, colors, textures, etc. so far i have really liked the contributions and her choices for average joes and janes have been interesting.

the theme of this particular issue was winter weather, and we were asked to find outfits we'd wear in three different temperatures: zero, minus 10 and the freezing minus 20. my monochromatic ways proved slightly challenging, but i could gather the required outfits with some minor additional color or hue.

since you haven't seen photos of my outdoor looks due to poor lighting conditions and my inability to remember taking pics while rushing out the door, here's a glimpse of what i look like walking in the wintery streets.


photos by chris vidal tenomaa.

outfits: "zero" shirt sleeve scarf by
johanna kahra, blazer mm6 by martin margiela, gloves by zara, wax coated jeans by cos, booties by prada. "minus10" beanie by maison martin margiela, scarf by sandro, coat by club monaco, pants by fifth avenue shoe repair, boots by dr martens. "minus20" cashmere beanie and dress by cos, scarf by chloé, fur coat second hand, merino leggings by wolford, boots by alexander wang.

for temperatures closing on freezing i layer wool and keep my pants tight because of the inevitable, creeping slush that finds its way towards the knees if pants even remotely sweep the ground. the grungey scarf that ties with "flannel shirt" sleeves is an acquisition from helsinki10 xmas market some years ago, and although i hardly wear brown, i love the flowing warmth of the scarf.

for minus ten i go for looser layers of wool. the playful pants add interest to an otherwise somber combo and the scarf has become a new favorite because of the bright color and the subtle studs – although i must admit i am ready to see studs making a comeback as a less prominent embellishment. i feel like a little gnome in this outfit, ready to hide underneath the gooseberry bush...

since i am not a fan of the cold and dress in ways that actually fit the season – which is probably why i was chosen for this particular article – i hardly leave the house at freezing temperatures. if i have to, at minus 20 i'm probably on my way to something important and will be wearing a dress. again layers of wool, high heels because they act as small ice spikes (yup, it was funny to note that one of the other two girls thought wedges were the most convenient heels for wintertime while i totally disagree...) and my beloved corpse, tuija. the soft cashmere beanie keeps my head warm and does not irritate dry winter skin.

what would you wear if you were challenged with a similar threesome?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

delicacies.

have you ever wondered about your palate: whether it's good or not in distinguishing flavors? whether the types of foods you like are typical amongst your peers? whether your idiosyncracies are common or rather rare?

my gustation is paradoxical: while i can shove down an indescribable mess of processed food and such weird combos of leftovers that i am affectionately referred to as the garbage mill by some people, i enjoy well-prepared, carefully selected dishes for their subtle flavors. although i love a spicy meal, i also enjoy basic vanilla wafers with barely a hint of taste most people like to call cardboard. i may not be very verbal about the different nuances in food and drink – although comparing myself to my sweetie's training as a sommelier, i may be up against an unreasonable comparison – but i do detect them if needed. therefore, i claim to have an easily ignorable, but reasonably sensitive palate.

the reason i have come to think about my palate in relation to others is my constant inability to find anything i like in the grocery store – and i am not a picky eater. my conclusion is that i am just wired a little different than the average finn.

national palates are probably a memory of days past now that people move effortlessly amongst world kitchens: tradition does not guide our choices and our preferences as it used to. i, personally, love almost every cuisine i've come across with the exception of chinese: armenian to ukrainian, japanese to thai, sri lankan to nepalese, jamaican to mexican – you name it. according to the hunch report on food preferences and political alliances, i belong to the liberal part of the food preference and political pole against conservatives – yeah... well... go figure... let's just hope the types of hunch will not be our foremost information providers in the future...

although the enjoyment of different kinds of foods comes down to beginning with an experimental character and continuing with an open mind that i believe many of my fellow finns to share, there are still many instances where the average national palate dominates. the foremost example are the choices we are being offered at stores when it comes to more complex, but still basic, food items. a quick peek at the dairy counter reveal that finns like strawberry, banana and blueberry. the sandwich counter informs us that we prefer the ham'n'cheese, tuna and, when racy, a mozzarella-basil combo when choosing a cold lunch. we like out pizzas with plenty of meat and perhaps an addition of fruit, like pineapple. a whole lot of nada that pleases me.

sometimes i wonder where my palate got twisted since i prefer the swedish selection of cactus and lingonberry with the addition of the german predominance of cherry. there is scientific research on the matter suggesting that the mother's dietary preferences affect the child's palate in infancy creating a preference for certain flavors: it seems my mother went through an experimental period with me since i am by far the most adventurous eater in the family... every time a new family of ready-made foods is launched, i eagerly check the store, hopeful for something new. but the ham+cheese and tuna always wait for me, ready to disappoint. to my biggest detriment, though, a proper vanilla pudding is difficult to find because strawberry takes over when shelf space limits. since i don't drive to large auto-markets in the 'burbs, the stores i frequent tend to have limited shelves...

my ultimate preference goes for the simplest. i have probably talked about my fondness for white foods here ad nauseam (have i? not sure...). it's not that i like white for the color or was twisted as in arranging my peas and carrots so they do not touch, but have noted that foods or dishes that are very pale in color are more often than not something i enjoy eating. most white foods share a subtlety and freshness that colorful dishes may not – overly simplified, of course. thus, i love all white cheese and fish, and one of my favorite dishes is pasta with olive oil, lemon juice and parmigiano shavings. i love plain, natural, unsweetened yogurt. i adore white melon, pears, jerusalem artichokes and fennel. as far as sweets go, i always choose vanilla over chocolate, want my panna cotta without fruit, my crème brûlée without caramel, choose chirpy sherbets like lemon and lime over berry flavors and always go for the coconut option – if it comes without chocolate coating.

therefore, part of the reason i love urban habitats is the abundance of small specialty stores. finding three amazing white food products around the corner, at sis.deli, has made my day to the extent that although i have wanted to tell you about them for quite some time, it's been impossible to get a picture. they're digested way too fast for photo opportunities. each and every one is worth trying if any of the ingredients strike a favorable chord in yer mouth.

first, you'll get a partial view of the most beautiful chocolate bar (munch munch): handmade white chocolate with dried strawberry and choco bits – not too many to ruin the experience, but incredibly beautiful. remarkably, the strawberry bits add a twang instead of sweetness to the chocolate. there aren't any additives to ruin the pleasure, either.

the second delicacy is a combo that was designed by a psychic with me in mind: a montezuma organic white chocolate bar with ginger and chilli. the warm sensation is amazingly soothing, but leaves your tongue tingling. for more.

third, a savoury treat i find incredibly versatile: amerigo crema di parmigiano reggiano cheese spread. i've used it as pasta sauce, in soups, as warm dip (with some added cream) and just spooned it in. it's made of only cheese, water, butter and salt and the richness is incomparable to many of the things referred to as cheesy spreads.

tray by artek.

by stuffing my stock(ing)s with these i'll have meself a very merry white xmas! do you find your palate eccentric or hard to please at general grocery stores in finland?

nerds have a special place in my heart.

men who excel sartorially are truly a visual pleasure, but as with many other aesthetic preferences, my fondness goes somewhere else than the obviously handsomely dressed. as much as waify rock kids (and grandpas like iggy) ooze cool, my fave look is the nerd. therefore, i just wanted to quickly introduce you to a blog i recently came across called nerd boyfriend: they list pics of famous nerdy men and, as the cherry on top, tips for where to get their clothing. while the guys are at times almost predictable and mostly quite the opposite, the places for where to shop their garb range from ebay to acne.

take a peek, you brainiac lovers!

Friday, December 18, 2009

project chanel.

last night at a xmas party the conversation turned to the issue of working out. the thing is: i don't do sports. period.

i am well aware that i should. i often contemplate the possibility of joining a gym, but remember all too well my last membership: while the monthly fee inconspicuously slipped off my account and my lazy tush hardly ever made it to the place of action, i ended my contract after counting that every single time i actually worked out cost me 120€. and that ain't cool.

the problem is not that i have not found the right type of exercise. i actually enjoy all kinds of solitary sports and i've pretty much tried everything, as well. i just cannot stick to a routine.

i wish it was a s simple as just getting off the couch and walking to the gym. i am a master of self-delusion and can argue myself out of every single decision i make. the more ironclad the promise, the more elaborate my sneaky way out of it. i know myself well and, therefore, any sort of contract-making with myself is futile.

finding motivation for exercise is where i fall. i know a workout provides endorphins and i'd feel more energetic overall. somehow the knowledge doesn't push me since i am pretty happy in my slothful state. i wish i was more vain when it comes to appearance, but seeing hideous pictures only shock me for a second. i know my body is far from perfect, but it's generally ok. hence, i conceal my shortcomings rather than try to fix them – if i was more prone to gaining weight i'd probably stroll around happily in a black, interestingly folded muumuu.

a while ago a friend recommended the gym he goes to and i half-promised to look into joining. the topic has since been raised and dropped so many times that last night i could see the look in his eyes close on desperation, as if "yeah, i know where this conversation will end... she'll say yeah, i should and will look into it and we'll be having the same conversation next month." when you realize your procrastination sounds old and bores your friends, it is definitely time to do something.

thus, we smacked the cat on the table (got to love finnish idioms) and explicitly figured out a plan to motivate me. the perfect idea started in the clever mind of another sports challenged friend: we need a price that's a significant indulgence we have a hard time convincing ourselves entitled to otherwise. moreover, her suggestion of the holy grail hit close to home: a classic chanel flap bag.

the plan was conjured (and recorded) and is as follows.

from january 2010 we both join the gym and must attend at least twice a week. only exceptions accepted are illness and travel. our mutual friend is the official observer and we must inform him after every single visit. he will record our visits in a google-calendar visible to our support teams.

after six months we both are allowed to buy ourselves a chanel flap bag of our choice. the official observer will be given a bottle of champagne whether or not we succeed. there will be a formal party to welcome the two chanels in our families and plenty of toasting. with firm arms.

since rational thinking is not motivating enough, public pressure and a shiny, outrageously expensive new bag might just about do it. that's the kind of airhead i am. i just hope i do not win the lottery before summer because knowing me i'll just buy myself out of this contract as well...

wish me luck!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

little black xmas.

it is the party time of the year. office xmas parties create a demand for festivity clothing and provide an excuse for new acquisitions. not for me, i decided; this year i already went to a few parties (my freelancer past provides a heap of invites...) and intended to go to all events in something old. then i stumbled across a great dress that was too good to be left in the store...

sharp shoulders and stretchy wool are a combo that works both night and – with the addition of a tank top underneath – day. an outfit i probably would have considered too matronly if i had hair, works fine with the bald. i mean, how freakin' genius is my lack of hair, huh?

as i was fighting, yet again, my internal battle with accessorizing, i gave in and wore simple stud earrings and a leather bracelet. as i always do. the focal point is subtle and way down at my feet: leopard print pumps in dark blue patent leather.

my holiday epiphany: subtle goes a long way and not everyone is meant to accessorize. they call me slow...


i am not even going to start explaining the hideous quality of the photos, but let's just say our apartment is still less than organized... dress by zara, tights by wolford, pumps by christian louboutin, bag by louis vuitton, bracelet by muji.

what are you wearing to your xmas parties?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

anthill.

the importance of the dining table is something that hardly occurs to you until you live without one for some time. i am as much a fan of occasional tv dinners as anyone, but i also find focusing on food and socializing immensely pleasurable. needless to say, i love to entertain and invite people over for dinner. without a proper table eating in is never the kind of a pleasure i hope and know it to be.

the annoying thing about attic lofts is that they're often strangely shaped. tilted ceilings, skylights and little nooks add charm and variety and, without a doubt, ours was interesting and beautiful, but limited as to the possibilities of furnishing. my biggest grievance was the fact that there was no room for a dining table. we had a bar-like table in the kitchen – that i sometimes worked on – and a large occasional table next to the sofa. but no proper place for culinary experiences.

therefore, the high point of our new home is the fact that it has a place for a large table – comfortable for up to eight people. we found the perfect one, but it is stuck somewhere between here and the uk in the hands of a courier... eager beaver waiting restlessly. taptaptap... i look forward to the chatter around large bowls being passed from person to person, the colorful dishes scooped with glistening eyes, the laughter and glimmering glasses of wine.

what we did receive were the chairs. definitely as important as the table, we did not want to compromise here, either. although i am a monochromatic dresser, i love some color around the house. perfectly matched harmonies are a definite no-no; my visual needs require more complexity than the obvious color combos. our missoni cushions act as the palette for brights – haha, anything goes! – and although we keep the larger furniture neutral, chairs are the perfect daily perk providers. an addition to previously owned baby blue ant chairs by arne jacobsen, we chose some color – namely bright pink, light olive green and subtle grey – around the table.

yup, the dog's bowl in the back...

as far as such obvious choices come, these are definitely something i cannot accept a substitute for. a true dilemma with classics, nothing jacobsen "inspired" (such as these) will do, and as much as the reason could come down to sheer snobbery, anyone who has compared a "designer inspired" chair to the original knows there is a definite difference in comfort.

until the table arrives, this isn't half bad an anthill to rest my tush on...

Monday, December 14, 2009

scatterbrain.

these past weeks have taught me a little something about meself: i need order in my physical surroundings in order to focus. on anything.

sure, we've meant to organize everything. i would have preferred taking a couple of days off for clearing out my work space, but insufficient storage demolished my attempts. therefore, i am stuck waiting indefinitely.

insufficient storage comes down to piling stuff from several large storages into one. our clever plan to sell the surplus crap backfired because the fleamarket was cancelled and the next possible visit can be arranged in january. our packed storage could not fit more boxes which means we still live amongst piles and piles of cardboard cubes. last weekend's visit to the cottage (anyone ever dump a vague amount of stuff at the cottage convinced they'd sell it... ahem... someday?) provided some alleviation and now we can probably walk through both doors to our bedroom – nice, huh, considering we cannot tiptoe around the bed just yet... *sigh*

i have managed my daily duties by writing a list of tasks that i cross out after each individual is finished. otherwise my mind wanders and i find myself carrying a small box to the other side of the room and moving a set of hangers to an empty box somewhere else. this condition is quite different from regular procrastination, but the result is similar: nothing gets done despite there being lots of shuffling around.

needless to say, there is not a sensible thought in my head that i could scribble here, but hopefully this week will end with some clarity. there is plenty to share: a photoshoot, a champagne induced submission to a bag, some white food stuff and my new fave cosmetics...

until then, i hope you enjoy this song by i'm fresh! you're pretty!.