Wednesday, June 30, 2010


an essential part of early noughties hipster (did someone say hipster? how seriously unhipstery...) uniform were cowboy boots. vintage stores were packed with a myriad of colors and styles, and if you were a resident of williamsburg or east village you just had to have 'em. such sheep we were...

mine are white, totally over-the-top fringed beauties that i have loved dearly for several years. they are perfect for festivals, for the heat of summer, for rainy days out, etc. which shows in the leather, but that's just the way i want them. worn in, used, tattered and rugged. versatility to the max, i'd say.

the most appealing part of the boots comes down to the allusion towards trailer trash "couture": they are just ugly enough to insinuate a person who's slightly clueless [sic!] about their own level of appeal. they suggest trashy and pushy sexiness that's a little cheap – imagine mariah carey and you know exactly what i mean – because they look best combined with something tight and/or short. definitely not classy or even sexy, just too much...

thus, for these hot summery days i took my inspiration from mariah, her "the more skin the better" attitude, and combined my look around a butterfly top and boots. sure, i skipped showing my booty and also hoisting my boobs up for all world to see, but denim shorts and a tank top are as far as i'm ready to stray from at least some class. add some bruised knees and the look steers towards aileen wuornos faster than you can say y'all...

in all seriousness i am rolling on the floor laughing at the idea behind this, but hey, who said you should take your looks all that seriously?

tank top by marjan pejoski, denim shorts by current/elliott, boots vintage, saddle bag by swedish hasbeens, bracelet from brazil.

and of course, enjoy mariah, in all her, ahem, voluptuousness... (yikes)

does trashy tickle your fashion imagination?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


i spent my midsummer at our sea cottage. i have only missed five midsummers there: twice i was abroad, twice i spent it with friends somewhere else and once i was at a music camp. i have never enjoyed the festival of nightless night anywhere else than with my closest relatives.

traditionally, it is a quiet weekend amongst family. great food, a good book, sauna and some solid sleep. and the most beautiful, tranquil nights on the terrace overlooking the small bay.

i hope you had a great one.


dress and boots vintage, sunglasses by dior homme.

last night was special. i have loved my funeral vinyl to shreds and will continue to love the wailing voice of the lead singer of arcade fire. surrounded by magical light i stood on the steps of the cathedral with hundreds of others and tapped rhythm with my white cowgirl boots – staple of my willyburg era style – with a stupefied smile on my face.

bliss. sheer bliss.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

solution pleats.

i have been looking for a pair of versatile summer trousers for some months now. my requirements seemed easy: black (duh!), a summery fabric (not wool), good quality (not polyester either), office appropriate (decent length and not too fussy) but interesting.

without exaggeration i visited every single boutique in town, but had no luck. i considered a pair of the ever so luxurious silk cigarette pants from acne, but even one size too big they were too tight at my calves and i was afraid the non-elasticated fabric would end up ripping at the seams if i had to walk stairs. i've got some quality meat around my legs, let me tell ya...

last saturday on my way to some hot dogs i remembered a store that usually slips my mind. the staple locale that i have been visiting since the year it actually opened, called liike, was ten years ago a groundbreaker as a source of young finnish design. they are celebrating their anniversary this year, and was i ever glad i stopped by...

there they were, a pair i almost decided to skip because of the waist lining that was in black and white picnic blanket plaid. needless to say, i just don't do anything that resembles a quilt.

after i recovered from my initial shock and realized that the lining would not show (double duh!), i tried them on and realized my problem was solved. the pair is from vainio.seitsonen, who are known for their interesting, minimalistic shapes – which makes me wonder why i do not own anything more from them. (note to self: fix this, soon.)

my pants are black, stretchy cotton and fit nicely. the diaper shape that accentuates (to put it mildly) the size of my bum does not matter – i never was too into traditionally flattering clothes anyway...

silk top by alexander mcqueen, pants by vainio.seitsonen, peep-toe wedges by prada, bracelets by cos and jimmy choo for h&m.

i still could use another pair, any suggestions?

Monday, June 21, 2010


when i found the chewed up beads at our cottage i was silently happy that none of the mouse traps at the cottage had been activated for winter. one year i found two mice drowned inside a vegetable oil bottle – they had chewed the cap off and fallen in to a delicious detriment of the final kind – and i felt sadness.

i have always liked rodents. i had two gerbils when i was little and i loved them dearly until i accidentally killed them by feeding a last supper of lingonberries. i guess they were too acidic for their little stomachs...

in general, rats or mice do not give me the chills. for example, in williamsburg our apartment front was to the street and in the summer we kept it open at times. sometimes the odd rat would wander in, but even then they didn't really bother me although i knew they were disgustingly dirty.

nonetheless, the other nyc pest, cockroach, did really bug the hell out of me.

i find mice and rats cute, curious creatures that make great pets and hardly troublesome pests. that is, i probably would not like subway rats in my apartment if it was my permanent location nor do i want mice running around the cottage when i'm there, but i don't think providing a few mice a safe winter nook to rest in is such a terrible thing.

people in nyc and other metropolitan areas with subways are used to seeing gigantic rats while they wait for transportation. rodents just coexist in the city and people hardly pay attention to them. they're accepted as one of the natural downsides of condensed urban habitation.

therefore i was surprised when last fall i read in the gothamist about an incident that took place in the upper west side: a reader had spotted a brown mass while walking and texting and just as he was about to jump over a "dog poo", he realized it was a big rat stuck in a crack in the sidewalk.

after another examination the rat proved to have perished in his attempt to squeeze through the street. he sent the photo to the magazine and the rest is internet history: people reacted instantly.

the rat received several homages in photoshop form and although he probably wasn't removed humanely, the effort put into these pictures here tells plenty about how new yorkers relate to their rodent population: in addition to annoyance, there is also warmth, humor, affection and acceptance as cohabitants.

pics from all over the interweb, claim yer own, if you wish. click to enlarge.

in a poll, 42% of new yorkers claimed they'd help a rat facing similar troubles. how enchanting and, quite honestly, probably wishful thinking, but still a charming idea. what would you do?

neighborhood recommendation #15: terrace.

the essential summer experience is sitting on a terrace in flawless sunlight with a cold drink just watching people. i have many favorites depending on the time of day and how the sun is positioned.

at night i want my terrace chic and cosy, and i prefer courtyards to street lining tables and chairs. my favorite since it opened is the terrace at grotesk: it's hidden in the middle of some tall buildings with cosy sofas and enough heaters, and for some inexplicable reason has music playing until very late whereas all other terraces in town must close by ten pm – i guess there are no apartments around.

any summer night can be perfected with a crisp glass of chilled white abc (i.e. anything but chardonnay), but sometimes the moment requires a more complicated refreshment. despite normally preferring mixology style cocktail bars with their sleek drinks, summer gets me in the mood for fussy and fruity: just keep the pulp, the berries, the herbs and pieces of fruit coming, please.

grotesk has always had a quality drink bar there, but this summer the lower part of the courtyard has been turned into a summery tiki bar by finlandia vodka for the weekends. on friday night it was packed with people lounging on the sofas and hammocks, smoking water pipes and enjoying the crazy and amazing tiki drinks.

in addition to your regular served-in-a-fruit or special little mugs mixtures (i got a skull mug because after serving us a house favorite, i realized i was allergic to most ingredients), there are several shareable options:

the seashell contains a house surprise (just ask for it at the bar...), the wailuku is served in a wooden finnish sauna jug with blackcurrant vodka, seasonal fruits, spiced ice tea, and last, but definitely not the least, the treasure chest (left) is filled with finlandia grapefruit, peach, strawberry, seasonal flowers and topped at the table with half a bottle of champagne. the last may not be your choice for a casual night out at the going price of 190€ (for seven thirsty sea(wo)men), but if you feel like splurging a bit, i can totally recommend going pirate all the way...

where's yer favorite terrace?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

out in the night.

post-rant excitement comes in a paradoxical form... last night on our way to the radio dept. gig at tavastia i had the pleasure to get some pics taken by one of the bloggers who both has great equipment and knows exactly when to shoot and when to leave the camera be. it did not hurt that this particular photo was taken by a professional, either.

anyways, here's a perfect shot of what i have been wearing lately with minor adjustments to sneakers and tees. that is, i sometimes wear white converse and a black tee. practical and rather boring, but easy breezy and ahem...

beanie by lustwear, jacket by rick owens, tee by zara men, jeans by nudie, sneakers by converse, bag by weekday. photo stolen from stella.

thank you, i had a great time – and who would not love shots like these?

snap crackle pop.

the habit of shooting photos everywhere that many bloggers partake in has historical results. never before have we had such a mass of recordings of ordinary people's daily outfits, meals, everyday life and partying.

since the early days of weblogs, photos played an important part. as blogging became more commonplace, great photos were one of the ways to stand out in the crowd. as far as style blogs go, good quality pictures are a requirement, not a voluntary option.

because the recent evolution of the blogosphere encourages paying attention to pictures, it seems to have become many a blogger's main ambition. readers expect and ask directly for good shots (not mine, presumably because you've given up on me already...). thus, most bloggers have acquired excellent cameras, treasure their friends who are willing and know how to shoot decent photos and take time in choosing locations. needless to say, they know their best angles and choose flattering lighting.

thankfully amateur photography has become easier and many bloggers, quite deservingly, take pride in their carefully selected pictorial material for the enjoyment of us all. unfortunately, having quality material usually comes down to having quantity to choose from. for every great shot there are at least a few that did not make the cut.

unsurprisingly, an aggravating phenomenon created by blogs and many other social media applications, such as twiddish, is the constant camera presence everywhere you go. it seems practically impossible to go to a bar or a club without seeing young women (and some young men) twitch and turn in front of a camera. there are some notable pits of flash flaring torture: in helsinki especially jenny woo seems to attract young blogger types.

it would not matter as much if it wasn't accompanied by horrible manners: the posing project often starts innocent but the more intoxicated people get, the brighter the flash, the more outrageous the poses and the more clickety clack of the camera you hear. after a while they start asking people to move out of their way in order to get better shots or take over the entire dancefloor shoving outsiders with snarky commentary about people not being fabulous enough for their pics. not once or twice have i heard about a blogger loudly pointing out something along the lines of "don't shoot yet, let the ugly people pass first..."

witnessing this development stopped me from carrying a camera around because i loathe the mere idea of being associated with the brats who forget about everyone else – including their friends – when their camera frantic takes over. it seems they are increasingly keen on creating a bubble of a paparazzi universe around them which is both pretentious and arrogant.

curiously the culprits are not necessarily big name bloggers or known for their extraordinary photographs; irritating camera bullies come in all blogger sizes and styles, but all share the absence of consideration for their fellow beings. the world is their red carpet and they're going to keep on shooting...

i have, unfortunately, spent a night in such company and felt both embarrassed and bored out of my mind. the pics turned out great, but not worth spending a night yawning... at least to me.

aforementioned nightlife flashes are only surpassed in aggravation by restaurant photography. i am often guilty of taking a picture of my meal before digging in (you've seen some results here), and caught a glimpse of disapproval from my fellow diners – none of whom are bloggers, as might be self-explanatory. despite never using flash and having the courtesy of not posting my pic instantly anywhere with comments (as those using twiddish do), it is undoubtedly true that the few seconds of disavowal from accompanying people in order to shoot instead of marvel and share together can ruin the atmosphere for some of my friends. i have started to cut down the pics, and when taking one, try to do it as subtly as possible.

not everyone aims for subtlety and some restaurants have gone as far as banning photography at their tables. although pictures of actual dishes can provide significant marketing draw, the disturbance created by enthusiastic bloggers harms business more than ever. the reason is similar to what i described before: some bloggers just do not seem to know when to stop. with the rise of video blogging the future impositions are troubling.

it is not that taking photos in public places was annoying in itself: people have always recorded their friends at parties and having a set of photos is great as a token of memory. personally, i have several years worth of footage shot on lomo that reflect the segment of my life perfectly, i.e. blurry fuss with mindblowing moments of curiously bended light. moreover, i truly regret passing long periods of my life without taking as much as a single shot.

additionally, taking photos is both fun and strengthens bonds between people. i still recall a time when noting a group of laughing people at a restaurant or bar corner asking the waitress to take their picture was something that made me smile, if only internally. they were sharing and capturing a special moment. now i assume they are bloggers – see, i've given into cynicism... despite my foul attitude, shared memories in pictorial form are still treasured from generation to generation.

luckily, most bloggers – or at least the ones i have the pleasure to hang out with – also know when to put the camera away: social gatherings are much more enjoyable when the point is not solely content creation for a blog (which is important to us who blog, mind you), but actual socializing. nonetheless, having friends with quality gear and a stable hand around is more than a blessing: great photos of me and my friends can make a special day last forever.

it is clear that cameras are here to stay and bloggers have every right to use them to create material for their sites. hence, recording life around you is more urgently than ever a matter of sensitivity and sensibility. the opportunity to record moments easily can become a preoccupation with capturing and staging your entire life to fit in front of the lens – even if the life we're talking about is only the public party blogger life.

although it may sound i am claiming it is only bloggers who lack manners, it obviously isn't so. there is always a certain quota of people who ignore the needs of others – and it applies to the group of us who write online, as well. camera disturbance is just something that has creeped in as part of the lives of normal people because of blogging.

some people have natural sensibilities, anyone can learn if willing to do so. when getting a great shot becomes an obsession, a cause that justifies bothering strangers around you (more than asking them to take your photo in order to get everyone in the same shot), when you stop having discussions because you're constantly scouting accessories and other photo opportunities, and when carrying a camera and having a website makes you feel like you make the rules, it's gone too far.

as a fellow blogger i am at the forefront experiencing this, but the murmur is spreading. my plea is: people first, photos second, please.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

confession time.

so, i started project chanel in january as planned. i was excited and felt ambitious despite the fact that the first night after taking up the challenge i already dreamt that i did not really desire a chanel bag. figures.

in the beginning i had my physical health evaluated by a physiotherapist. she checked everything and located my problem areas. some i knew already: my posture has deteriorated in the past years because i live in front of a computer, have ignored suggestions to stretch my shoulder area and as a result of my slothlike ways have lost much of the muscular support in my torso. additionally, my left leg creates certain issues for balance because it is quite a bit shorter than my right one. surprisingly my spine was in great shape despite the lack of support and the strain that my uneven limbs provide.

some problems were new to me, namely that my ligaments are super mobile and the only part of my body that moved according to expected patterns was my left arm – i broke it some years ago and was told it would never rise above shoulder level again. well, now it's normal, supposedly. she asked me if i did yoga, i told her the last time i stretched was sometime in the noughties. ha ha.

my muscles were nonexistent and fat levels high. no surprise there.

i received a training program designed to improve my overall physical health. i had no requests for body modification or shaping – i just wanted a body that was in tolerable condition. in other words, i decided that concentrating on essentials and basic issues was reasonable enough at this point. how sensible of me.

well, what did i do? i started alright and actually enjoyed myself. i got sick as was expected after two weeks, suffered, got better and continued. that was historical: i actually restarted after falling ill.

until i had to go the ninth time. i just didn't go. i just never went again.


pic from here.

hence, no chanel. none of the health improvements i wished for. nothing but a few extra pounds of weight which were not the result of muscle mass gain, but just an increase in my appetite, merely thinking about sports. naturally, they still linger on around my thighs and lovehandles.


total, utter failure. i suck.

neighborhood recommendation #14: hangout.

after i lost my hangout preference, tori, for a while, i felt lost in my neighborhood. working at a cafe has been my preference since i was a student: i'd read for exams sitting in one, wrote my theses inside various bustling locales and i still like to work in the middle of socializing people. when the office feels too sterile and quiet, it helps me concentrate – i presume it is because i come from a large and rather noisy family.

my ability to disassociate myself from the outside world is phenomenal to the everyday nuisance of near and dear ones. if i am reading, i cannot hear you. end of story.

tori returned, but the atmosphere was different much due to their changed concept. they lost their license and took the restaurant to a pseudo-eco direction but with the old menu, sans alcohol. the place is still great, but i noted i did not frequent anymore.

i also moved further away. honestly, it's only a block more, but it feels more significant... i felt lost and without a base for some time.

early this may a yet-to-be-named restaurant opened two blocks away. i liked the relaxed atmosphere, the simple and effortless and spacious interior and their almost annoyingly casual attitude. after a while they accepted a name, kortteliravintola lungi, which i guess condenses the idea behind the establishment: taking it easy.

the lunch is decent to very good, depending on the easygoingness of the kitchen staff. that is, sometimes the garnish may look a little wilted or the staff is clueless whether they still have their hot lunch option available. the fare is basic, but imaginative enough to sound appetizing. nevertheless and most importantly, the food tastes great and the service is heartfelt and genuinely nice – not something that can be taken for granted in helsinki.

the music isn't too loud, there's free internet that works, electric socket (at least in the corner table – dontcha dare plant your tush there!) for more power, and swedish, zoega's coffee. in addition to this there are organic wines when i get in the mood for afterwork.

they are still definitely finding their pace, i haven't tested the sunday brunch which sounds excellent, but so far, so good. as an addition to the rather posh korkeavuorenkatu, lungi is definitely welcome.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

sleep paralysist.

neon indian is a 21-year-old boy (i get call him boy since i'm an old lady...) who also creates as vega, conjuring some of the best dance hits of past years, such as "all too vivid" and the impossible-to-refrain-from-nodding-you-too-cool-for-school-hipsters song, "no reasons".

neon indian is his project for the more off-beat, less accessible (but still far from difficult) material that he could not release as vega. here's his newest video for a synthpop song he scribbled published by green label sound. downloadable for free there as well.

Monday, June 14, 2010

little nibblers.

greetings from the sea cottage. we spent the weekend there cleaning for midsummer.

as i went upstairs to check the space that is mostly used for storage nowadays, i stumbled into the cutest little mess. last winter the mice were not particularly numerous and had created fairly little damage to the house. but they had found my box of wooden beads and there, basking in the sunlight next to large window, was the result of rodent survival efforts.

oh, what a feast it could have been...

Friday, June 11, 2010

stella behind the g.

quite often i am asked about the origin of my alias, stellagee. my real name is not stella, not even close, but i do have a special history with the name.

it all goes back to around 2004 when i started dj'ing. i am not one of those people who are often given nicknames, but i had been persistently called "the stella girl" by some bar staff and friends because of my habit of ordering stella artois. when i had to decide a dj name, i figured that people already knew me by my reputation and, thus, stellagirl emerged. i started using different, riot grrrl inspired spelling and instantly the name went cosmically haywire and there are a myriad of versions around in posters, websites and flyers.

yup, it all comes down to beer – moreover, a beer nicknamed "the wife beater" in the uk. not terribly fancy, now is it? nonetheless, i did not mind the fact that stella also means a star and i used tähtityttö as my dj name at times, as well.

the reason i am telling you this now is the latest campaign by stella. they have a reputation for intelligent and culturally savvy campaigns utilizing surrealist themes in addition to references to, for example, jean-luc godard. and this one is no exception. the fact that their lightweight bottle campaign also uses one of my favorite songs of the moment, the mystery jets' "dreaming of another world" and a goodie from marina and the diamonds, cannot hurt either.

the campaign itself rides on a lighter bottle that reduces carbon emissions. since i am not sure of the reusability of the bottle, i have no idea whether the promise of eco-friendliness actually delivers – assuming of course that making new bottles is more ecologically consuming than is recycling and reusing them, but if i am not completely off the grid here, it should be so, right?

there are some pretty funny videos of an imaginary tv show presented from inside a stella bottle at 1963 on the campaign site, but first there are these three. the first one is just an introduction to the theme, the second a version of marina's "i am not a robot" and, le troisieme, les jets mystère.

watch them, if only for claude the hedgehog...

the full song and official video for the mystery jets song is here.

warriors of weeds.

unlike many of my fellow urbanites i do not desire a lot of green around me. for me, the urban landscape is not a compromise of having everything but the nature around me. it is exactly what i like and i do not entertain any wishes of moving closer to lush forests or flowing meadows. i'm just dandy with a few parks close by.

in nyc, i could see the value of central park as the lungs of manhattan and marvel at the silence within the trees, but i felt it was too big to feel like a proper park. parks, to me, are essentially urban islands of green and central park was an australia of an island that could only be distinguished from a continent by looking up at the vertical aspirations of nyc architects.

when i seek nature, i do not wish to forget the urban – the opposite of what i often hear other people say. i deal with staying at the cottage for a while, but detaching myself from the city does not feel like enclosing my being in a sanctuary. my favorite parks are surrounded by concrete, streets and people who do not even intend to visit the park. being part of the hustle and bustle is what creates the bubble of tranquility i need when taking my brief moment on a bench or in the middle of grassy areas.

to me, the essence of urban greenery is in the relationship with people living in a city. naturally occurring fields or woods can wow me once, but it is the coexistence of active limitations that apply to all living beings sharing urban space that appeals to me most. thus, i find great beauty in both perfectly tended flowerbeds and a brave little weed trying to make it through a crack in the asphalt.

although i don't need to see more green around me, the thoroughly urban phenomenon of guerilla gardening appeals to me. the term was coined in nyc in the 70's to describe taking action in derelict spaces and turning them into gardens of decorative or edible plants, but there have been notable guerilla gardeners since the 1600's onwards.

urban gardening efforts are enjoying growth (haha!) everywhere and the fruits of rooftop labor increasingly end up in the bellies of ecological proximity preferring consumers (like these anarchy in a jar preserves from brooklyn), but the notion of guerilla gardens is based on taking over public or neglected private areas and utilizing them to beautify or provide nutrition.

the guerilla gardening site linked above lists pics of projects all over the world from minimal to stupendously ambitious. they also provide instructions for revolutionary action of yer own, such as making your own seed bombs, i.e. little cocktails of seeds and fertilizer that can be tossed to places you'd like to see vegetation taking over but where you cannot work the soil for some reason or another.

there are also readymade bombs available, for example here, but i'd suggest using locally typical vegetation – unless your imagined reality is a fantasy garden which, of course, is great as well.

thus, spreading your seed just got a significance a tiny bit less evolutionary and just a tad more revolutionary. do you have a spot in mind you'd like to see blooming?

pics from here and here.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

neighborhood recommendation #14: hotdog!

although the location of this spot is not genuinely in my neighborhood (which is strictly speaking below bulevardi), it's close enough and great enough to deserve a recommendation.

as a (current pesco-)vegetarian i have become accustomed that certain foods are out of my reach when eating out. getting a burger choice with all the trimmings i yearn is practically impossible as is finding proper lasagna. i am not after meat-substitutes as i gave up meat knowingly and do not wish to taste or experience the texture. nevertheless, sometimes a simple soy bolognese or a soy patty burger would be an option i'd go for instead of the grated veggies herbivore alternatives are usually made of. a welcome improvement in my books is that chili sin carne is becoming more commonplace at mexican restaurants here.

when friends suggested we'd visit nakki tehtaanmyymälä on a saturday for lunch i was glad to join. i assumed they'd have soup because they had been advertising in facebook, but when we arrived and my friend uttered the words "hotdog saturday" my face went gloomier. i was prepared to find a takeout somewhere close...

inside the tiny room i quietly whispered in my sweetie's ear that "they most probably won't have veggie wieners..." and was greeted with a happy holler from behind the counter: "oh, yes we do!"

i guess my quiet whispers are not that quiet... and let's just say a photo opportunity was missed: the entire place burst into laughter when my face turned into a wide grin and i gasped for air enthusiastically.

in any case, they have hotdogs every saturday with a changing special each week in addition to a variety of toppings to choose from. i had mine with avocado relish and pickled red onions and, yup, it was yummy.

the pics are from their facebook site. ours were eaten promptly, i.e. way before i could even think about a camera.

they're also planning to introduce another traditional grill snack i sometimes think would work great, the finnish meat pie, in a vegetarian version. this may not seem like a big deal to you, but for me the idea of having a faux meat pie with two hotdogs has been an unimaginable treat for over a decade. needless to say, i'd love to have one in all its greasy glory.

they also have regular, meaty hotdogs for those who want them. so go, take your vegetarian friend with you and have a great hotdog together at nakki!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

helsinki 1968.

last week i attended the opening of an interesting small photo exhibition at the recently opened virka gallery at the city hall of helsinki.

there are two reasons for the collection's intriguing nature: first, it is by a photographer of whom i had never heard of before, but whose pictures were internationally acclaimed as portraiture of helsinki in addition to her background as the daughter of author juhani aho. how is it possible i had never heard of "the grand old lady of finnish photography"?

second, the city and the people you see differ quite a bit from the imagery were usually offered from those crazy finishing years of the 60's – there are no hippies, no student rebellion in sight, and none of the politically outraged and turmoiled world of the time, but a city of people going about their regular lives, familiar places and views.

go see, claire aho's helsinki 1968 is up till early september.

hitting too close to home.

how strange that phenomena you are able to recognize and name without trouble can become fuddled and confusing when they happen too close.

we're all familiar with it especially through troubled relationships: we've all got friends who are completely unable to understand their own situation even when they are presented with clear evidence and, naturally, we've all been there too. blessed be sweet oblivion and self-deception. it's also familiar as a political and, predominantly, religious phenomena: we're eager to point out faults and logical failures in other people's beliefs and utterly incapable in recognizing similar troubles in our own convictions.

but it need not be as serious – if the above is serious, dunno – and can apply to situations that are somehow novel. i, for example, have a fairly basic education when it comes to art. i can recognize certain aesthetic schools and time periods, but my level of understanding is very superficial. let's just say i am most comfortable when the discussion level rotates around the axis of likes and dislikes rather than deep analysis.

this morning i bumped into something that took me by surprise. watching a music video at stella's blog made me uneasy because for some reason or other i was not able to recognize familiar phenomena: inspiration and reference.

blame it on the lack of morning coffee or just the fact that the people involved are friends, but somehow my gut wanted to tell me something was wrong. not as infuriating "this is wrong!", but just a feeling of discomfort. i felt as if there was too much of someone else's work without explicit credit – given that i know that the same bunch of people work together on multiple projects and are better friends amongst each other than i am with any single one of them. in all honesty, i do not even know which parts of their projects should be accredited to whom. thus, i knew they weren't copying or stealing, but something inside me wanted to say "hey, where's jenni?"

funny, how the mind works... i feel kinda more than stupid and ridiculous, but also enlightened: perhaps there's a little, protective lioness inside me after all. not that there's a need for my little gurgle of a roar, but still...

the video in question is for femme en fourrure, a great clip by miika lommi, styled by vesa kemppainen artist/illustrator/stylist for diesel among others. the aesthetic is familiar from my friend, jenni hiltunen's video work.

a great video, enjoy.

Monday, June 7, 2010

up all night.

well, i just booked the rest of my flights for our summer trip. here's a musical hint (nah, cannot be more obvious than this, but they're also amazing songs):

Friday, June 4, 2010

ultimate barca dinner and drinks.

as might be expected, my idea of the perfect night out in barcelona includes something unlikely. or atypical. or not. dunno. although i enjoyed the catalan cuisine, my favorite night included a japanese-peruvian dinner and classic cocktails at a mixology bar. how new york of me...

anyways, i stumbled upon a culinary experience i treasure (and that i have attempted to recreate at home more or less successfully) at a restaurant a couple of blocks from our hotel.

the reason we constantly seem to stay at close proximity to our hotel is the weather: we happened to make it to barcelona during historically terrible weather. it rained pretty much throughout our trip...

as a lover of japanese cuisine, i am constantly on the lookout for interesting fusion restaurants and the combination of peruvian with japanese seemed exotic and intriguing. after some looking into it, i found out that japanese-peruvian is what nobu, probably the most famous japanese fusion restaurant, serves. figures.

the restaurant was called komomoto – curiously many other japanese restaurants in barcelona seemed to have very chinese sounding names – and we tried both dinner and their set price lunch (12€) on our visit.

i was not disappointed. the place was casual: you sit at communal (but spacey) tables and receive a menu and a pencil with a piece of paper where you write your order. the menu itself was filled with japanese specialties such as sushi and sashimi, but with a twist. additionally, there were fusion dishes that echoed south america.

and naturally, there was ceviche: my favorite was called tokyo-lima, a beautiful, fresh serving of white fish, coriander, spring onions, sisho, sweet red aji peppers, red onion and enoki mushrooms.

unfortunately, for some reason the name of the dish in finnish seems to fit this picture. trust me, it was not slimy at all, but incredibly fresh...

from our dinner we strolled towards the centre of el born, but barely made it a couple of blocks. the curtain covered window and door spoke speakeasy to me at such volumes that we had to step in. again, my intuition did not fail: inside gimlet a dedicated couple of bartenders created cocktails according to the rules of classic mixology with vigor completely mismatched with their laconic faces.

i discovered that there is another gimlet in barcelona, a more upscale, "hip" spot. not to be mistaken with this little nook...

the bar room itself was tiny, rowdy and packed, but the staff worked without difficulties along the long mahogany bar. it was the first time ever that i witnessed a phenomenon quite strange from a finnish point of view: while the bartenders had no problem wasting alcohol as they elaborately poured the liquor, they washed their ice afterwards and reused them. expensive, store-bought ice were apparently too valuable to be wasted. most importantly, my signature gimlet was flawless – i had forgotten about the drink completely. the luscious lure of the classic cocktail should never be undermined, i tell ya.

it was truly a perfect night out without any extravagance or immersion into local culture. hence, i ask my readers who frequent or have visited barcelona some tips for our next trip: where to find an upscale night of perfection? additionally, where to head for a truly catalan night out?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

urban spring (s)troll.

it was wear a suit day yesterday, and despite the fact that i did not wear a full-on suit, together with a discussion i had last night it inspired me to bring up a phenomenon that i've thought about sporadically.

a friend of mine noted that if you sit on a terrace in the middle of punavuori district around the time people return from work, you're bound to see a galore of style hopping off trams and biking past you. however, if you stick around for another hour or so, the same people appear in what can only be described as "comfortable home gear": usually an outfit including something that is notably a piece of exercise clothing (to be distinguished from sportswear which can be rather dapper).

and no, this is not a complaint of finns being unstylish or inappropriately dressed, far from it. it's just an observation of a distinguishing factor between us and other city dwellers, and which interests me.

the issue came up as i walked past the terrace dressed like this: i was on my evening walk with my dog and did not think twice about what i was wearing until he brought it up. simply put, i was in what i wore to work, nothing special or spectacular.

tee and blazer by cos, belt and jeans by monki, ballerinas by rizzo.

he's an adorable snob for pointing out that i did not look like a dog walker, but it does raise a question that i have thought about before: do people wear terribly uncomfortable clothes to work or do they just desire an increase of comfort no matter what the starting point is once they are off duty, so to speak?

i never had home clothes until a few years ago. don't get me wrong, i have a habit of lounging in my pj's all day and even running errands in them, but once i get into something, i just stick with it.

in other words, it just did not occur to me that i should change into something more comfy because my clothes are not generally uncomfortable to wear. if they were, i would not wear them anywhere; for me the comfort level of an outfit is dependent on other factors than properness for work and such. after i got a pair of sweatpants, i have started to wear them on days i am working from home, but i still do not habitually change into them once i'm through the door.

the most plausible explanation i have heard is the protection of office clothes from mundane scruff that's a part of normal family life. for a dog owner, who is an obsessive friend of the sticky tape roll, it makes perfect sense not only because family activities can get messy but because constantly cleaning suits and dressy outfits is both a waste of money and a strain on nature and the clothes themselves. thus, i do see the point of changing a suit into something more casual.

it does not, however, solve the issue completely. most finns do not wear dressy outfits, let alone suits, to work – quite the opposite, actually. most finnish jobs where a uniform is not required have a smart casual dresscode at most, but usually by international standards the clothes people wear fall into the category of smart sportswear or lower. therefore, to me at least, it seems the outfits should be leisure friendly and comfortable. they are also usually washable and not worn for several consecutive days.

thus, i have speculated that the reason for opting towards more comfortable clothing is not actually justified by comfort but by the need to distinguish between work and leisure. i may be completely missing the mark here, but the prosiness of training gear on our streets seems to suggest that either people are really, really into exercise or that stepping into leisure mode requires hopping that far stylistically.

thus, i ask you to contribute: do you have an alternative explanation for the phenomenon? do you change into home clothing once you're off work? if you do or don't, please explain why.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

tapa tapa.

ok, this week i will finally try to get my barcelona trip over and dealt with. here we go...

i do not know of many people who do not enjoy the spanish nibble foods referred to as tapas. if i have understood correctly, most foodie cultures are based on sharing the food on the table – something finnish restaurants have sadly given up on – because what could be more appetizing than pretty little arrangements of goodies on the communal table just waiting for eager forks, spoons or fingers, right? there is also a downside to this delicious culinary niche: ordering just a few from an array of mouthwatering options is almost impossible and, thus, the end-result is more often than not completely stuffed.

although you can find reasonable tapas in helsinki, the real thing feels quite different. first of all, the catalan tomato bread is prepared unlike the bruschetta served here and, as far as i'm concerned, is significantly more delicious. at origen they served the bread unprepared: there was a clove of garlic, a tomato (both to be chopped in half and rubbed on the bread), oil and salt next to it. juicy tomatoes are available for such a short period during summer in finland that copying the style seems impossible. thus, we get a pile of chopped, usually raw tomatoes on our tapas plate.

my ultimate favorite dish was a total newbie to me: a galician dish called "pebrots de padron". they're small green peppers fried and heavily salted. it reminded us of our favorite snack at home, edamame, and these little frits felt like a welcome alternative to our green indulgence. unfortunately i learned that these particular peppers are impossible to find here...

although i cannot recommend any particular place for tapas – they seemed great to excellent everywhere and were priced moderately even when expensive – it seemed true that following locals was a good idea. in the middle of a touristy area it might be a challenge, but it wasn't all bad if you ended up in a more touristy spot. among many others i enjoyed el rovell, a combination of old school and experimental and slightly pretentious, but tasty.

what's your favorite tapas?