Friday, July 16, 2010

modern life.

this weekend a group of my friends are organizing a music festival in turku. mostly free, it follows the steps of many an urban festival respecting the underground of turku music scene with interesting, small performers in addition to more established names. it is a great return to the roots of small indie festivals that should never get too big for the crowd.

i look forward to lounging next to the river, seeing friends and just living the life, once again.

if you're around and see me, come say hey.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

night to a tee.

i have a long background as a club kid. i attended raves in the early 90's – when they still were raves: illegal, sweaty, more about music than appearance – and made some extra money during high school as a go-go dancer (the kind that keeps her clothes on, mind you...).

my group of friends would often take off on friday to drive to another city to a party, change cities on saturday for yet another allnighter, and i'd come home late sunday night after dancing myself död at nylon's legendary sunday school (relaunched as part of club yk's summer program and packed up soon after).

a booming bass is still very close to my heart and i cannot help but move when my intestines start trembling with a roaring low. because i have hopped behind the decks these days and rarely have the chance to a decent booty-shakin' action on the dancefloor, i cherish moments when i wake up sore the next morning because i could not stop moving all night.

my sonic drug of choice has for years been minimal electro, but i equally enjoy the artsy, draggy, fashiony electroclash with raunchy lyrics but similar simplicity. the transition from perfect mixing within a pure genre was gone when the queer hipsters took over the scene, and if you ask me, the great electroclash swindle was the best thing that happened to club music and is, in my books, far from over. despite many people wanting to distance themselves from the term and even the genre, i think the influence and even the terminology applies to much of the dance music we're hearing still. needless to say, the anthems live on strong.

1. the fagU hosts, djs shoplifter and jannex; 2.+3. larry tee.

last night was the 5 year anniversary of fagU with a very special guest. mr electroclash himself, larry tee, rocked the boat m/s emma for a three hour cruise around helsinki. the sunny breeze caressed the three dozen party people – it felt like a house party – and we danced ourselves dizzy.

my thighs burn in their post-dance purgatory.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

travel lightly.

when it comes to packing i have improved my ways. the meliorating has nothing to do with technique – i am a master of spatial perception and voluminous stuffing out of necessity – but with discernment. to put it bluntly, i am nowhere near those lucky few people who can grab a shoulder bag and leave for a week. i could manage without a doubt, but the action of leaving the house with the knowledge that i have almost nothing with me would cause a halt with heart palpitations.

in my past, i was terrible. i used to pack six pairs of shoes for a weekend because i was certain i wouldn't feel like wearing what i originally planned. i'm sure you can infer from the amount of shoes how many other items i carried with me. returning with a suitcase full of clean clothes was the rule, not the exception. i had to be prepared for all possible weather and food-related accidents and whatnot...

add a bit of shopping to the disaster, and i found myself regularly paying fees for my overweight luggage, and although i did realize it was something i could avoid with some careful planning, i repeated my mistake time after time.

but i improved, and my process has been a program of small recognizable steps of insights.

first, living at my sweetie's place for a few months with only one shelf for my stuff taught me that i can, actually, survive without multiple options for every possible mood. it might be frustrating at times, but tried and tested items work from one day to another. for an intuitive and emotional dresser with a humongous wardrobe normally at her disposal this was a revelation regardless how self-evident it might sound to you.

secondly, while traveling the world – albeit still very limited areas of it – i have learned that some cities require more than others. for example london with its tremendous distances is one of those places where i hardly ever return home (i.e. big sis's place) during the day, but continue to dinner and drinks straight from my daily wanderings. hence, a second attire for night is not needed for every day and what i wear during the day must be smart enough for night. these days i know to pack lightly and appropriately.

moreover, any city where i am bound to walk around lots requires only one pair of heels. i will wear them the first and second night out, but most likely will not dare to teeter around in them later on...

finally, i have also realized that using the laundry services at hotels is a safer bet than overstuffing my suitcase with frivolous items.

the most interesting and grandest revelation of all has been that simultaneously with my need to acquire less clothing these past years, my confidence in the fewer items on me has grown. i seem to trust my staple pieces more than before and can combine a holiday wardrobe with assurance that i will not need a wild card – or few.

most importantly and to avoid missing the point, this confidence is not due to my wardrobe getting any smaller or more concise, i.e. consisting of only a few pieces and that i would be choosing from a very limited collection – quite the opposite; it seems to emerge not out of necessity but a certain serenity i have found with limiting my shopping sprees. and this, surely, is an enlightening in my books and something i value as an unexpected result of my more frugal and sensible ways.

hence, i am soon leaving on a trip with just two, reasonably sized suitcases. two, because i have a connecting flight and i want to make sure i've got a change of clothes on me if something goes wrong. recently therefore, our collection of rimowa doubled because my sweetie went on tour a fortnight before me.

if you travel a reasonable amount and have trouble packing just the necessary items, these suitcases are a goddessend. they're superlight, flexible, and durable (5 year warranty) polycarbonate that never loses its shape – ours do not have a scratch on them despite several trips around europe and north america and you can pack them half-full as well as stuffed to the limit without fear of damage.

as a major plus, they're stylish in an understated way and, despite the price, relatively common to invite very little unnecessary attention at airports where the staff can feel the need to "examine" the interior of the bag more closely with the result of things going missing. a very good investment.

this time i am taking the transatlantic hop with a light heart and light bags. have you noted that changing your consumer behavior has brought unexpected and welcome changes elsewhere?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

ride the heatwave.

now that the weather is breaking records daily, i have been hiding within the cool privacy of my home and underneath one of the large trees of my nearby oasis where the wind hits just perfectly. it is my last week of work before holiday, but i met my deadlines last week and found myself lolling without major expectations from anyone. i vaguely recall this feeling from school (or was it university – it's been ages, you know) and i feel i traveled universes back in history.

last week's highlights were:

1. the monsoon storm that hit us, had people swimming in the street and yours truly splashing away to get some nepalese dinner after a job well done. it was over and done with right when i got back home. beautiful.

summer parka by makia, tee by roisin murphy for fashion against aids for h&m, sweats by monki, boots by nokian.

2. a long hot night at tervasaari, toasting and playing basketball at a friend's bday picnic. happy bday, h!

thermochromatic tee by american apparel, denim shorts by current/elliott, shades by marc jacobs, bag by marc by marc jacobs, necklace from spitalfields market, bracelets by bless and h&m men, watch by casio.

3. picnic that reoccured for several consecutive days underneath the same large tree. friends lingered for some hours, left and returned the next day, dogs helped to read the newspapers, everyone enjoyed the sun...

tank by monki, jorma enjoying the daily news, friends. the shots are captured with random hipstamatic settings – just like it felt. random.

4. cocktails at tiki bar.

5. this song by the memory tapes playing in my ipod, finding the video sunday night and realizing that it perfectly captures the hot hipstamatic nights we've enjoyed.

i'm in love with you, little sister
we ride home in the night
while under our feet, the rain paints the street with the stars
passing cars with light trails behind them
we could follow them on
giving this town is wearing me down
lets take off
no one would know that we've gone

how have you adjusted to the heat surpassing the previous high each day?

Monday, July 12, 2010

foodie reconnaissance.

i constantly forget that across the bay from helsinki is a quaint restaurant paradise that is both affordable and classy. i am talking about tallinn, a beautiful small city that provides pleasure for all senses and sensibilities. every time i make the trip i wonder why we do not go more often...

i visited a few weeks ago for a friend's 40th bday surprise party. the group of us stayed at savoy boutique hotel, a small, privately owned establishment in the old town. the trip was a weekend all about food and drink since we all share a passion for delicacies.

here are a few local favorites of mine:

1. chedi. asian fusion that offers fare comparable to our local farang. here you can find soft shell crab, dumplings and stir fry, prepared with care. the only thing missing was a fresh alternative, like sushi, because their menu leans towards chinese cuisines rather than further east.

2. ö. chosen the best restaurant in tallinn in 2008, ö is quite in a league of its own. with main courses all under 25€ and the quality surpassing expectations, it's a location well worth booking a trip for.

3. la bottega was our destination for lunch. we had the quaint and chic cabinet to ourselves, the food was decent and, in part, sumptuous and the service friendly.

if only the clientele could behave...

a restaurant i didn't have the chance to try was at our hotel, called mekk, but judging from the menu i am sure to include it next time...

do you have any favorites in tallinn?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

grey exposure.

this strange weather encourages combos that both cover and expose – just to stay focused on every opportunity to catch some rays or hide under folds and layers when the rain starts to pour. the air hangs heavy and oozing with warmth leaving pores ready for invigorating winds.

like every summer, at some point i want to give up on bras because my predilection for bikini tops emerges – even though you'll never see me without something on top of the bikini. it must have something to do with being ready to dive into a swimming pool or a lake although i haven't hit the water in years. it's the idea that counts...

seriously speaking, i think it comes down to being able to show the bra-like garment more confidently.

normally i steer clear of wearing only one layer of thin jersey. for me, it requires at least a well-fitting t-shirt bra but i find exposing even that too much to my liking because generally i cannot stand underwear showing from underneath top clothes – especially underwear that was designed not to show.

visible bras are a no-no for me unless the peek-a-boo is intentional, that is, and i do embrace the fashion of wearing a mismatching bra that shows through or peeps from underneath clothes; a black bra under a crisp white shirt can be sultry and a bright neon bra peeking from a sleeve opening or next to a tank top shoulder can add fun and life to an otherwise bland ensemble. needless to say, i also appreciate the underwear on top of outerwear, but can hardly apply it myself.

the thing is, these are styles easily gone awry, they are not for every moment (although what is?) and, without a doubt, as styles they have been stated so many times to feel too obvious, too used, too common. too old, i guess. if they're not put together well, they look hussy. executed perfectly they require a faultless ensemble that hardly ever looks effortless. that is, intentionality shows...

the good old bikini top is just casual, easygoing, and relaxed in a way that a proper bra showing can never be. the biggest perk is the natural expectation of knots which helps with back exposing garments.

bikini top by american apparel, sheer tee by t by alexander wang, jeans by cheap monday, boots vintage, bracelets by h&m and jessica kagan cushman.

how do you deal with hot humidity when it can suddenly turn into chilly? do you agree with the bra exposure? what's your solution?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


there are roughly taken two types of personalities when it comes to relating to unexpected little events in normal life: those who plan ahead to avoid uncertainty and those who flow. the former find changes in plans stressful and always like to settle things ahead, the latter go out to find what the day and night might offer.

although no-one is probably strictly one extreme, people's comfort zones usually tilt towards one or the other. i know both kinds, but am definitely of the latter type. i flow, and i enjoy the unplanned to the extent of often infuriating those few people who are planners and who still hang out with me at times. i do make plans but mine are open to changing any minute...

sometimes it is incredibly hard to find a common ground with people who think not wanting to make solid plans is a sign of selfishness or disregard – i find it understandable but difficult to truly grasp since it is not meant to offend anyone, quite the opposite. on the other hand, i love bumping into new or old friends and taking them as part of the group, and often have noted that planners are more rigid with their idea of who can join them at what point of the night and feel almost possessive about company. selfishness exhibits itself in multiple and almost untranslatable forms, i guess.

just so i make myself clear i am not in the habit of failing to show up or leaving people behind because something "better" came up. i also can stick to plans and the prearranged group of people when circumstances so require.

i am not alone with the mentality of the free floater. some social applications, such as foursquare, were created for people just like myself: those who bar or event hop and love to have people join them without the fuss of invitations and meet-ups. once you're in the circle of friends, it's as good as an open call to come join me wherever i may be.

here, as well, the difference in mentality becomes visible: planners often seem to believe that not making the effort of contacting is as rude as butting into strange company, for me staying open is the most polite form of not intruding and assuming anyone wants to hear from me. it's my least obtrusive way of saying: "i'm here if you want to see me." again, the attitude opposition may seem untranslatable.

last weekend was one of those perfect successions of three days and nights when almost all plans evaporated as fast as they emerged, but the crowd stayed happily moving, separating, and uniting from one place to another losing track of the vistas of summertime responsibilities. there were rock shows, after work bubbles, openings, picnics, drag queens and, to top it all off, an eleven hour brunch...

thanks to outi for the diabolic shot of me. jorma wears american apparel to remind certain other types of planners that everyone should have the right to live without fear.

thank you everyone who was there this weekend at any point, any moment. we make such perfect flowers...

what way are you – a flower or a planner?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

hot summer nights.

nights like these are why helsinki is such a great summer city. a pop-up store opening, great music, beautiful people, nightless night and a certain little pup getting kisses...

go visit!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

see the rainbow.

heteronormativity refers to the common assumption that people are straight and that interpreting the world around oneself as if everyone was straight is totally ok and realistic. anyone deviating from the norm is exactly that, a deviation, and only deserves recognition as an abnormality – if not abhorration – in our perfectly normal, normatively heterosexual world.

of course, statistically speaking it is reasonable to assume people are straight, since most are (if you define straight by usually experiencing some kind of affection towards a person of the opposite sex (which in itself may or may not be easily definable (let alone speak about the variety of practices of affection people who consider themselves straight take part in (but let's just not go there now, shall we...)))).

nevertheless, since in everyday life we do not meet and greet statistics, but individuals, it would truly make sense not to live according to generalizations. heteronormativity creeps into such a variety of daily assumptions and practices that, while they hardly surprise anyone of the glbtq community, it hides and suppresses the versatility of humanity all people represent and the forms of kinship we are able to build.

it's pride week. love in all its forms is precious. let's listen instead of assuming, ok?

princess sabrina.

i stumbled into reading a – whatchammacallit – critically conscious blog, and a certain post about ideals that promote artificial means of beautifying oneself. while i agree that many beauty standards are ludicrous and that they put both aesthetic and financial pressure on young women (and men), i find very little newsworthy about it.

nonetheless, it were the reactions to the blog post that really aggravated me – women competing with each other telling how awful it was that natural beauty was no longer appreciated and that the poor children had to deal with unrealistic expectations. one mother felt pressured to get rid of her fashion magazines in order to prevent their effect on her little girl...

well, guess what: read a little history and the current selection of methods seems humane and accessible. beauty ideals are by definition supposed to be unattainable for the majority. that's just how human society works.

moreover, natural beauty has never enjoyed the status of a standard – no matter what women's magazines try to tell us. altering what we have naturally is what socially constructed beauty (which is all there is, btw) is all about. the illusion of naturalness is only a current and rather novel trend that coexists with other standards, such as the barbie look built around peroxide fauxness.

yup, and some fortunate individuals are better endowed than others. some have better means to alter themselves, others come better equipped naturally, and sometimes, infuriatingly, the same people are naturally beautiful and rich, too. if there weren't individuals who represent the ideal, we'd have nothing to aspire towards... it's tough, i know.

nonetheless, when i read pseudo-intellectual outrage over beauty ideals or when a mother feels forced to protect her daughter from exposure to fashion or when bloggers start accusing other bloggers of promoting unreasonable or unattainable beauty treatments, i cannot help but shiver. seriously, now?

i don't know about you, but i was lucky enough to be raised by a mother who told me i was great as i am (no, she didn't call me pretty, but i don't blame her for refusing to lie) and who also told me that no matter how much i used the line every single kid knows – "all my friends have it, too" – i wasn't about to have anything she thought wasn't worthwhile.

for example, i had my ears pierced at 15 because my mom decided that was the proper age. everyone else had them before me. really.

and no, i do not recall my youth as a struggle around deprivation nor was a damaged emotionally. as a parent, you have the right and the responsibility to decide for your child. i'm sure i tormented my mother for her decisions, but hey, that's life with children. (sorry mom.)

as adults we should know better and prepare our kids for facing the world with its ideals. sure, most of us are not immune or capable of dealing with the pressures of the beauty industry ourselves, and i guess many actually suffer if they cannot afford bleaching their teeth or liposuction. the fact that not everyone can do it does not imply that there's something essentially wrong with trying to attain beauty – however one perceives it.

ultimately, s**t is hard. i just hope those who have enough willpower and mental endowments to approach these aspects of our culture analytically (or attempt to do so), would go a little further than complaining about how media (and bloggers) are setting an impossible example. why not start with providing support for fellow moms to have the strength to raise their girls (and boys) as they best see fit acknowledging the media pressure we all need to deal with?

as a kid, i wanted to be a princess who looked like sabrina (the boobylicious italian singer) and live on a farm. i wanted a perm, a nose job and breast implants (since mine didn't grow until i was 18) and, unsurprisingly, i survived without any of those and lived happily ever after. point being, have some faith in your kids and take responsibility for yourselves and the example you give.

now, let's hear your princess stories – wanna share?