Wednesday, September 29, 2010

pop negro.

i am lowsy at following picture blogs that feed only photos after photos without text or other content. sure, i browse through them from time to time, but they don't inspire me enough to hook.

nonetheless, i am a sucker for beautiful images. i guess i need air (or text?) around mine.

this video below is full of great little creations. i had to watch it twice to get into the mood of picking individual gems, but now that i have adjusted my visual input, i could just devour still image after still image.

the song, a caribbean influenced synth dance tune by el guincho from the album pop negro, ain't bad either. enjoy in a safe place – this is strictly nsfw.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

in navy.

i know this comes as no surprise, but i might as well say it out loud: most of my clothes are black.

the reason is not that i find black a safe color or that i've been deemed as sporting a skin tone suitable for wearing black. even going back in my history as a member of several subcultures does not exactly support the predominance of black in my wardrobe.

the reason comes down to my idea about color signification.

we all have preconceptions about colors and what they convey. with fashion the message a color gives to a viewer is never solely the result of hue only, but regardless of the influence of shape and texture, i still experience colors loquacious in their own right.

my color connotations come equipped with my own prejudices that stem from my past with people and colors. therefore, i see each color laden with some baggage of association that tells more about yers truly than more accepted views of color.

for example, orange claims to be well-rounded and spiritual which i interpret as phony. powdery pink insinuates softness which i interpret as weakness. my biggest enemy in the color world is purple, the color of indecision.

for someone who glorifies fluidity and thinks rigidity is suspicious, my ill feelings towards the combo of red and blue seem strange. it may be explained by the fact that more than failing to see nuances and beyond expected boxes, i cannot appreciate not taking a stand – even a very simplified one. go figure.

but black, to me, is strong and rich in tone in itself. it is straightforward and unapologetic, but not brash and arrogant like red. it is serene and serious, but not grounded and self-evident like blue.

although many people see black as a color that's a little too obvious, i find navy the most uninspiring color of all.

sure, it is the color of perfect denim, but otherwise it's just tedious.

therefore, i surprised myself by buying a navy top from my trip to nyc. first and foremost, the silk epaulettes on the shoulders were an instant source of adoration.

and i loved the long and lean, but ruffleable (that ain't a word...), silhouette – you can gather the sides with strings for an asymmetric or a fuller and shorter look.

the details of the cut imply that there's more than intricately built sleeves to this boring old navy top, and that's prolly what won me over...

caught off guard. twice.

this gem that made me ignore my color prejudices is from coming soon, a secondary line from yohji yamamoto, which just like most of my favorite designers' cheaper lines does not boast with brand signifiers. i have talked about my logophobia here before, and i truly appreciate principled fashion establishments that focus on creating affordable pieces that respect the design aesthetic of the house instead of just flaunting the name of the designer.

beanie by cos, top by coming soon, jeans by nudie, boots by dr martens.

do you have colors you never consider wearing? do colors speak to you in ways that only make sense to yourself?

every day counts.

i am a firm believer in everyday objects' aesthetic input counting in the overall total of my wellbeing. as far as i can, i try to surround myself with things that are not only functional but also beautiful.

for me the idea of getting "whatever does the job" has never had much appeal for the simple reason that controlling chaos is what gets me through the day and aesthetic delectation has much to do with coherence. needless to say, i have gone to ridiculous lengths in acquiring items that please my demanding, albeit not necessarily classically inclined, eye.

i first found out about this dishcloth from salka's blog. her initial response was mild amusement towards a "gift idea for those who already have everything".

usually products that people refer to as such are items that have very little additional value compared to those considered typical representatives of product categories. that is, in dishcloth world it would be a clever picture that adds a few extra euros to an otherwise ordinary piece.

warning: i am going to be doting on a dishcloth. those who find this too amusing or disturbing should stop reading right about now.

although i can grasp the source of the amusement, i was instantly fascinated by the raggety thing. i liked the simple design, and because i have grown to consider the amount that goes into disposable rags an investment no less considerable, it didn't occur to me that paying a little over 30€ for a dishcloth was all that much. the thing is, i am also quite particular about the cleanliness and state of the piece i wipe my tabletops with...

what got me really excited were the details of the kitchen rag:

first, it is machine washable which means it can be used over and over again. the package comes with two for easy exchanges between washes.

second, it is microfibre which means less or no detergent is needed for normal cleaning.

third, it has a foamy core which means it absorbs efficiently and stands upright when not in use.

fourth, i comes with a streamlined stand where it dries between uses to gather less of those yucky smells so typical of dishcloths.

therefore, i got my own from formverk. after six months and several washes both are as good as new. the stand looks impeccable and the rag works wonders. the biggest bonus is that it also looks amazing – something you just do not expect from a folded rag hanging from your tap no matter how bright the color or amusing an anecdote it's got on it.

a splurge in the right place, i would say.

do you get strange pleasure from mundane everyday objects?

Friday, September 24, 2010

appeasing arch.

when it comes to instantly getting ready for an evening event, a girl cannot do without some tips: fix face only subtly to avoid the heavy look of layered make-up, add heels and jewelry to perk up an office look,... you know the drill.

although i am no stranger to running from the office to a party, it is not part of my regular routine; that is, i usually have time to pop by at home before heading out. nonetheless, i have several friends who move from daily chores to cocktail parties regularly with such grace that i can only admire their stamina and glow.

a while back stella listed her five quick tips for perking up your look for a more official rendez-vous, and although i still lack a highlighter pen from my make-up stack (how is this possible, may i ask...), i agree with them.

for stella and for yers truly, heels are essential when in need of a quick sartorial pick-me-up. but getting down to actual business we really need to consider what kind of heels are in need.

the thing is, a girl cannot do without a pair of pumps stored at the office. they are for days when you were running around and didn't feel like teetering in the morning, but have somewhere to go later on. or for days when you just thought the day would be a boring old office day and something amazing comes up unexpectedly. they also need to be a pair that you do not miss on a daily basis because they are, after all, at work.

my cool and collected friends who are used to hopping in and out of taxis running from one party to another all suggest to have a basic black pair of heels at work. to start with, that is – they have several pairs... and cocktail dresses... but the point being: you won't miss them when they're not available and they go with anything. simple.

nah, can't do. i find basic black heels an utter bore. i also hardly find them appropriate for everything. actually, to be more exact, i find black pairs that are trying to be basic utterly boring and those "almost basic" pumps often hard to combine with anything because what turns them away from "basic" and towards "almost" is usually subtle enough to limit their potential. make sense? no?

well what do i know, right?

it may be a question of schools of dress-up sensibilities: for some people the most basic items are the reliable pieces appropriate for anything, for others the most trustworthy gems of their wardrobe are wacky and tricky.

guess which school i belong to?

let me introduce you to my savior shoes: my choice is black, but anything but basic. the thing is, i often wear the simplest outfits to work and in order to lift them up to socializing level i need more than a subtle oomph.

pumps by zara.

the curvy heel works wonders. it is low enough to feel comfortable after a full hectic day, but high enough to achieve the minimum angle i go for in shoes.

have i told you about my fixation with angles in shoes? don't get me started...

moreover, it's sculptural, interesting but not bulky or offensively pretentious. it adds a certain jenesaispas to any boring tee and jeans combo i may have walked out the door in but fits equally well with my avantgarde ninja looks i sometimes feel like sporting.

the shoe is delicate enough to go with dresses, but because of the wedge, there's some bulkiness to it. the thin leather bow adds a girly touch while the crumpled side adds edge. the point is a classic almond shape.

how freakin' perfect, right? and even after several years of wear and impromptu walks through the woods, the suede looks impeccable.

what kind of pair do you – or would you – keep at work for events that require a subtle lift?


i'll let you in on a secret.

this popped into my inbox last night:

maison martin margiela is opening their online store october 1st. you will find items from all collections, including mm6.

sign up for a sneak peek and free delivery until the official opening here.

my black gem – a bday present from my little sis – is already on its way home...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

makia online.

this is the way finnish traditional imagery should be exploited. greatness!

and the clothes are more than ok, too. go shop!


one item on my wishlist is definitely this forthcoming book from taschen called trespass. a history of uncommissioned urban art.

although i am a sucker for graffiti books and urban art in general, most publications i have come across have left most of the world out of their descriptions. as if street art was only happening in nyc, london, paris, etc.

in addition to expanding the urban landscape, the book exhibits guerilla art ranging from your classic graffiti to guerilla gardening, performance art and protests. what you receive is a variety of political and societal commentary that redefines, at least for me, the global nature of art as a form of insurgency – even when in forms as cute as graffiti knits.

this was parked just outside our hotel in nyc.

among many others, i was quite impressed by the works of filippo minelli whose contradictions collection had me smirking while feeling rather disturbed.

here's the video introduction (but of course!) to the book:

available in october.

one of those days...

the door bangs shut at the exact moment you check your pocket.

no keys.

so you make a call, walk the dog, pop by sis.deli around the corner to pick up your favorite ginger soda and wait...

parka by h&m, scarf by vivienne westwood, flannel shirt by levi's, jeans by nudie.

ratty old converse, customized swarovski embellished dog lead with camo print by trixie and peanut.

jorma irmeli's skull sweater by kwigy bo and denim harness from stockmann.

if only the little critter had the patience to wait for her sausage portion of the day...

it is wear red day today in finland – are you participating?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

unlikely leek.

one of my passions is leek soup. i love all kinds from the classic vichyssoise to spicier broths that utilize the flavor of my favorite onion. not for everyone, for sure, but i love the distinctive but gentle, never-bitter taste of it.

because of this i have tried to grow my own at the garden cottage two years in a row. the first year i was late with them and ended up with two sad only slightly larger than chive growths that i enjoyed as part of a salad. i solemnly swore to make it this year.

thus, i took care to be prepared. the seeds went in very early in the spring and when the ground was defrosted enough to handle vegetation, i prepared my rows of delicate green shafts. i tended to them every week, weeding and watering, making sure they were still standing straight.

it was all good until our trip. a month away did not damage my leeks per se, but the hottest summer of the decade did. nothing grew properly and just keeping the plants alive took all the time my sweetie's brother had in his hands.

when we returned, the onions were still standing bravely, but small and stunted. there were too many of them and they hadn't been fertilized.

a sorry sight.

last weekend i dug them out because i was unsure when i'd make it to them next. at the size of spring onions they have the familiar scent and even some visible ringlets, but i cannot feel but discouraged by how small they ended up.

next year. yes, next year.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

staying in.

these consecutive days of drizzle can depress even the most devout fall lover. for times when the grey overwhelms and the only thing you desire is the warmth of the summer sun of hot mornings, the new single from the concretes is just perfect.

we're gonna stay in bed, all day all day all day...


during the last decade, the eventual downfall and probable disappearance of print magazines has been on the lips of media enthusiasts, and for many of us who design and work with user interfaces with their myriad of possibilities, the problems online newspapers and magazines suffer from are more than apparent and acute.

there were brief (although probably still continuing somewhere, i suppose) discussions whether blogs posed a threat to professional journalism, but as with most oppositions between pros and amateurs, there seems to exist at least some kind of a concordance about their valuable and mutually beneficial coexistence. the most obvious example of this is the inclusion of blogs written by amateurs in official newspaper and magazine sites.

bloggers also took making money to their own hands rather unexpectedly: at first there were blogshops that were an inexpensive way to create a small business on a free blog platform – a kind of a self-built catalogue online with varying methods for making purchases, but usually no additional content. by no means a disappearing breed, there are several still around the blogosphere.

moreover, many bloggers started to host a secondary site where they sell their own handiwork or items they no longer need. they're similar to the blogshops mentioned above, but these sites are indistinguishably linked to blogs by design or, if hosted by other services, such as etsy, carry the signature elements of the original blog. in fact, they resemble brand sites that combine designer/product/brand information and a separate store, and in this case the brand bloggers rely on is obviously their blogger persona.

blogshops as byproducts of otherwise non-commercial blogs are one of the creations of the merging of internet applications that take a direction that was not expected. nonetheless, lately i have noted an emerging trend that seems to be coming to meet blogger entrepreneurs halfway visually, but acts from a different angle altogether.

many conventional webstores have changed their layout to resemble blogs, such as the newly launched us site of finnish design shop. their commercial purpose is recognizable on the front page but in order to land on a page that creates a visually familiar webshop experience, you'll need to feel inspired to do some clicking. there is brief additional content, but the store is still more or less only a place to buy interesting items and learn only what is necessary to make the purchase.

nevertheless, there are further mergers that interest me now.

that is, some have gone as far as concentrating on content creation to the extent of almost hiding the shop aspect of their webstore. one of the latter example is hanna sarén's new website which differs very much from a traditional designer site+store concept, but rather suggests a digital magazine with multiple contributors or a more professionally created lifestyle blog. the site lists interesting products that are not associated with sarén herself, events that might appeal to her followers and occasionally a pop-up of a product listing that can be bought from the (still very unfinished) webstore.

the kinds like this suggest a shift in creating online content that relies on providing a fuller experience in lieu of taking the chances of ending up linked rather randomly to other sites that gather a regular following. point being, why not be the site your customers want to follow for interesting news, not only the site that's being linked to where they regularly hang out, right?

sure, it might not be for everyone. it is more time-consuming to gather and post newsworthy substance from various places and several angles: anyone who blogs knows that producing content is an effort whether we're talking pictures or text. needless to say, having others do it for you is expensive.

nevertheless, it may prove to be a lucrative venture business-wise, because keeping people at your site seems to be one of the key elements in closing a sale online. when you appeal to your potential customers at times when they do not even consider buying or browsing what's new, the chances of creating whims are greater.

what do you think? do you look for certain certain telltale signs when you land on an online store site? could you consider stores that visually resemble stores only vaguely reliable or not?

edit 22 sept: finnish design shop launched their new, bloggy look today in finland, as well.

Monday, September 20, 2010

convenient classics.

almost two years ago i wrote about a self-imposed dilemma that keeps me from buying designer knockoffs.

items that can be considered iconic (bitchslap for using the word in vain, again!) or representative of a trend, i cannot purchase as "inspired" copies no matter how much i desire them nor however beautiful the copies were themselves. my dilemma with the classics is rather unnecessary and sometimes tragic, but nevertheless true.

to my detriment, the problem has shown no vanishing potential during the past two years: trying on designer inspired gear makes me feel icky and i end up leaving them at the store. hence, i am still stuck with either living without or buying the originals - if i can afford them.

luckily following very randomly whatever goes on in fashion means that i am blissfully ignorant of many striking garments that appear on runways and glossies, and thus, i do not feel their limiting power. that is, i can happily buy clothes that i find interesting and fabulous even if they were inspired by some designer's collection – as long as i am unaware of it.

i know it sounds pathetic, but what can you do, right?

nevertheless, i have some originals that i would not trade for the world. for example, as far as knockoffs go, the yearly appearance of the pirate boot copy shows no signs of evanescence; a long slouchy boot with straps is a regular in the collections of high street brands. some look okay and i wouldn't mind a unicolor pair (black, naturally...), but needless to explain, i cannot bring myself to buy one from anywhere else than dame westwood herself.

luckily i've had these for years and can wait a few more in order to find myself a completely black pair...

these originals are an investment (sic!) if not for monetary value, but for their lasting appeal. for me the balmy soft pair greets fall like no other and there isn't a more appropriate boot for kicking fallen foliage in the park.

boots by vivienne westwood, jeans by drkshdw, bag by marc by marc jacobs, scarf by johanna kahra. photo by vesa peräkylä.

where's your fashion stumbling block?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

forbidden fruit.

i actually bursted out laughing when i saw these.

disclaimer: my blog did not turn into a virtual cutting board showcase, it is merely by chance that clever wooden chopping slabs appear in my posts two days in a row...

carved out of apple tree (buahaha!) to the shape of a macbook, complete with the groove and the lip just like on yer beloved closed laptop, a half-etch of the apple logo on top – surely to avoid legal consequences – and – whopee! – comes in all three sizes, this is the perfect gift for an appletheist.

oh, yes it is.

available from designspray.


yeah, kids, there hasn't been a lot of fashion talk here lately.

the reason is clear: i haven't felt inspired by anything new i've seen nor have i felt stimulated about clothing myself. comes down to being busy, wearing the same stuff every day and immersing myself in reading material not related to attire...

thanks to sugar kane who posted photos of olivier theysken's collection for theory i felt a nudge in my body towards wanting to sort out my closet. there were looks that spoke to me and felt like me.

as you might have noted, for me, excitement about clothes starts usually by going through what i have, not by running to stores.

as luck would have it, another competitor caught me off guard. samuji's lookbook started appearing online and i knew an instant favorite was found. not fluid and carefully articulated like theory, but constructed and simple almost (but only almost) nearing boredom, the collection has the feel of an easygoing classic.

needless to say, the style was instantly recognizable. years ago i was excited when samu-jussi koski started creating for marimekko, and felt ecstatic when he was appointed artistic director. the nicest and humblest guy in the world created wearable clothes that put marimekko back on my fashion map. when he left i was devastated although i was torn by his last collections.

sure i liked some of ritva falla's and mika piirainen's work, but mostly they felt too old and too casual respectively. samu-jussi gave marimekko structure and form – albeit abusing the egg and tulip ad nauseam – together with playfulness that was missing from their tailored clothes.

samuji captures the simplicity i appreciate. his first ss line of 2011 is a full collection including accessories and shoes, all manufactured in spain, estonia and japan.

thus, i am still not running to shops, but shall wait for next spring. a comeback for the both of us.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

mustering matteria.

the biggest national newspaper in finland, helsingin sanomat, has published a series of ten editorial articles about design in everyday life owing to the recent helsinki design week, and the last one came out late last week.

written by simo heikkilä, the professor of furniture design at aalto university, it problematizes the loss of the normative idea that every created object should improve the functionality of the one, or preferably a few (i.e. several objects), that preceded it.

the ethics of design have hardly ever been articulated as directly as this as he condemns cheap copies, variations and design for design's sake. design is essentially about improvement, an idea i have talked about here before, but instead of using industrial improvements to create objects that do the tasks we need more efficiently by doing them better or requiring less objects for multiple tasks, we are bombarded by objects for every imaginable moment and action.

moreover, collecting these needless things has become something of a status symbol. as he states, the irony is that our status is based on who can accumulate the largest heap of crap.

sadly, he is so right it hurts.

his point is not that design is worthless or that new objects are not needed. well, it might be that they're not needed per se, but that there is room for new design in this world – as long as we're responsible about it.

in a world where trying to live according to a credo, that both celebrates innovation and design but remains critical of needless accumulation of things, is increasingly difficult, it soothes the mind to find entrepreneurs and people who do their best to do the same.

a webstore i found a while back tries following the tenets professor heikkilä is raising. matteria shop sells items that have multiple uses or an extended usability, that cleverly combine items we've learned to conceive as separate, and they use sustainable materials and processes as much as possible.

founded by a finn and a brooklynite, based in barcelona, they seek items that fulfill the criteria they believe in, and their collection of goods is quite remarkable.

one of the latest that inspired me because of our last weekend's party debacle, is this wooden cutting board/hors d'œuvre plate that can be combined with others for a larger chopping surface or used to hold a set of appetizers and a wine glass. it is a cute idea of combining two uses unexpectedly.

pics from matteria shop.

nevertheless, i wouldn't be myself without hesitations: i am not sure if i know of anyone who would like or had the room for storing several of these – assuming cocktail parties are often held when there are such multiple attendees that a sit-down dinner would be uncomfortable – or, additionally, who would need many of them for chopping. somehow, i still think the idea is rather clever and whimsical.

another iffiness goes towards using a surface with visible cuts (which happens to cutting boards as we all know) as a serving place, but it could also be considered having a rustic feel to it. dunno.

in any case, there are other useful things that actually work without hesitation, so go on and check it out.

bashful bday.

it was my bday last weekend. i am officially older than jesus ever was...

on saturday we organized a late brunch that
a) exposed the limits of our apartment's seating and feeding capacity (20+ at a time is not possible...),
b) made me realize that people show up at a timely fashion if you organize a brunch in the afternoon, and
c) they are starving upon arrival.

hence, it was incredibly hectic in the beginning getting the food and drinks out – for some reason i believed it would be easy to ask everyone to just bring some food instead of gifts – and after sleeping late we were completely unprepared for the sheer amount of plates, oven pans, bowls and cake boxes that landed in our hands. therefore, i only managed to exchange a few words with some guests which still upsets me.

lesson learned: i'll just organize slightly more limited events later on and shall rethink twice before having a potluck...

after everything calmed down, it was all fun and games: the brunch continued for a full 12 hours. again. to prove it, there are two (!) very shaken (!!) and completely unpublishable (!!!) pictures of the entire party and, unsurprisingly, we never got to the much hyped eggs benedict... and our fridge is still packed.

but here i am with my third cake, on sunday, sans makeup, bed head, in my mother's old marimekko shirt...

thank you, my sweethearts, for making my day – my tummy thanks you for making the consecutive three days, as well. and now on to adult business it is.

as if.

passion for the night.

photo by miika saksi.

friday night i attended two book launches: miika saksi's by night and sara la fountain's passion for food.

miika's book is a recording of a bubble of helsinki nightlife from 2004 till last year. the multitalented illustrator and photographer has carried his camera religiously at parties and shot people having fun, helsinki style. the location of choice is most likely erottaja bar (r.i.p.) which you'll recognize as the turquoise background of most shots, but the streets, private residences and some other bars provide additional scenery.

the party was thrown at helsinki10, and what a suitable location it was. amongst the coolest gear were it-people sipping cocktails, djs playing tunes and miika's pictures projected onto a wall.

dj håkan tyg playing against the background of helsinki party kids.

later we joined sara whose party site of choice was the privacy of her home. the kitchen was filled with beautiful food and piles of her books were lying around the house for browsing.

her third cookbook is a journey through the different seasons, paying attention to each month with several recipes made of seasonal produce. her approach is true to traditions – seasonal celebrations play a major role in the book – and notorious of her sweet tooth, she included some amazing dessert concoctions for those of you who suffer from a continuous craving for sugar...

both books are highly recommendable. miika's is available at hki10 and stupido shop, sara's at bookstores nationwide. go get your copies!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

clap your hands if you're working too hard.

busy busy busy – that's all i have to say today.

but listen to this song, if you're feeling less than energetic... will keep ya going!

Friday, September 10, 2010

bros and mos.

i never thought i'd actually ever write this, but here goes nothing:

where are the hos? i want hos!

just talking about these stickers that warm the heart of an appletheist more than a customized bible cover ever could appeal to the devout christian. just cannot choose between these three amazing – and hilariously suitable – alternatives:

pics from stick with me, baby! more options (and mos) on the website. click to see a clearer image, blogger likes to smudge things...

and i haven't even gotten to the mos section, yet...

at 8€ a piece i could order a couple, but since they are proper stickers and non-reusable, i'd love to get it right the first time. any suggestions? which one would you go for?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

housewarming classic.

the in-laws popped by last week for dinner and brought a housewarming gift with them.

a classic with clean lines is always a safe bet, and because for some inexplicable reason we still did not have one – i remember fondling one at artek in turku in the middle of the nineties, but never got around to choosing a color let alone buying one – it was just the perfect present.

hooray for our 12 hour brunches! hooray for long sunday mornings! hooray for picnics!

here is stelton vacuum jug. welcome to our home.

cream of the crop.

here are a few recommendations for you art lovers out there:

1. cream at kiasma.

starting officially this friday, we were offered a sneak preview last night before tonight's official opening party. the exhibition is built of the works of the young artists dubbed yba who were the proteges of saatchi.

there are exquisite pieces from private collections that you don't want to miss. like this monoprint scribble from tracey emin below:

2. the kalevalakehto installation at the south tip of seurasaari.

i attended the opening night with elaborate program and a reception with delicacies from ilmatar restaurant. the serenity of the place was tangible although there were incredibly many people present – but i recommend walking down there with minimal company.

3. fashion photo helsinki by daniela talvitie at design museum.

up-and-coming and already established designers' gear shot in beautiful images by a brazilian fashion photographer.

4. the delicate, desperate and delightful video installation of isaac julien at taidehalli.

i have no words to describe this one. i only recommend you take a clear mind with you – and time. and keep your fingers crossed that there aren't many others in the room with you.

5. this weekend is the last opportunity to make it to the dreamy sleepwalks of miikka vaskola at kalhama piippo contemporary.

go and ruthlessly take advantage of all of this.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

battle up.

i once entertained the idea of starting ballet dancing again at adult classes... i think i'll take up both ballet and street dance and battle myself. it will be as fierce as this, for sure.


my fascination with growth and tending to plants took another step this year. or, quite honestly, a leap.

i wrote last year about how i had noted that country living had started to show its brighter sides to me and that i was slowly turning into my late mother.

the strangest part is photographing and admiring plants in their different stages of development – a habit of my mother's i could never understand before. i could not grasp how she found the same roses fascinating year after year, from early buds to full bloom. after three summers of following my spinach plants grow, i can totally relate.

this year my sweetie's month long tour and my fortnight along snatched valuable weeks from our summer and the time we could spend at the garden weeding, fertilizing and watering. we returned to a sorry sight although my sweetie's brother had taken excellent care of everything he possibly had the time for.

thus, we made a radical commitment and decided to spend summers in finland from now on.

and the reason is here and it's clear: just look at these beauties...

could you want anything more precious?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

jenny and johnny.

american pop music at its best... i was incredibly thrilled to find out that the singer of rilo kiley, jenny lewis, has teamed up with boyfriend jonathan rice to produce some exquisitely pretty, breezy 70's california folk-pop songs that sometimes get rowdy like the pixies. their album was out august 31st, but they are yet to release a video.

nevertheless, you can listen to the entire thing via this link as an adorable tape player video filmed in laurel canyon...

pic from jenny & johnny.

Monday, September 6, 2010

first aid kit.

it is rather ironic that last night i started to write a blog post about how i had skipped all fashion shows and openings during the helsinki design week and substituted socializing for sleep. just in order to make the point that i had evaded the threat of a fall cold.

seems i was a tad too fast...

greetings from under the blanket. these fresh youngsters from sweden will solace my aching body with their beautiful melodies and harmonies. how suitable a name for a band.

time is rough...

beast of a brolly.

these days my top accessories are a select few: a large bag to fit my laptop, tram ticket, lip balm and powder and, also recently added, a can of hairspray. see, i got a crash course on what it means to have hair at the punajuuri block party where a deluge reminded me of the humble natural state of my coif.

essentially, i am not a wash'n'go type anymore.

because of the fall, i have started to carry another item with me to help manage the result of my careful – ahem, not so – taming of my mane during the day.

talking about the umbrella, yes. a nifty little thing that is incredibly easy to forget and lose, and something i have grown to loathe deeply because being a clumsy person additional branches do not exactly make me more nimble. but essential it seems to be.

mine is a bright leopard, a flash of playful light when the weather gets as sombre as my usual outfits.

umbrella by marc by marc jacobs, beanie by lustwear, leather jacket vintage, top by cos, jeans by crocker, boots by alexander wang, bag by weekday. pics courtesy of stella.

Friday, September 3, 2010

celebrating growth.

tomorrow i suggest all of you in helsinki head over to kalasatama (or fish harbour) for the end of growth season party organized by dodo ry and the urban farmers of the area. there will be tastings, the first use of communally built pizza oven called "archie" that dried just in time for this weekend, and music provided by local bands.

you'll need 5€ if you want to bake your own pizza, your own utensils, plate and mug, water/drinks and appropriate clothing.

the fun starts at 5pm and goes on till midnight. the facebook event here. whoopie!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

if i believed in a soul, this is what i'd feed it.

the in-laws visited last night for dinner and, naturally, i did my best to keep them happy. they're foodies – a passion we share – but as you've probably gathered from my blog, the sweetie and i eat out quite a bit.

not that i cannot cook... i can. we just usually have simple salad meals at home, and when people show up, i'd rather serve them something slightly more purposeful than a salad topped with cheese and nuts.

i love to cook, but am impatient with preparing food. there are certain dishes i love to make when i have a room full of people, and when i started this blog, i wanted to share more of my favorite recipes. for some reason i failed to do so. better late than never, i guess.

here's a real crowd pleaser in the form of avocado and mint soup. works both hot and cold, it is a rich and creamy concoction that is incredibly easy to prepare. serves four as a light meal or six as a starter.


3 tbsp butter
6 spring onions sliced
1 garlic clove crushed
25g basic flour
6 dl vegetable stock
2 ripe avocados
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1,5 dl milk
1,5 dl (light) cream
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
salt + pepper
mint (and avocado oil) to garnish

1. melt the butter in a large saucepan, add spring onion and garlic, fry gently for a few minutes until soft. do not brown.
2. stir in flour and cook a couple of minutes. stir the vegetable stock in gradually and bring to the boil. let simmer 7-10 minutes.
3. add chopped avocado flesh, lemon juice, lemon rind, salt and pepper to the saucepan, cover and let simmer for 10 minutes until tender.
4. remove from heat, allow to cool for a while and smooth with a blender of your choice. stir in milk and cream and chopped mint, adjust seasoning.
5. chill or heat depending on your choice of serving temperature.
6. garnish with fresh mint and a few drops of avocado oil.

when you're asked to share the recipe every time you serve a dish, you're on to something. this is one of them. enjoy!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

hopes up.

i am in a great mood. partly it is due to the beautiful sunlight that illuminated my way to work this morning. helsinki is incredibly beautiful in the fall.

in greater part it is because of last night and the international media dinner for world design capital 2012 i attended at telakkaranta. i think it probably cleared my vision this morning.

the space had been turned from a dumpster to a surprisingly cosy loft just overnight. there were historical photos of the area on the walls, the eclectic looking – and sounding – tampo band from tampere provided the sonic ambiance and the atmosphere was cool and casual.

the design capital project is finally kicking off, and about a hundred media professionals and designers gathered to hear what we have to expect. although very little was revealed – i guess they're still coming up with the content – it bothered us fairly little. the ongoing helsinki design week and helsinki festival provided entertainment for the visitors and everyone seemed genuinely pleased with what they were experiencing.

we listened to the development plans of the shipyards and continued conversations around long dinner tables. we contemplated about the possibilities of creating such vast residential areas without ghettofying them. we had discussions about finnish food culture and the prospects of political and cultural change that thriving for excellence might bring about. we came about imaginations of taking development into our own hands, having and using the power to change our environment for the better. embedding design in life, as the slogan for helsinki's year states.

yet, there was none of the often complained naivety of believing that design itself could bring about change or improvements, but wholesome analyses about what truly makes meaningful design and the added relevance of creating living spaces that benefit through design.

there was such positivity and entrepreneurship in the air, people were smiling and sharing. pure vodka drinks with fresh seasonal berries from finlandia, eat and joy buffet dinner from organic local delicacies, the warm and inspiring dinner company of an urban planning professor and architect from cairo, the dozens of people i had the pleasure to meet briefly who all shared the air of excitement and, to top it all off, karaoke with alfredo häberli.

there is plenty to do and very little time, but i firmly believe that there is fertile ground for greatness here. the vastness of the project boggles the mind, and i truly hope that the results will provide more than the most obvious implementations and advances as the usual commercial ones.

take part in the process, and suggest, propose, inspire. although the idea bank at their website is closed, there are many ways to get involved.

i am truly inspired.