Thursday, October 28, 2010

myke it special.

most of us own something from ikea, be it an entire set of furniture bought almost at once when in dire need – because the only place most of us can get a set of furniture at once is this massive global interior decoration phenomenon from sweden – or something that's stuck throughout the years. their basics adorn households everywhere, and i am quite convinced that many people share my frustration with their items being so recognizable.

we've got, for example, a few expedit bookshelf units which are the only inexpensive ones on the market that hold the mass of books we own. i'd like to get a set of string, but so far they're just a little too expensive to buy en masse. i found a really nice shelving system from boconcept, but was told that it wasn't designed to hold books... okey.

thus, we're dealing with ikea.

for those of you who share my detriment – and why not for you who actually love your unmistakable ikea pieces – there's a new service for practically unlimited customization options: mykea.

after realizing that ikea furniture is totally standardized, the people at mykea saw a clear spot for offering several designs that can be adapted to the most popular ikea lines, such as the billy bookshelf and malm beds and dressers. the vinyl cover is attached with soapy water and can be removed with heat and sticker remover, but knowing the base material, i would not really recommend removing one...

the idea seems original and sociable: they let you submit your own print and offer accepted designers a percentage of any of their prints sold. their prices are low – which also means that the 10% going to the artist is prolly not too much – but keeping such a product affordable is probably a good selling point.

click to enlarge.

there aren't many i'd consider at present time, but the selection seems to be growing. if i end up having my malm dresser for longer than i'd prefer, i might just consider getting a couple of sailorettes on it...

what do you think?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

choked without the sun.

late fall is the time of delicious roots. they have quietly taken their time to develop within a similar darkness that we'll all live in soon.

although jerusalem artichokes are supposed to be unearthed after the first frost, we dug them out already well over a week ago. such is life divided between the country and the city.

the beautiful yellow flowers decorated a field of greenery – sunchokes are quite prolific and have taken over a large patch behind the cherry and apple trees.

we dug the clumsily knobby roots into a bucket and continued to the time-consuming project of washing and peeling them.

but what delicacy were we in for. having little sister over for sunchoke purée and fried baltic herring was one culinary bliss with the added bonus of catching up.

for the purée you'll need a saucepan full of peeled jerusalem artichokes. you can boil them in vegetable stock or water, however you prefer. boil until soft, pour stock out of saucepan (leave a tablespoon), mash with a fork or a blender, add butter and a little full fat milk, salt and white pepper to taste.

with the same recipe, but by keeping a tad more of the vegetable stock and instead of butter and milk add a few spoons of cream and some cheese (i prefer koskenlaskija, a processed cheese which despite the name is less processed than most cream cheeses on the market, go figure...), you'll get a rich, flavorful soup.

i know it sounds strange, but i prefer cream in my soup and milk in my mash. dunno. up to you, really.

heaven on a plate, i promise.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

shoegazers of the world unite.

kitsuné maison seems to land all sorts of great artists. one of their young british stars, is tropical, is releasing their first full-length early next year. here's their second ever, first on kitsuné single "south pacific". lo-fi weirdo pop with a very catchy synth line to perk up your (and my) busy day!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

neighborhood recommendation #17: organic fine dining.

you know when you hear about a new restaurant and think "we should go there" and never end up booking a table? it's happened to me more often than i'd like to remember.

the most extreme and aggravating result of my procrastination being the news early last spring that i'll never eat at el bulli...

this time we were clever enough to call right away when we heard about a cancellation on the second night of a mind-tingling new place. i usually do not recommend places after just one visit, but i wanted to give these guys a shoutout.

how lucky we ended up to be.

restaurant chef & sommelier started serving their organic fine craftmanship last friday a few blocks away, on a quiet residential street. dog-walkers were eyeballing the patrons inside and people returning from their weekend shopping seemed genuinely surprised to see a new restaurant just pop open in the middle of their neighborhood.

a small place with seats for only 20 people, i was at first a little startled when i entered – "this is it?" the atmosphere got more relaxed instantly when you were greeted attentively. ultimately, the small room felt actually quite cosy with airily set tables to provide privacy. additionally, the clientele was more casual than at your usual fine dining establishment which added to the comfort level.

their menu consists of seasonal ingredient listings without elaborate explanations of what you'll get. i had their fish menu, but was positively surprised by the fact that they openly offered a menu vert as a vegetarian (and if i'm not mistaken, possibly vegan) option. more often than i care to remember, my dining experience at a finer venue has been tarnished by the chef's arrogance over cruelty-free options and, thus, i still cannot take for granted that vegetarians are equally served in restaurants.

to start off, we received an amuse-bouche of aubergine. what their consistency with seasonal, organic and local ingredients wins, my menu somewhat lacked in coherence: my first course, a deconstructed interpretation of ratatouille, suggested a more experimental approach than i usually go for and was the least successful part of my meal. don't get me wrong, the dish was pure in taste – especially the iced ratatouille itself that charmed with the strong flavor of bell pepper was incredible – and approachable, but did not prepare me for the follow-up.

because what came after was quite spectacular.

my second course "artichoke and gnocchi" was a four-way of the root before which the chef entered the dining room to offer the scent of a gnocchi cooking in olive oil and thyme. the fragrance of thyme filled the room several times during the night and every single time it was as intoxicating as the first.

my main consisted of zander (pike-perch) and a heavenly (did i say it yet? i mean divine) purée of parsnip. after i sent my greetings to the kitchen, the chef showed up to tell me how to prepare it.

and that's the charm of feeling welcome. you get lovingly prepared, intricately thought out dishes without secrecy or pretentiousness – just pure, shareable joy about the love of food. even the usual gimmicks of telling whose garden the fruit and veggies came from felt genuine and fit the service beautifully.

my sweetie was pleased with the meat menu, and we both received excellent recommendations for wine throughout the meal. the nervousness of the first days was tangible, but we were handled with such grace and enthusiasm that you could easily ignore minute discrepancies.

i am eager to visit again and hope they have a very prosperous start. the combination of eco and fine in one dining experience is truly invigorating and finally welcome in helsinki.

Monday, October 18, 2010


two years ago i wrote:

outrageous outings? i will out stuff i find outrageously cool, impressive, or beautiful. and i'll complain about all sorts of stuff, if i feel like it.

welcome. feel free to comment.

it was the beginning of my third blog, this particular one.

ever since, i have tried to find my unique style of posting and given up on the quest. since then i have tried to figure out the exact content limitations of my topics and given up on that, as well.

i have kept my innermost thoughts, my family and friends out of the blog, but have allowed myself the freedom to talk about issues that concern me any given time. since then i have posted everything i said i would – start vaguely and you have all the freedom in the world, right – and have gone deeper whilst staying superficial.

what i have realized is that this is my space and it will reflect whatever place i am at: i have no need to define either my style or my territory.

it is right here and mine to rule.

all this said, i am saddened to see that many of my fellow bloggers are feeling tired, drained and out of words. for some of them part of the reason appears to come from feeling left talking alone which is the most powerful insinuation that one's words have no significance. i can relate, because as i have explained before, i blog because it gives me the ability to communicate and it feels left halfway if noone reacts.

my consolation is the steadily increasing number of regulars – an international bunch you are – who come and keep on coming to read. i can never anticipate which posts create discussion, but i am not sure if i really care about the reasons anymore. i only keep on hoping that they would. create. discussion.

nevertheless, my flow is not drying up nor am i tired of blogging. i stumble into amazing things daily and although i have fairly little time to focus on actually developing a proper thought, let alone an argument, i will keep on outing outrageously cool, astonishing, strange, and annoying stuff as i have so far.

moreover and most importantly, i have enjoyed every contribution you, my readers, have ever made to my blog – even (or especially) when i haven't agreed with you – and i appreciate your effort in giving me feedback.

because i intend to follow my own voice from now on as i have done before, i am not open to suggestions of improvement. but, if you feel obliged, as a bday present to my blog i'd love to hear from you. if there were posts or topics that you've liked, topics that i have seemed to have given up, anything that you've enjoyed – this is a great time to remind me.

thank you for these past two years. there will be more.

Friday, October 15, 2010

rainy day.

as a kid i remember loving rainy days at the summer cottage. old windows reflected light kaleidoscopically and when they were covered in flowing water, the familiar environment of greenery turned into magical fountains of color.

i would sit by the window for hours, utterly and totally mesmerized.

needless to say, i still love the cottage on rainy days. nevertheless, i hardly spend time sitting by windows at home these days to watch the rain. in fact, the only moments when i face the powerful downpours of fall is in the car, on my way somewhere. if i am driving, there is hardly time for admiration in the midst of nervousness over the slippery road, but sometimes as a passenger while uttering soft words of encouragement and hoping things go steady and safely, i secretly focus on the blurred view in front of me.

because of this, it comes as no surprise that i find the hyperrealistic paintings of gregory thielker incredibly fascinating. his images capture the landscape from the inside of the car, the moments torn by anxiety over poor visibility and the incredible beauty showing through a layer of flowing water.

for some reason, being encapsulated inside a mass of water feels safe. you know what i mean?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

pop gone gaga.

so, i went to see lady gaga last night. her tour, monster ball, is described as a pop opera freakshow which was underlined throughout the night.

we're all freaks and we can be anything we want to be.


the show was a prime example how a great production team and director are worth their weight in gold. there was a theme (monster ball), there were clever little references to rocky horror and other well-known popular culture phenomena, there were ott outfits, there was video and there was the insignificant pop that gaga performs.

i would really like to like lady gaga. she's talented and has great charisma. she promotes various valid causes that i have to applaud her for. without a doubt, she sings well – and told us repeatedly that she doesn't lip synch (if loud backup tapes are not considered lip synchin').

her show was, unfortunately, boring and uneven. the girl cannot dance. at all. it became clear fairly close to the beginning that she can pull off an amazing performance of one song, but collapses between changes and transitions. the theme felt like a great idea to begin playing with but was sporadically forgotten. especially the videos, of which there were many (too many) seemed regular photoshoot material and had nothing to do with the theme.

gaga gaggled between every song which pointed out a tad too obviously that she didn't have enough material for the length of the show she wanted to pull off. it would have been ok to just shorten the thing...

her aspiration towards creating a spectacle like madonna's was obvious, but her team didn't quite deliver. with careful planning and production it could have been entertaining – given that i have enjoyed other shows by artists i do not particularly like, such as the above mentioned madonna and pink.

lotsa gaga about nada.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


although i am rather unsure about the ecological impact of energy efficient lightbulbs, i greet this newbie with approval. if we are forced to use mercury laden bulbs that are expensive to manufacture, purchase and dispose of, they might at least look good.

as we all know, energy saving bulbs are ghastly creations, and plumen is the first attempt i've run into in the world of lighting to improve the looks of the low energy bulb.

pic from plumen.

i am not entirely sure if i enjoy this twisty thing, but at least it's bearable. at almost 30€ a pop, i'd save them for exposed lighting.

available for pre-order from plumen shop.

let the poison flow.

how perfect for midweek. or any time of the week. this track still feels fresh and new every single time i hear it.

clothed by dear friend i know why no, sung by the beautiful sonja, directed by miikka lommi. jaakko eino kalevi gives you poison.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

make it to greenpoint.

although many people who take pride in their credibility – that elusive definition that vaporizes every time you try to grasp it – like to complain about gentrification, the truth is that when neighborhoods become cleaner, services better and entrepreneurship seems attractive as an option, they are more tolerable to live in.

the only downside to the sudden elevation of a neighborhood is that rents are hoisted forcing some people to move out. nevertheless, according to many studies, the amount of people who need to move is rather small and most original residents of any given neighborhood greet gentrification with appreciation.

thus, those who want to move because the area is too gentrified, is extremely small and usually a privileged lot who like slumming it just for the sake of, well, keeping it real... the paradox of hipsterdom.

during our trip to nyc, i witnessed what had happened to my old hood and most of it felt great: my home street, grand, had turned into a bonafide boutique and bar row. nothing wrong with losing, for example, the maquiladora next door to our place, i say.

after williamsburg has definitely become more desirable and expensive to live in, the area has spread out to other neighborhoods. part of the same rezoning plan that is affecting willyburg and raising serious objections from locals living in the area, northern greenpoint, an old polish hood, still waits for better public transportation in order to fully make it as a worthy location – now that the l runs pretty reliably (what it did not when i lived in wburg), the g train is still a mess –, but there are plenty of cool happenings and venues to be enjoyed.

and who needs to ride a train anyway, right? just hop on yer bike...

one night we took a stroll towards the water, to a small bar called coco 66, where friends of a friend were hosting a comedy night. the crappy cinema council is a night of movie clips from the worst films the hosts have stumbled upon accompanied with their often fabulously hilarious commentary together with standup of variable quality. some was funny, some poor and demeaning. all in all, if you’re around, a great two hours for some laughs.

with new restaurants popping up every week, there are always new ones worth checking out. a great place for fish tacos in greenpoint is papacitos where the yucca fries are chevy and the burritos almost as big as in cali. a big bonus is the unostentatious presence of vegan alternatives next to basic carnivorous choices – why can't we have that here, may i ask?

papacitos, in the dark.

the bonafide hangout of greenpointers is still enid's, a bar and restaurant with the best bloody mary we had the pleasure to enjoy during our stay. my sweetie still refers to the us as “the land of crappy bloody marys” but the enid's version was quite alright. it is also one of the brunch places i’d recommend, if you’re in the neighborhood.

enid's bloody mary, darker.

as a long overdue report of our last trip to nyc, i'll try to return with some other tips and suggestions. anything in particular you might want to hear about?

Monday, October 11, 2010

i look forward and see myself looking back.

last weekend we scrubbed the paths clean of their littering mantle.

last weekend we scoured the soil of submerged growths and liberated the trees from their heavy ornaments.

last weekend we quenched the fires and let the cold in.

we closed the doors and left the cottages sleeping under bright, starry skies.

things that make me go hmmm.

things that have made me go hmmm in all sorts of ways lately:

1. we have an idiom in finnish "thanks for the last time". i do not recall a similar one in english, one meant to be uttered when met again after a particularly fun or beneficial last meetup, but there might be one despite my amnesia... (do share, if you remember, please.)

the proper response to it is "thank you, too" – an acknowledgement that you enjoyed it as well. last week a friend i did a favor for responded to my utterance of courtesy by responding "you're welcome." not sure what to think about it... perhaps i was too keen for a thank you?

2. anyone fancy a cup of tea? the "tv pick-up" in the uk after a regular episode of eastenders can be about 3 gigawatts, which represents one and a quarter million kettles going on at the same time. it’s such a massive amount that they have to borrow electricity from france to stop the lights going off.

i love imagining an entire nation moving as one.

3. the opening scene of simpsons 101010 episode created by banksy. the underworld of creation...

4. the geometry of pasta for those of us who barely differentiate between spaghetti and capelli d'angelo... oh crap, i had no idea there were that many.

5. alain delorme's photographs of little girls and bicycle haulers. as fas as the first go, there's barbie and barbie, but for the latter the question is only: how do they do it?

have a great week!

Friday, October 8, 2010

menmade music.

continuing the theme of my last post, i want to share some music. men is the project started by le tigre members jd samson and johanna fateman that nowadays also includes members from hirsute. following the explicitly political and performance arty footsteps of the riot grrrl electroclash of le tigre, men create danceable queercore sometimes in your face, like in song "credit card babies"...

...and sometimes resorting to more metaphorical finger-pointing, like "off our backs".

for those of you missing le tigre, this may act as some consolation.

bright boi.

my sweetie received a big box of goods from makia's fall collection, and i was eager to grab the best stuff for myself. although their women's line is not out until next season, their men's is rather wearable – if you don't mind the fact that clothes cut for men accentuate a womanly body quite differently than is usually considered flattering.

and you know by now that i do not mind, quite the opposite.

i snatched a plaid shirt made of thick and dense cotton flannel which was actually warm enough by itself on a sunny fall afternoon. the material is so stiff that the shirt almost stands on its own and because of it, the shape remains true to intention: the shoulders are too wide and the cut flattens my chest which together create a boi'ish look. boyaka!

they also did slim denim this season and this grey pair felt instantly comfy.

beanie by lustwear, scarf by henrik vibskov, shirt and jeans by makia, sneakers by converse.

and since i am utterly shallow in my style choices, i attire my dog accordingly...

jorma irmeli is wearing a tee by american apparel and hoodie by loyal army clothing.

do you sometimes feel like playing little boy dress-up?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

let it pop.

ok, i know that everyone hates pop-up windows. but you might just want to enable yours for this here, a clever little nibble of human communication in a refreshing visual and technical creation.

just let the window take its course...

Monday, October 4, 2010

the smartest thing she ever said.

yet another exciting project online, the ann taylor funded platform curated by alexis hyde: the smartest thing she ever said exhibits the talents of four pairs comprised of a writer and an artist.

each pair will post twice a day for three weeks, and move over for the next couple. i am particularly drawn to the website because it is a welcome addition to this age where more and more visual stimuli is offered without text – and i hardly find endless pictorial flows gratifying.

the first pair consists of photographs by laura taylor and short prose by tess lynch, and so far the text adds and twists the photos – by themselves so far rather compelling, for sure – to reveal perspectives otherwise lost.

pic+text from the smartest thing she ever said and tweaked by me.

go enjoy!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

shading the light.

my favorite season is right now. the air is crisp, the foliage is absolutely at its peak, the light is warm, there is a proper night that falls unexpectedly fast...

i could just walk around the city all day. and night.

which i did on thursday.

wearing these shady things in bright sunlight.

men's blazer by armani, sweater by helmut lang, tank top underneath by rick owens, jeans by drkshdw, boots by dr martens, necklace by mm6, bracelets by bless, bag by marc by marc jacobs.

ok, let's get this over with now...

although we're not quite there, yet, this song suits my mood perfectly.