Friday, December 31, 2010

happy, snowy new year!

on the last day of the year we are supposed to reflect on those past 365 days that just went by. there is truth to the fact that as we get older, years seem to flicker by – as is the case with many of the other sighs escaping the lips of my mother that bored the hell out of me as i was growing up.

as you might have gathered from my perpetually diminishing postings, the end of this year has been incredibly busy.

i know that it is lame to tell you repeatedly that i am busy, but i feel the need to explain why i feel short of words.

my promise for next year is to take time to read and, subsequently, think more, which, in turn will mean more writing coming your way.

right now i am, however, sitting at the garden cottage in the middle of show-covered finnish archipelago, wrapped in wool, finishing my day's work.

although today was a normal working day for me – again – i had the pleasure of frolicking in the snow with jorma-irmeli during the day. the little critter seems surprisingly happy in the cold.

ok, so whacha goin' on...

look ma, i'm runnin'!

hasta la vista.

new year's elf.

now we are finally ready to start celebrating the end of the year with some of my loved ones. soon, we will go to the sauna, light the fireplace, pop the champagne and get the table ready for a mexican street food fiesta.

i wish you a happy, prosperous start of yet another 365 days to reflect on.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

top 10 of 2010.

i am not in the habit of doing these lists. i think this might be the first time, like ever, that i am putting together a summary of albums that i liked in one year. there were many others with excellent parts. not all of these are great throughout.

but here is my list in no particular order.

twin shadow: forget



national: high violet



magenta skycode: relief



villa nah: origin



owen pallett: heartland



marina and the diamonds: the family jewels



the hundred in the hands: the hundred in the hands



bag raiders: bag raiders



anoraak: wherever the sun sets



jaakko eino kalevi: modern life

Monday, December 27, 2010

snow can wait.

i forgot my mittens. wipe my nose, get my new boots on...

in this city of arctic conditions these days between xmas and new year offer freedom of dress to some of us unlucky enough not to have days off. this week i intend to walk to the office in my sorel boots wearing thick layers of wool and comfy leggings.

kicking through the snow without a worry in the world is such a perfect escape into childhood winters that i almost forget i am carrying my work laptop in my bag and need to sit still by the desk at the office.

waxed wool cardi by cos, leopard top by zara, leggings by pieces, boots by sorel.

just between you and me: when noone is around, i roll down the office corridors in my chair singing pirate songs...

Saturday, December 25, 2010

puppy love.

i love animals, i do.

anyone who loves animals, adores baby animals, right? yes, puppies, kittens, lambs, baby monkeys, the whole lot.

sometimes they're just a little too active for their own good.

here is the xmas greeting my sister's six-month-old pharaoh hound, pirjo, left on my bed this morning:

hello, i used to be a louis vuitton damier graphite iphone case.
the dog's got good taste, i say.

Friday, December 24, 2010

the sweet season.

these few nights before xmas we spent inside, sipping hot mulled wine and preparing tasty little presents.

my sweetie cooked the special mustard with whiskey with my dad in mind.
fresh in jars.

tagged and ready to go.

i melted chocolate and formed little balls of sweetness in various flavors.
truffles in four flavors: malibu-coconut, cognac, peppermint and vanilla-white chocolate-almond.

little jars of sweetness.

we left the entire apartment smelling of the most fragrant season, and i hope there's some traces of it left when we return in a few days.

i hope you all have a lovely holiday!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

xmas lunch.

'tis the season to be jolly, but for some reason we all seem to rush and hurry anxiously from one place to another.

this year i decided to be wise and get my presents early. i started off well ahead – in august – and got one. last weekend i realized that it was the only one i had.

and by itself it wasn't really a full gift... but that's beside the point.

as is the fact that everyone is busy and anxious about xmas because of shopping. blah blah.

because for people like myself this is the season of campaigns being rushed out: first xmas, then sales, and the reason i have not found a minute to blog, let alone shop, is my ringing phone and getting prepared for launches.

therefore, this silence that possibly and probably requires an apology.

or not.

but a girl has to eat at some point. i have avoided all traditional xmas buffets served everywhere – a bonus of working for a small company where large gatherings, which often rely on buffets, are rare.

accompanied by the delightful inke, we decided to opt for the full three-course xmas lunch at rafla.

although i am not too fond of traditional xmas fare, this little collection of flavors, summed up with a rhum and plum dessert, totally won me over.

go enjoy while you still can!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

wrapped.

windy helsinki is brutal for everyone in the winter. being the owner of an aging italian greyhound during finnish cold season is therefore rather stressful. the little cutie hates cold enough to find woolen blankets to dive under even in summertime, and needless to say, below zero degrees are something she loathes.

in case you did not know dogs age pretty much similarly to human beings, and now that she's almost 12, her skin sags and hangs loose on her withered old body. hence, providing warmth is increasingly important. moreover, these record-breaking winters are not exactly helpful.

jorma-irmeli defies the cold with a fleece suit from limbo. they make great gear for little skinny ones with longer legs – much needed because most dog clothing fits chihuahuas and other more robust breeds. they also offer the option of ordering made-to-measure items for any pooch in need of clothing.

when it gets really cold, we add another cotton suit underneath and a padded one on top. she also sports a beanie protecting her ears and neck knitted by my sweetie. (actually, it is a woolen sock without the toe part...) on her feet shielding from cold and salt are fleece booties which are surprisingly water resistant.

clothing her is such an effort that i actually feel for mothers with little kids. although i've been told that human babies learn to clothe themselves at some point...

full (winter) gear.

adorable, right?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

dragged out.

last thursday i had a very special dj-gig at jenny woo. i was invited to play at drag attack where dj guests are always dressed up. in drag.


since my personal style varies from fairly clear boy looks to over-the-top feminine frills and i do not have idols that i'd like to play, i was unsure which way to go.

after a busy week and another pro bono gig the night before, i decided to go for the simplest solution. remember my makia gear? well, it kinda started from there...

my drag role was "the punavuori hipster boy" whose life revolves around graphic design, dj'ing music at little indie clubs, taking photos and riding a fixed gear bike around town. however, my colleagues for the night – anna c, spelpojke and miia magia – took different approaches.

the result is here.


the queen gets the party going, spelpojke cheers on.

super mario and queen elisabeth.

hercule chaplin a.k.a. miia magia.

makia, could i model for your next menswear catalogue?

i guess i pulled my role off pretty well: when i tried to enter the bathroom, a bunch of girls pushed me out telling me it was the ladiesroom. they actually shoved me. another walked by while i was playing, stopped to stare and finally approached me with "you are a girl, no? why do you want to look like a boy?" the tone was accusative.

at first i found it hilarious, but then i remembered friends who have dealt with not fulfilling the expected gender roles and their stories of abuse, mockery and exclusion. what to me is all fun and games – something i play to my advantage because truthfully even my most androgynous looks are definitely tilting towards the feminine – is not too far from the reality of some who fail to fit into our heteronormative expectations...

it was quite an eye-opener because although i have lived my life surrounded by people who fail to fit into proper boxes and do not usually take a second look when something is "off" by accepted standards, i have heard and been present when confusion about gender pushes people to react. nevertheless, i have never personally witnessed the troubling sentiments ambivalence creates.

sometimes reality is a drag.

Friday, December 10, 2010

killjoy.

one of the highlights of big cities are their various markets. my passion are ones with young aspiring designers – in london there's been camden, parts of portobello and spitalfields, but all seem lacking these days and i haven't been able to find a location to replace them. i actually decided this year was the last one i venture to spitalfields because it has lost the last bits of its interesting charm.

not that there was any in the past five years or so anyways.

old habits die hard.

sigh.


since antiques are not a thing this minimalist cherishes, my choice are food markets. and there isn't one to surpass the borough market south of london bridge. surrounded by restaurants, cafes and small specialty stores, the market still serves local foodies in search of the best bits from local producers in addition to selections from all over europe.

at this point i'll just let the pics speak for themselves.

cabot chocolatiere.

getting some mulled wine.

glorious juice stand. was too freezing for any of their offerings, though.

delicacies.

got myself some pebrots de padron from brindisa shop. sweetie admired the ham and chilis.

cheese... i love cheese.

brindisa chorizo rolls are simple: chorizo, peppers, rocket, bun. the line to the little booth is long all day.

olives to die for.

heavenly halloumi burger for me from the veggie table .

the problem this particular market – and presumably also spitalfields and camden before it – suffers from, are the tourists. for markets that sell creative little pieces of clothing or accessories, tourists are beneficial to a certain degree. but at some point they overwhelm the buying crowd because their main interest is enjoying the vibe of the market. slowly but surely the small retailers are replaced by insignificant market crap which is cheaper and more likely to sell, the little food carts shoved into a corner from under bigger chains and after a while the market is a tourist attraction with very little to offer.

for food markets the results of increasing popularity are devastating: tourists want to nibble and bite into everything, but they hardly ever buy a single piece of cheese or jar of olives. a big pack of foreigners with cameras capturing the ambiance blocks locals who feel frustrated and leave without following through with their purchase.

caught in action.

unfortunately, in this issue i cannot disavow myself from the merry little crowd of people who just come to the market to inhale it. when it comes to groceries, i am definitely a tourist just visiting no matter how much i'd love to see myself behaving like the locals.

needless to say, i hate being part of the problem. i loathe myself for trying to snatch yet another little piece of cheese and not paying the vendor the courtesy of even pretending an interest to buy. every ooh and exclamation that leaves my lips feels like a curse that's suffocating the exact thing it is trying to elevate.

many vendors are already deserting the market and opening little stores along the side streets and alleys close to the actual market space. they want to serve their regular customers who find tourists a nuisance.

i want to recommend the food market although i probably should not. if i lived in london, i'd go every weekend to buy my groceries. it is such an overwhelming experience both visually and aromatically that the three hours that passed just walking around went hardly noticed.

vanilla custard danish. like creme brulée in fluffy pastry. yummy.

go visit, but please, buy plenty to support the people who make the market the amazing place it is.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

it gets better.

very late this october a surprising (to me, that is) group in finland decided to take action. they were not people who were unrelated to the topic at hand nor people who had not taken action before – there were think-tankers, digital marketing professionals, celebrities, corporate leaders, politicians, etc – but many of the members of the group had hardly taken a personal is political stance previously.

in a couple of days they put together a video that premiered at the TEDx helsinki conference on one of the first days of november.

i had read about my friends' facebook statuses that "great things were on the way", but nothing prepared me for the actual viral. i cried, and i wasn't the only one.


(if you cannot see the english subtitles, click on cc.)

the past year in finland has felt abrasive. last summer the pride march was attacked. people interviewed on tv, columnists and bloggers have taken their liberties seriously and uttered hurtful words using both their impressions about religion and their right to free speech as excuses. yesterday a "style consultant" asked the gay couples who dared to dance at the president's independence day reception to "show some respect" and refrain from dancing.

just like everywhere around the world, gay kids are more likely to take their own lives than straight ones – the bullying and marginalization is a reality as much here as it is in where the "it gets better" campaign was started, the us.

curiously all of these people claim to know plenty of lgbti-people and that they have close friends from sexual minorities. i am sure they find nothing religiously, stylistically or veraciously problematic about hurting (intentionally?) their other friends, either.

some even ask why gays are above criticism... although none of them can give any other "critical" argument but that they're grossed out about gays (that is, imagining sex between gay men, let's be honest here) and seeing gay people being treated just like others feels like an insult on normality (i.e. forces them to imagine sex between men).

the video above was shown at schools and on all national tv stations and it created such a wave of applause that the force behind it quickly gathered people to write their stories. today, they are launched as a book. it will be available in bookstores nationwide and online (for example here).

all the proceeds go to the youth help line funded by the mannerheim league for child welfare – about which i have distressed views because of their psychiatrist's inexplicable views about gay parenting. nonetheless, the helpline is the only viable one nationally and their work is without hesitation thoroughly admirable.

the book launch is tonight at jenny woo from 7.30pm onwards. there will be a couple of short speeches, some live music, excerpts read from the book and djs, myself included.

welcome.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

"mittens mittens, where are my mittens?"

the question above was the message in my friend's answering machine in the early nineties. not her cellphone, but a regular, when-i-am-out-the-door kind of an answering machine. the hastily uttered sentence was followed by a beep, and usually a fairly confused silence and a message from someone questioning their own sanity. in my teens i thought is was hilarious.

hilarious enough to remember it every time i see mittens.

i get to snicker a lot, because i am a mittens kinda girl. i own knitted gloves and have even taken a few adventurous leaps towards leather ones – supposedly more feminine and womanly. but since i am not too often playing a lady, i have managed to fight the cold with infantile handwear.

my newest acquisition is from lustwear. paint dipped and simple, they are probably as grownup as mittens can get.

my new mittens.

do you prefer gloves over mittens?

Monday, December 6, 2010

independent brand.

i took some time this morning to read the piles of newspapers we have accumulated next to the sofa. i have not had a chance to read the paper for almost a fortnight and i looked forward to spreading the large sheets on the coffee table. a beautiful snowfall, a steaming cup of coffee and, finally, a less congested head capable of understanding written material – it started as the perfect morning.

profoundly fitting for the day of finnish independence were the already old news of the finished work of the country brand committee. i had browsed through the book mission for finland! – how finland will solve the world's most wicked problems and clicked their flash filled website. i found the work thoroughly finnish and optimistic – a paradox, as i was to find out this morning.

i had read some reactions to the publication from online journals, but while they were carefully positive or only slightly snickering, i was not prepared for the loathing that hit me in the face from the newspapers' opinions and editorials.

my problem with the entire project was that i do not recognize the sort of nationalistic sentiments in myself that seem prerequisite for partaking in something like this. for me, feeling proud about being a finn seems alien. it is my cultural heritage, heterogeneous as such, but my process of an identity is too multifaceted to support such statements as national pride in all honesty. still i can grasp the objective at hand. or so i thought.

the thing is, it seems many finns found the project with the objective of defining features of finnish society that could be our strengths lacking because the end result wasn't a state of the nation report. the most common source of whining was that the problems we face – longtime unemployment, terrible mental health care, youth marginalization – were not discussed. that the perspective was not that of an average or disadvantaged member of society.

i am sorry but at what point did a listing of strengths need to include the problems? the country branding report was not meant to tell the world (or ourselves) what was wrong with finland, but what was great and unique about it and its people.

moreover, anyone with culturally sensitive reading glasses can infer from many of the tasks where our problems lay: lack of communication, lack of personal social support (in lieu of institutional support) and lack of intergenerational connections. there are suggestions for improvement and change but their focus is on the positive, not the negative.

and that's where the report fails to reach (some) finns.

i guess they got that much right.


happy independence day!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

green fuel.

my trips to london are quite different from the average traveler: i go (almost) yearly, spend most of my time on the cosy sofa at my sister's place catching up and, needless to say, spend a fairly limited time visiting sights and such. i've seen them all before and central london offers very little i find worth dealing with the tourists for.

yes, i am one of those arrogant snobs who after some time of living in london myself and nowadays as a regular visitor distinguish myself from other tourists whether the basis is logically sound or not. sorry.

one destination i do not skip, though, is food for thought. the small basement in covent garden serves vegetarian meals that are never fussy but always fresh and invigorating. i became a regular when i worked in london in the late 90's and cannot visit the city without eating a plate of their quiche and mixed salad and finishing the meal with a fruit scrunch.

beanie by lustwear, waxed merino cardigan by cos, tee by zara men, necklaces by i know why nokaren walkermy o my and mm6 by martin margiela.

i have never left unsatisfied.

the only minus is the tiny space that is often crammed and stuffy resulting in annoyance: people push and shove accidentally (and intentionally) and trying to get to the bathroom is like threading a warpath. the restaurant itself is one of those hippie-like, long wooden benches and amateurish paintings on the walls establishments that one of my readers, birger jaarli, so vividly and accurately described in the comments here. and my hippie loathing has prolly been obvious before.

the scrunch. best shared.


but because i love the food, i am willing to let the hippie vibes pass.

if you're after a delicious, cheap and unpretentious vegetarian lunch, i highly recommend the place.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

wrapped cake explosion.

i am not too fond of sweets, but whenever i travel i get cravings for cakes, pastries and puddings. it may be that bakeries around the world differ from our local kind by their extravagance; a window filled with a colorful selection of baked, iced, topped, berried, creamed and whatnot goods is sure to lure in at least to marvel everything.



the pastry du jour in london seemed to be the cupcake. there were little stores and booths everywhere we went: colorful windows filled with trays of little sugary bundles wrapped in paper. imaginative toppings ranging from classic to cute to raunchy offered anything and everything you might want for your party or just for the hell of it.



mikko got himself some pirate and some... ken.



i admired the little reindeer in need to pee in covent garden.