Tuesday, January 25, 2011

feelin' the blue.

you might as well consider yourself deaf if you did not hear the dance track of 2008: hercules and love affair's "blind". it is rare that an original dark dance gem gains such popularity – in my circle of friends it crossed musical taste boundaries like no other new song that i know of.

the album was great and the band rocked live, but i started doubting if there'd be anything to follow: the following year their starlet, nomi, formed another group, jessica 6. late last year kim ann foxman released a(n amazing!!) solo single, "creature".

i was convinced the band was done.

but no. soon after kim ann's release there was another hercules song: "my house".

their album, blue songs, will be released at the end of this month. for those of you in need of a prefix, guardian is offering a full album stream here. they're also playing live at debaser, stockholm 3 march 2011.

good vibes are back!

witty luxe.

viral visibility has caught on brands that formerly relied on taking over glossies with their multipage campaigns. the degree of airbrushing has since only exceeded what anyone believed possible and the pouts still adorn the pages, but the whimsical humor a clip of video can portray has appeared in places i hardly suspected.

first there was hermès with their successful fingerskate flick.

and now chanel is showing a sense of humor about their beauty line.

Animating Chanel on Nowness.com.

reputable and respectable fashion houses marketing via the power of smile is definitely something new, and i, for one, do not mind a little chuckle associated with the buck aimed at buying prestige.

what do you think: can high fashion take itself lightly without losing credibility?

Friday, January 21, 2011

heja sverige!

on the exact day that i placed a carefully pondered order at the byredo webstore, i received an email inviting me to the city where the magic happens. if you're about to be corrupted, why not accept bribery to greet one of your loved ones, because that makes it a token of affection, right?

and i just love stockholm.

the beautiful city has not been graced by my presence for such a long time that it is definitely well overdue that i drag my tush to the streets of södermalm.

i was invited to spend a weekend in our neighboring capital by visit sweden and viking line, and my lovely companions include my favorite blogger pals. i cannot wait.

although i am a little disappointed i'll miss the opening cocktails tonight at hel yes!

and just in time to see me off, my byredo package arrived with the scents of adventure.

ta ta, more later!


i was aware that it was gone. i even talked about it a couple of days ago with a friend. the feeling of being hit hard.

i mean that for the longest time i have not wanted something instantly when i lay my eyes on it.

i have grown pickier by the day, and have internalized the fact that i have very few needs. although i have found things attractive, wearable and sometimes quite exquisite, they have not created the feeling of desire. not enough to have me going all clickety-click through checkout.

i have been looking for a medium sized black bag for over a year. i have considered the ps1 repeatedly, but for some reason or another have left it at the store. i really like it, but feel unsure whether the structured shape would look too stiff in combo with my bare style.

this time things are different. this is pure lust.

i want.

alexander wang kirsten satchel. pics from here.

isn't it just perfect? and so me?

Thursday, January 20, 2011


today i learned that swedish hasbeens will hook up with h&m to produce a line of their signature clogs. i had to read it twice to believe the news.

i have celebrated the branding of swedish hasbeens since the beginning, and although i find their shoes clumsy-looking, i own a bag and have always appreciated their knack in creating a fully solid brand image and story with an actual basis in reality. that is, they have given body to their marketing jargon with their commitment to ethical local production that celebrates the history of swedish craftmanship. i never considered them a design forward company, but a nostalgia driven provider of handmade quality wrapped in a package that appeals to the current tastes of urban fashionistas. and they did well – so far, that is.

as my readers should know, i have nothing against h&m, per se, although i rarely buy anything from there; it comes more down to cutting down consumption than a boycott of any kind. i am fully aware of the ethical dilemmas of the fashion industry. it isn't news to me that consumer prices are full of air – although i truly wish gina tricot doesn't add too much to theirs for the sake of paying minimally humane wages. blah blah blah.

my point is not that there's something wrong about creating accessible goods by lowering the price, because this is a brand specific rant.

pic courtesy of h&m.

i only see one loser here: swedish hasbeens. was it that they realized that the hipster community stranded them for the next brand or trend, flimsy as they tend to be? did they calculate that providing products for the ethically inclined consumer base was not enough to meet their growth expectancy? were we just not buying enough of their shoes?

i find it sad because they destroyed their credibility as a local and sustainable brand by forming the wrong kind of alliance. h&m appeals to the masses and helps create press thus promoting sales, but at what cost?

was it really worth selling their beautifully branded soul...

what do you think?

edit: it has become apparent that swedish hasbeens have suffered from their collaboration in ways that was unexpected: h&m has (most probably) accidentally revealed that the eco-brand blatantly lies on their website: on 9 feb 2011 the page still says:
They are still handmade with respect for people and the environment in the same small Swedish factory since the 1970's. Our production methods and material are kind to nature and people. Happy toffels make happy people.
h&m's press office told bloggers inquiring about the clogs that they are made in the same factory in romania as original swedish hasbeens. what an inconvenient truth.

worthy of space.

lately i seem to be hearing and reading about the recycling troubles of friends and fellow bloggers regularly, and thought that i'd show what we're doing.

to begin with, i take it for granted that people recycle their waste to their best ability. i wish there were more collection points in the city, but we've managed so far with the ones available to us. needless to say, i hope it was all much easier – like in germany, for example – but i can deal with the system we have as well.

i am aware of the many arguments claiming that recycling is redundant and i know that global inequality is apparent in many matters regarding the subject, such as recycling electronic hardware. ultimately, the problem of a trash-engulfed world will not be solved with recycling, but by radically reducing waste production, but in the meantime trying to reuse whatever we are tossing away seems like a plausible activity.

to our solution, then.

one of the first things we decided after moving in to our new home a bit over a year ago was where to organize the recycling. our kitchen trash bins were enough for biowaste and whatever unrecyclable waste we might produce, but i wanted a simple solution for returnable bottles, glass, metal, paper and carton.

the thing is: i am lazy and cannot be bothered to take newspapers, magazines, bottles and whatnot out all that often. therefore, the requirement for some proper storage was quite urgent.

in a household of infinite shoes – a sneaker and a heels collector do not a storage-friendly couple make – all closet space is highly valued, but we decided from the get-go that one of our high hallway wardrobes would have to give half of its space for recycling. it is undoubtedly true that shoeboxes adorning the perimeters of our habitat are more aesthetic than almost any available recycling center if left in plain sight as the latter tend to be some ugly mofos.

with a couple of simple, cheap and almost decently attractive boxes from ikea we had our system ready. the top one is for return bottles, the middle for paper and carton and the bottom for glass and metal. on the left side is an extra lid and on the right a collection of paper bags for reuse.

someone's been gulping on vitaminwater lately...

although we need to sort out the paper from the carton and the glass from the metal before tossing it, the reasonable size of the container divides the task to bearable episodes to be performed at a time. quite honestly i think it does work out nicely.

and as you might have noted, it isn't a particularly creative solution: storage boxes in a closet. additionally, they are storage boxes designed for recycling. so why am i eager to show it, you might ask.

the reason is that knowing the limited amount of living space the average finn has at their disposal in addition to the constant lack of storage space, our decision to dedicate a large part of essential and fully functional space to the mundane task of recycling becomes clearly a conscious choice.

we certainly do not have more room or more of the much treasured closets than people living in central helsinki on average have. we also wanted to challenge (in our own life, that is) the assumption that all waste management should happen in the kitchen and be fitted under the sink.

i am aware that none of this is really worthy of praise nor does it count as original thinking; there are plenty of others making similar value-based decisions every day. some of my friends have thoroughly inventive systems at their homes. moreover, most people discussing their problems with eco-friendly living are really only after design savvy solutions, such as the ovetto, instead of eyesores or something that genuinely does not cram an already small space.

however, there is plenty of excuse talk: if only we had a house instead of an apartment or a proper utility room or a garage or an extra 20 square meters... it just seems that for some the simple decision to recycle can create an immense source of discontentment and personal nuisance. although it makes me no saint, i can tell you that it really comes down to priorities.

how are you dealing with the requirement to recycle?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


for someone who practically lives in jeans and tees – be they morbidly black and artfully deconstructed but still, ultimately, just jeans and tees – there is a need for something simple to dress outfits up. or, to be quite honest, the need is based on my desire for things to be simple and, thus, a need of my own creation.

as most style issues are, i guess.

a sharp jacket is a self-evident solution, but i find most blazers dull and boring even when they have something quirky going on cut or detail-wise. nevertheless, for some reason during these past few years my go-to piece has been a simple, no-fuss, short blazer with short sleeves.

i purchased it on a whim from h&m and i think it was on sale. i have worn the bargain piece everywhere to smarten casual outfits up or to cover something too dressy for the occasion, like a tiia vanhatapio mamie dress. the short length exposes layers underneath and does not overwhelm or over-construct the look; the look is never your basic office coverall but the jacket provides a frame for the shoulders and bust.

the only problem with my chosen one being the short sleeves has kept me looking for a long-sleeve alternative. i have tried on numerous garments and always found them lacking in some respect: no buttons in front, no collar or the wrong collar, too loose in the back or in the sleeves... you can imagine.

finally for xmas, my sweetie solved the issue and got me a beautiful black alexander wang blazer with super long sleeves and the perfect cut above the midriff. i have worn it everywhere ever since and it has definitely proven to fill a gap i had in my wardrobe.

soon i'll probably have some shots of me wearing it, too. i just seem to avoid the camera these days...

have you got an unlikely staple in your wardrobe?

Friday, January 14, 2011


saara ekström's limbus opened last night at kiasma museum of contemporary art.

ekström's video installations and photographs describe a midway between bloom and decay, natural and artificial, life and death.

by themselves these topics often seem fully exhausted as the binaries themselves are such monuments of modern patterns of thinking and even her preferred imagery of wilting flowers can appear blasé, but the collection of images and videos is so strikingly beautiful while challenging our conceptions of beauty that i, for one, am willing to ignore the downsides.

go see.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

eezy chiiz.

last year was definitely a food centered one for me.

although food has, for years, played an important part in my life, i was not raised in a foodie family. the sad truth may unveil itself more clearly if i told you that my elder brother asked me last year what the green grassy stuff i brought to the table was. he has not ventured far from our childhood days and did not recognize basic basil pesto...

bluntly put, my introduction to the fineries of nutrition came gradually and later in life. to be exact, my infatuation with food began with ethical questions and only afterwards moved on to culinary considerations.

on a daily basis i am easily pleased: bread and cheese keeps me going for a surprisingly long time. days, to be completely honest.

moreover, i am not picky nor do i expect the best, and i have been known to nibble on leftovers until they actually run out. i still cannot throw food away – a remnant of the frugal lifestyle of our family.

nonetheless, i appreciate and cherish every meal that is prepared with care, and although i have an inbuilt hostility towards routine, i have rediscovered the fascination of taking the time to plan and execute meals myself.

with our garden cottage, i've discovered the joys of seeing my food grow from minuscule seeds and have, i kid you not, experienced mothering tendencies with my plants. seriously, there is nothing maternal about me otherwise.

my latest pursuit goes towards creating items i would normally buy readymade: tortillas (which did not turn out but resembled little corn blinis instead... but i ain't givin' up.) and cheese.

stir stir...

the simplest recipe is curdled with eggs and sour milk or creme fraiche, and is as easy to prepare as a plain soup – it just requires careful heating and stirring... and some more stirring...

take 3 parts (full) milk, 1 part sour milk or creme fraiche and add 1 egg per regular milk litre. heat the milk carefully to boil, mix the sour milk and eggs in another bowl. add salt and spices (such as cumin) to taste.

remove the milk from the heat and add the egg and sour milk mixture. reheat carefully, stirring constantly until the first bursts of boiling appear. remove from heat and pour carefully into a colander or a cheese mold. gently push down and add a weight on top. let cool in the fridge.

voila, you've got yourself a hefty glob of fresh, milky cheese.

final product.

pics are from the garden cottage, a day before new year. old kitchen stove works for cheesemaking, too.