Saturday, October 26

California Dreaming

So I'm sick, again, and unable to sleep.

Watching Awkward on Netflix and thinking about Christmas.

I have no idea where I'm gonna be this Christmas yet. But I can't help going back to last Christmas. I can't believe it's almost a year ago already.

I got so nostalgic I had to turn on our playlist and go through all of the old photos.

I left my heart in San Francisco.

Ok, I'm sorry about the lame clichés, but bare with me. Last Christmas we spent two weeks in California, visiting the places we lived from '99 to '02. This was the second time back since then. The first time, however, was in '04, so almost ten years ago. A decade since I'd last seen old homes, schools and best of all, friends.

This is gonna be long and image heavy.

Carmel beach.

Joel considers a new girl friend...

Somewhere along the 17 Mile Drive.

A slightly awkwardly cute picture of us.

Sea lions!

Monterey Bay, where I wanna grow old.

Jellyfish are my favorite. From Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Moon shining on Monterey Bay.

Dat food. I think I came back about 59 lbs heavier.
 Also where are all my In'N'Out pics?!

Redwoods are HUGE. And people are small. At least my sisters are.

And these are just trees. Think about the universe.

Some more trees for you. You just don't get this in Finland.

How I dressed up for NYE. 
Dress from, shoes from Bianco, necklace from PacSun.

This is how we celebrated Finland turning in to the new year.

And this is how we celebrated at midnight in the Pacific Time Zone.

So before I retire in Monterey, I wouldn't mind living in this house in SF, for example.

View of San Francisco from the ferry to Alcatraz.

Yup. San Francisco is definitely my favorite city in the world.

Thursday, October 17

What I Carry Around

Inspired by Saara/Nipsulintu's post, I decided to go for that post as well, and show you guys what I carry around in my bag on a normal day. This happened to be a Wednesday, before work, the day before an exam. No further explanations needed, I'll just move on to the pictures.

First of all, the bag itself. ois bag bought this fall from Aleksi13. For the longest time I've basically only used canvas totes or my pink back pack, but unfortunately pink does not go with everything, and I can never find my keys or my wallet or my phone from among books and papers and my laptop, and totes just don't last that long. This bag has some nice compartments, including a separate laptop pocket perfect for my MacBook. So much better.

And on to the contents! My brand new pencil case from (I only recently out of necessity got rid of my trusty old pencil case that I've probably had since middle school and all through high school, it had too many holes, I was losing all my pens), make up bag, university planner, and my wallet.

My laptop case, charger with a label so my sisters (or anyone else) don't steal it, Sodastream bottle.

Same gender studies book as from a few posts back, hand outs for the same course, my home keys (and keys to a bunch of other places), work keys that I handed in yesterday.

Two headbands, Volt phone charger, breath mints, painkillers in a tin, and sunglasses.

What you did not need to see but will anyway: trash. Two random flyers, old receipts and old tissues. My bag is normally a mess.

I'm one of  those people who can never just bring a tiny little bag, I always carry everything with me. Maybe that's why my bag, that's only a couple months old, is starting to show some signs of wear, mainly in the strap department.... Oops.

Wednesday, October 16

Lend a helping hand

Finland is known for snow, saunas and introverts. The stereotypical Finnish person is quiet, gloomy and very private. You're not allowed to be a burden to anyone else, it's not normal to look a stranger in the eyes, let alone smile, when you pass each other on the street. You keep your nose out of my business, and I'll leave you to yours. Going to school abroad, I was normally greeted with "What's wrong?" instead of "What's up?", because I didn't walk around with a big enough grin on my face. "Nothing, I'm just Finnish..."

The thing I find maybe most oppressing in Finland is the way you need to act like other people don't exist even when you're on an overflowing bus (and by Finnish terms, overflowing means that when you stretch out your arms, you might reach another person). I guess we're so used to privacy and loneliness that acknowledging another person's presence in public is almost face threatening. And I think that this is the essence of a huge problem.

This post on a Finnish blog about an incident on a bus started this social media campaign about helping people. 

"Are you OK?" / Pic from the campaign

The aim is to raise awareness and to activate people to lend a helping hand when they see others in need or in trouble. It's not impolite or shameful to help another person when they fall down, drop their shopping, when their car breaks down or gets stuck in snow. It's the exact opposite of that. 

I've noticed one slight exception to the rule here, especially in the past few years. A shared experience of harsh, dark winters seems to somehow unite Finns, and most help I've received from strangers has happened during those times. Being always late as I am, I never realized to buy a shovel for my car until it was too late, and I was left with the scraps. A ridiculous pink plastic shovel that's about as long as my arm. I've gotten stuck in snow with my car twice, and digging out a car from a pile of frozen, rock solid snow with a plastic piece of garbage is not easy. Both times multiple people have stopped, whether they were on a walk or in their car, to help me dig out my car with their hands and feet and pushed until I managed to break free. How nice is that?

It might be a little embarrassing to have a stranger help you pick up your change and books and gym clothes when your bag decides to explode on a bus, but it's less embarrassing than doing that on your own with a bus full of people just staring. Because staring in silence sometimes seems to be the norm here. Let's change that norm, shall we? The next time you see someone struggling with baby strollers or their shopping, just stop to ask if they're OK, regardless of the time of year, whether you're Finnish or not.

I leave you with Finland at it's finest.

Tuesday, October 15


The past week and a half have gone by so fast. I've only had a couple days off from work, otherwise I've been working mostly early mornings that leave me dead tired afterwards, or long full days that leave no time before or after, really.

Tomorrow's my last day though, and next week is fall break at school, too. It's funny though. I only have two courses at the moment and no permanent job, and I feel like I've gotten nothing done. I have way too many absences from Chinese, and I'm so behind on the reading for gender studies that I have my doubts about passing the course... Oops. Last year with three times the amount of courses and a job on top I feel like I had no problems getting things done!

I was so cold at work all day yesterday that I still felt like I'd been deep frozen when I got home. I dug out and finished up a pair of socks that I started most likely last year and had just almost finished. But now they're doing their job perfectly.

I really should start studying. This isn't even the required reading for the course, but a suggested book that I find a lot more interesting and easier to read than the pile of articles we were given... Maybe it'll help? Anyone interested in gender studies and able to fathom the Finnish language, read this. It set me back around 25e at Akateeminen Kirjakauppa.

Standing at our bus stop, you're under a constant shower of leaves. Leaves are better than snow, though.

Oh & meatless month... I haven't had much time to cook at all, I mostly just eat whatever they have at work. We did make a banging spinach lasagna though, and soy macaroni casserole yesterday. 

Tuesday, October 8

Short insta-flavored update

Oolong tea and my orchid.

I was at work from 6am to 12pm yesterday. I took my break at 9am to go sign up for two marketing courses that I was supposed to take. Slightly surprised when I was unable to sign up for the other one, I hadn't realized my rights for that course ran out in December. I signed up through the open university, but there's only 5 spaces through that, and I'm currently 7th in line. 

Getting ready before last week's party. My dress is from Brandy&Melville, my shoes from Nelly.

Oh well, I have Chinese and that other marketing course anyway. Oh wait, they overlap. Two courses for an entire period, and they overlap. The marketing lectures are 4 hours long, so they only partly overlap, but I'm hoping it's not like a 2 hour lecture followed by a 2 hour group exercise or something, because the second half of each lecture I should be in Chinese class.

Going to work at 5.46am.

Well, having lectures only twice a week in the afternoon means I have plenty of time to work! Except I still haven't found a more permanent job. This job is only for a week and a half. And it means a week and a half of skipping lectures...

Meatless month continues: Garden Party pizza with artichoke, tomato, goat cheese, rucola.

I signed up for a Justin Timberlake fan club in order to be able to buy presale tickets. Well apparently presale doesn't include the floor, and you can only buy up to 4 tickets with the code. Oh, and those tickets need to be in different sections of the arena. Makes sense? :D Maybe I just got there too late.

Friday, October 4

Meatless Month

Ha. Ha. From:

A lot of my friends are taking part in a meatless October challenge on Facebook (meatless October = lihaton lokakuu, it alliterates nicely in Finnish!) that started off as a challenge on a TV show. I obviously saw the event trending and decided to join in as well, to some extent at least. I've been wanting to cut back on meat anyway. I don't eat huge amounts of meat, but the "vegetarian" meals I consume are normally just pasta and tomato sauce or different kinds of soups. I used to be quite picky as a kid, but I've mostly grown out of it. Nowadays the only thing I really stay away from is mushrooms. I've tried, but I can't. The taste, the consistency... No.

Anyway, I was thinking I would take on this challenge, just quite light heartedly. I'm not gonna demand that people make vegetarian food just for me if I'm over at their house, for example. And then some things happened. For one I found out that Syö! started today. For about 2 weeks, a bunch of restaurants in Helsinki (and other parts of Finland!) have offers for 10e. And that's cheap for eating out in Finland.

So my basis for my "meatless month" isn't gonna be shunning meat entirely, but to cut back and most of all get adventurous and experimental with my own cooking. I'm not gonna cook meat, and I'm gonna try new sorts of vegetarian foods at home. I want to get used to eating vegetarian food that isn't just pasta and soup. I created an entire vegetarian food board on Pinterest to help me stay inspired!

Tofu + cauliflower curry.

So on Tuesday, October 1st I decided to make a tofu and cauliflower curry that both looked and sounded delicious. We make a coconut milk based curry with chicken all the time, so mostly I just took this as inspiration for what to replace the chicken with. Well I have to say, it was not delicious at all. And a pretty bad start to an already sort of poorly timed meatless month :D Not very inspirational.

Cheesy cauliflower soup, grilled cheese.

Last night I opted for something more familiar, a soup... Not very adventurous. I hadn't made a cauliflower soup before, but I've always wanted to. Just never got around to it, but since we had a bunch of leftover cauliflower from the curry, I decided to go for it :) And this was delicious. So mild and smooth and nicely cheesy. Not necessarily the healthiest, but perfect for the cold weather.

And finally, Joel and I decided to go out for dinner in honor of the 10e menus tonight. We chose Morrison's , because in the past years it's definitely turned out to be one of our favorites during these weeks. I don't think we've ever gone there unless it's been Syö!, even though the burgers are really good. We just don't eat a lot of burgers I guess... I surprised even myself by actually really sticking to my promise of being more adventurous and went for a veggie burger and halloumi, which turned out to be surprisingly delicious! I'm quite proud of myself.

So yeah, any tips and vegetarian recipes are greatly appreciated! How the heck do you cook good tofu?!

Sunday, September 29

Fall coat

Like I already said, it's gotten incredibly cold in Finland in the past week or so. What made it even worse was leaving 22C in Munich and landing in a 9C Helsinki that same evening. Even my leather jacket isn't enough to keep me warm in the mornings when the temperature is just barely on the plus side of the scale. Still, I refuse to go fish out my winter coats and wear them. So what now?!

Well, my grandparent's happened to have a garage sale this weekend, and I stopped by yesterday for a while (and saw my little cousins and my aunt and uncle who I haven't seen since we left for Munich in May, probably?!). This amazing floral coat happened to catch my eye, and I got to take it home --- for free!

It is the perfect thickness for this weather! It's thicker than my other fall jackets since it's got a bit of a lining, but it's not as thick and overpowering as my winter coats. And I'm in love with the pattern! The shape and the size are amazing as well, and it doesn't have anything extra on it that would ruin its perfectness. Score.

Coat - grandma's / Jeans - Dr. Denim / Shoes - Vans / Bag - Ois / Scarf - Joel's (Dressman?)

Also love the HDR setting on the new iOS 7. You can actually see the clouds and the blue sky in the last pic. 

Now back to some last minute studying. I have exactly two courses at uni right now, Chinese and gender studies. I don't have a job. Yet I still manage to leave all my studying until the last minute, and half of my homework I just end up skipping. WHY?! I need to get a grip :D

Saturday, September 28

Nails & Grotesk

So I've really managed to catch some sort of flu now. Honestly, I'm never sick. Like properly. I get minor colds that never really develop in to proper illnesses every now and then, but usually they don't really affect me. The last time I remember being actually really, properly sick was in 2009 or something, right before we left for Shanghai to look at houses and schools for my family. Anyway, yesterday and today I have felt like (for lack of a better word) shit. Which sucks, because yesterday was Joel's birthday, and right now he's out with friends at Adam's, where I was supposed to go as well. I also had to miss the first uni soccer game of the season. Not really a big deal, but I was looking forward to it!

I had to go to a lecture yesterday, and in the evening Joel and I went out for dinner, but the time in between I spent at home feeling sorry for myself. Which is when I decided to paint my nails.

I've been seeing a lot of white nails lately, and I like it! So on our last trip to Munich I went out and got Essie's Blanc. In Finland Essie polishes cost around 16e a pop if I remember correctly. In Munich they're around 8e. Half the price, no jokes. Insane.

Except on our last day, feeling maybe a tiny bit fragile from the day before which was spent at Oktoberfest, I just ran through DM quickly picking out whatever products I wanted to bring home. When I got to my parents, I realized I never actually checked what the bottle of nail polish said, I just grabbed the first one in the "Blanc" row. And what do you know, someone had placed the wrong bottle in the row, which I then bought. This one, called Allure, was also white-ish, but really sheer. Whatever, I did a white-ish sheer matte manicure. Ignore the really bad job on my ring finger. I never really do much to my nails except for the occasional normal manicure, but I was thinking I could maybe combine these two whites and make a solid to sheer gradient? We'll see.

Moving on to more about last night. A few weeks ago I spotted a nice deal on Groupon again, 48e for a three course meal for two people at Grotesk, a very nice restaurant in the center of Helsinki that would otherwise be a little out of our price range. 

The menu included in the deal was a surprise chef's menu that started out with a creamy, slightly sweet corn soup with some slow cooked lamb. This was definitely my favorite, even though everything we had was great!

Main course was slow cooked veal with a crispy top, hollandaise and a potato croquette. Joel had some mushroom puree under his veal, but since I asked for no mushroom (I honestly just can't, I've tried, but I can't), I had a beet puree that was amazing. This course was pretty heavenly as well.

And finally, for dessert there was redcurrants with redcurrant sorbet, chocolate ganache and milk chocolate mousse. I think. It was good, but I'm not really a dessert kind of gal. I prefer savory foods to be perfectly honest! But I still managed to dig in with such appetite that I forgot to take a photo, which is why you have a picture of Joel's dessert and red wine stained table cloth. Not my fault! I think.

It was definitely a good birthday dinner, and I would not mind going back at some point. I need to remember to keep my eye out for amazing deals like this more often on Groupon!

Now for some more CSI and tea in bed. Sniff.

Thursday, September 26


So, it's been almost a year and a half since I last posted anything. I have no real reason for being MIA (ha ha) for so long. It just happened. Anyway, I don't really have much to say about that, except that I'm back now!

It's gotten insanely cold in Finland in the past couple of days. Joel and I were in Munich over the weekend for the Oktoberfest opening, and on Monday we left 22C and came back to 9C. I left at around 8AM yesterday morning, and my phone told me it was 1C. O-N-E!!! Brrr. I've been waiting to wear fall clothes, like my leather jacket. It was too hot to wear it before, but now I'm afraid I'm basically just going to have to skip that phase and go dig out my winter coat. My throat, head, and nose seem to be telling me so, at least...

Anyway, I wanted to share a couple of photos from Wiesn (read: Oktoberfest).

I finally bought a new dirndl. My old one has gone inexplicably missing somewhere during our last moves. All I have left is my shirt. I borrowed my mom's and Sofia's dirndls last year in the hopes that my pretty black and green bird embroidered dress would somehow turn up somewhere. I've kept my eye out for a new one, but somehow every dress seemed ugly and just not as good. We were out looking for lederhosen for Joel last Thursday when this black and pink one caught my eye. It was seriously love at first sight. I don't know if you can see in the picture, but the top has tiny little embroidered pink flowers all over it, and the rest is just plain black. The apron in these photos is actually borrowed from Sofia's dirndl, I bought one that's more of a dusted rose color the next day. It's sort of silly how excited I am over a dress that I can only wear on one occasion every year, and that probably looks hilarious to everyone not used to them. But I'm obsessed.

So, after lining up at 7.30AM on Sunday morning, we finally got our first maß just after the doors opened at 9AM. At this point the tent was still freezing cold, but it didn't take long for it to warm up. Right now, looking at these pics, I'm really regretting we only got to enjoy the atmosphere for one day this year. Maybe next year we'll be able to book a longer vacation!