Post 68…

I asked my husband to conduct an interview with me, these are the questions he thought to ask…

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Q: How did you get into photography?

A: My first memories of photography started when I was a child and my dad would take pictures of the family, flowers, landscapes, and vacations. So in that time, I remember the process of developing film and the mechanics of the camera. Later I got a digital camera in high school and around that time I started to use photography as a way to document moments during my travels. Nowadays, I am trying to advance my skills and overall be better at photography. It is difficult sometimes with the internet because it feels very competitive. I definitely think that little girl is still inspired by me, just trying to carry a camera around and document memories.

Q: Did the idea to start a blog come naturally to you?

A: Starting a blog was terrifying. It took me a long time and it kind of turned into one of those thoughts “I could easily do that but everyone else is doing it”, but I was still excluding myself so I don’t know, then it turned into the whole, “you can’t knock it ’til you try it”.

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Q: What is the next trip you want to do?

A:  So the next trip I want to go on, other than the one I have planned this May, is the Faroe Islands. It is a big bucket list one for me. For now, I am in the mood to travel more of the Nordic countries and see more of Scandinavia. I want to soak up this corner of the world while I am here.

Q: What city has a special place in your heart? Why?

A: Amsterdam is forever my soul mate city. It is hard to describe, I didn’t know the culture would compliment my personality so well, but it does. The architecture in the Netherlands is something that inspires me and gives me butterflies at the same time. Every day waking up there is very magical. It reminds me of a part of my life that took a lot of bravery where I cried, I laughed, I loved, and all the things that change you and make you who you are as a person. That all happened in Amsterdam.

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Q: You live in Helsinki now. What makes Helsinki weird? 

A: I think the fashion. It is not weird, because it is normal for the culture. But compared to Stockholm, Copenhagen, or other Scandinavian cultures, the fashion here is very unique. In Helsinki, it is such an underrated artsy city, you get a lot of that local design, self-expression, like the high cropped pants or the very short bob hairstyle. I tend to follow a more Scandi style, more clean street style. In our neighborhood, I have definitely seen some more funky looks. It is also warmly welcomed here. There is also no judgment about the way people carry themselves so those people could be fathers or business owners, but their self-expression is welcomed here so they can be free with their lifestyle choices. Even though Finns think they are confirmative culture, and a humble people, their self-expression can be very loud at times. That is what makes Helsinki weird and entertaining on a day to day basis.

 

Post 64…

Recently I became a member of the Finnish Public Library. To my understanding, my new library card allows me to have access to any library within the country. Such a large opportunity seemed overlooked my first couple years as a resident here, and I am eager to make up for lost time.

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The Rikhardinkatu Library is closest to my apartment. It is a beautiful building and a visual treat to explore the many halls. The spring light has returned to the city, and since there is still time before the warmth follows, these cozy corners will be my preferred place to stay. Like a cat basking in the beams of light, I receive so much pleasure enjoying these views.

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My first batch of books included The Collected Poems of Allen Ginsberg, You Get So Alone At Times That It Just Makes Sense by Charles Bukowski, and finally Hystopia by David Means. The latter is a novel and it has been an interesting change of pace for my traditional scientific sociological interest. It is a fiction piece based on American culture in the mid-west post-Vietnam war. Novels are not my favorite, but from time to time it is good to read something different from your natural attraction.

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Taking the time to be a member of the library has been a humbling way to grow roots deeper into the neighborhood. The benefits are plentiful in that I am able to enjoy reading without hoarding books and producing waste. This is also an opportunity to save money whilst enjoying the tangible experiences of reading. I also like the fact that I now have a cute little tangerine colored library card in my wallet. It is simple and may not add much to my resume, but to me, these little things mean the most. So I will continue to enjoy the smell of old books, watch my coffee table change from season to season with various titles, and continue to take advantage of what city life has to offer.

I made a few notes whilst sitting in the library today to prepare for this post, and I don’t believe much editing is required to express what I felt:

Although most of what fills the shelves here is foreign to my native tongue, the bones of any library can be comforting. I feel like I belong here.

-xx

Post 60…

It is -19c outside with the wind chill so today I am getting cozy in my closet. I wanted to share some of my thoughts on shopping, style, and wardrobe investments. As someone who pushes to live more consciously, step one is all about what is in the closet!

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I have had a “basic wardrobe dream” since I was 17 years old. A collection of perfect timeless essentials that would get me through all of life’s events. It is hard to determine where this interest started, maybe it was watching my older sister grapple with what to wear, maybe it was my father bragging about having the same windbreaker for a decade. No matter the origin of my interest, the seed grew as I got older to be a full passion. Now, with Capsule Wardrobes, #30wear, and buying fairtrade it is easy to live and dress consciously.

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I do not identify my current closet as a capsule wardrobe, but by all definitions, I think it fits. Two factors helped me attain such a minimal closet. The first was moving abroad in 2015. This transition forced me to pack all my things into one suitcase, and everything else was donated. The second factor is my mentality. I have always been attracted to this minimal style. I believe less is more. My closet is living with me, so once a month or more I clean it out. Also, when you live with less, sometimes it is worth your while to pay more. Investing in quality over quantity will last years instead of buying for a single season is a huge game changer.

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In the future, I would like to deconstruct my closet and share everything with Y’all. For now, I will keep things light and avoid any ominous threats about fast fashion or maximalism. With the temperature steadily under -10c for the foreseeable forecast, my ensemble will strictly be layers, sweaters, and thermals!

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-xx

Post 59…

This week I am sharing my current obsession, the ultimate green smoothie! For the past couple of weeks, I have been trying to have one of these bad boys daily. This smoothie has everything too, antioxidants, immune boosting, vitamin galore, green goodness! I tweaked this recipe down to two main factors, one, gotta get your greens every day, and two I need to take care of my joints. If you are interested in trying this smoothie yourself, simply use the infographic I have added at the bottom of the post!

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Not pictured are the two most important ingredients, in my opinion, turmeric and cayenne. From what I have read online, these two help joint inflamation. And after drinking this little cocktail for a few weeks, I really notice a difference. I am a huge advocate for eating your vitamins and minerals. Supplements in the pill form are fine and well, but when you can eat what you need, to me it brings the wellness process full circle.

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I also prefer my smoothies extra large! This might be a habit from my childhood, but I think things are better when served in a mason jar. So it is a must to make this thing bigger and better. Fortunately, my Vitamix is up for the job. This blender is one of the best purchases I have made in my adult life. Investing in the kitchen can seem a bit boring on the surface, but when it affects your everyday life, there is no going back.

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Finally, I would like to address the two unique ingredients. One is the green powder I use. This is a subtle step towards making any smoothie a well-rounded addition to healthy living. I also add nettle. This is new to me as it is a Finnish resource. Ladies, this is packed with iron! I highly recommend you add this to your diet if you are like me and struggle with keeping the iron levels in your body stable.

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Besides all the benefits of this fully loaded drink, one of my favorite side effects is the pure joy it brings to my day. I am not a fan of wearing colors, nor do I live somewhere that is vibrant in technicolor nature, so a bright green smoothie like this sure boosts my mood. Top it off with my little reusable straw, and it is a moment of bliss all to myself.

Have a great weekend, and thank you for reading!

-xx

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Post 57…

This morning started out like most days, caffeinated and optimistic. It took some time to get the nerve to get out the door. After navigating slushy streets I found myself at the local thrift store. I visit frequently, usually to drop off donations, yet this afternoon I spent some time to explore the aisles. IMG_3280.jpg

Although I lingered a little longer than the usual drop off, I did manage to find a few treasures. One, in particular, being the stellar new pair of scissors as seen in the next image. Another treasure of Dutch creation, a game of pick up sticks, was a must for my home entertainment.

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The errands continued, and so did the slushy streets. I managed to walk a few miles before meeting with my husband and ending our Friday evening at a local spot for our weekly coffee date. Tonight was special though, we indulged in a few glasses of wine and had a colorful conversation of politics, humor, media. and social conduct.

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This is definitely not the blog post I assumed I would be writing when I woke up this morning but sitting here now, I am grateful for the day. I struggle with getting outside, especially during winter. But it is days like today that inspire and motivate me to push the anxious behavior aside and be proactive in my life.

xx

Post 55…​

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This week is the first trip of 2018 and I wanted to share my travel tips and tricks. There are a few rules I live by when it comes to globe-trotting.

The first being carry-on! I use a 20-liter backpack, and it is perfect. Although it is not the most stylish accessory, it is reliable. No matter if you are traveling for a weekend, or a couple weeks, odds are you can manage with a carry-on. The key is organization!

Which leads me to my next tip, pack similar clothing colors. Plan and organize your outfits in advance. It makes life much easier when you want to wake up in your destination. Without a second thought, you can put a sensible ensemble together, and focus your energy on more important things like sightseeing, food, and entertainment.

My third tip and maybe an odd one is to plan your showers. If you know your hygiene routine and if you can foresee the next 48-72 hours easily. Then it is easier to know what toiletries to bring and exactly how much of each. Sometimes, it might even be worth it to go to your favorite soap stores, I like Lush or Aveda and pick up some samples.

Lastly, my personal indulgence is travel entertainment. In an effort to keep things lightweight, I will opt for a journal, an agenda, and Bluetooth headphones. In my journal, I have dedicated a page to my favorite Italian phrases and words that may come in handy during our trip. Thus I am prepared to use the local language, and feel a little more confident playing my donna all’estero role.

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Until next week,

Arrivederci!

Post 54…

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No that is not some crazy edit, that is the Helsinki Cathedral on Wednesday night. It was the LUX Light Event earlier this week. An amazing spectacle where artists use light as their medium and the canvas is city buildings. Scattered throughout the streets, spectators can wander the long nights and check out what has become of their city in the darkness. This week was the 10th annual production of this event.

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The Design Museum was the beginning of the tour, and my favorite show to witness. A sound and light production captivated audiences whilst gazing at the side of this building. It is one of a kind entertainment, and definitely a wild concept. Other artists contribute with mural pieces or more literal installations. Like this Love piece, it was accompanied by about five other black light pieces.

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This event is one of the great things about the Finnish mentality. Even though the nights are cold, long, and currently their darkest, it is simply inspiration for the community. I appreciate this kind of work and attitude. As the Christmas lights will soon be all gone, and the winter lingers on, light is cherished.

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As well as giving me a reason to go out once more and practice night photography. I am starting to get comfortable in low ISO situations. Like this photo above which demanded I stand one foot on the side of a brick of a building, the other on a handrail, all while my husbands shoved my center of gravity towards the wall, just to prop my camera on top of a metal awning. Creativity and winter demands push inspiration to the limit. a challenging combination which adds up to glowing memory.

-xx