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Another birthday abroad, this year in the Eternal City. It is difficult to settle on a thought that summarizes the trip. I had never been to Italy before, and after the weekend, I feel as though I would not need to go anywhere else. The beauty is in the details in Italy.

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 There was a moment while wandering a small street in Trastevere I passed a table of 8 or so friends enjoying a Sunday lunch. The bottles were empty, the table stained with red wine, and the plates clean using scarpetta. Everyone was talking at once, and each person conducting the conversation in their own way. Although I do not speak Italian, I imagine their conversations had something to do with food, art, politics, or local gossip. It does not matter honestly, because the aura of their group was stunningly bright and left me mesmerized as they ordered a final course, tiramisu, for just a select few and some to share.

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Another detail I enjoy abroad are the sunsets. Scandinavia does not see consistent sunsets, it just is not part of the culture here. It is a daily ritual that goes missing in my current routine. So every time I travel south, it is always an emotional time of day to witness such glory. It adds to the romance that is daily life in Rome. The image above may be one of my favorites from the weekend. A cozy walking street at dusk in an Italian January.

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Most of all I have to take the time to thank my husband for being the best this past weekend, and every weekend. I am grateful each and every morning to wake up and live the adventure with my best friend. The support, generosity, and humor you share make my days better. Thank you for a wonderful birthday, Kulta!

-xx

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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

 

 

 

 

 

Post 51 of 52

Yesterday was the Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere. In honor of that fact, I ventured out into the darkness and made some images amongst the glowing lights of the city.  To do this, a new tripod purchase was necessary. No matter how cold the temperatures may feel, you are not “freezing” enough to stand perfectly still and capture a clear image at a low ISO (I tried to deny this reality for months).

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Shooting in low ISO is new to me, but I had such a great time capturing the whirling lights of the trams and vehicles. The city was still surprisingly busy, being the last couple days before Christmas. Traffic was significant, by Finland standards. More fun than capturing the images was finding new angles to shoot from. With my new Gorillapod, I can capture images from perspectives which were not achievable before now. Plus there is the added bonus of cracking vlog jokes with my husband and doing my best Casey Neistat impersonation. Where is my Boosted Board?

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As my muse, the holiday lights keep the city bright. Although I have not technically seen the sun this week, and have not felt the warmth of its rays in months, twinkling lights keep spirits bright. This is one thing Helsinki does beautifully! With the downtown area in nearly uniform white lights, the streets feel all the more magical during this special time of year.

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This season marks my third holiday in a row here in Helsinki. To be honest, I did not know if I would stay here this long. To be even more honest, I do not know if I will endure this third winter. It is true Finns have an incredible sense of survival, even against all odds. Yet, I am not a native, and my discipline has been challenged this year. Since moving, I have found gratitude to be a critical lifeline.

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Counting blessings and maintaining personal practices and hobbies are crucial. Thus, I am beyond grateful for these images. My new tripod allows me to continue to feel the joy of creating content even when conditions are not ideal. So unless the temperatures turn too cold to keep my camera on, I will continue to capture the night.

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xx – nasty trash

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December 6th, 2017 was the 100th anniversary of Finlands Independence. While I have been living here, this has been a huge celebration all year long. For those of you who may not know, here is my rendition of the celebration.

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Finns have a different mood towards December 6th, compared to other Independence Day traditions around the world. It is a solemn holiday here when citizens take time to remember those who lost their lives. Similar to Veterans Day in my home country.

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Fortunately, the centennial celebration brought a new mood. Blue and white themed the streets, shop windows, and light displays. Hundreds of thousands of people were out enjoying the day. As my third time in Finland for this holiday, it was a rather shocking detail. In years past people tend to keep to themselves. Stores close and the community stays rather quiet. I am hopeful that those traditions are in the past, and now the people have taken a new attitude to their achievement.

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Although hard times were faced so many years ago, I feel a positive celebration is what sustains progress. In my experience, celebrations bring communities together, verses mournings that tend to separate individuals. Among the fireworks, festive lights, and a whole year of pride leading up to this moment, Finland has a lot to be thankful for! As for me, I am thankful to be witness to something so special.

xx – nasty trash

Post 47 of 52

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Last Saturday, Helsinki Metro opened its brand new metro line extending from the city center into the large suburban area of Espoo. This has been a long-awaited moment for locals after a year of delays in construction. Commuters finally get to enjoy the new and beautiful underground line.

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In true Nordic fashion, the visual design did not go without deep consideration. As you can see from the abundance of content I have this week. there was a lot to look at. My husband and I began with a morning ride to the very last stop and checking out each station on the way back to the city center.

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Each metro station had its own unique appearance, and these images are simply my favorite moments captured. What I failed to capture, but thoroughly enjoyed, was the number of families, photographers, and interested locals out and about riding the new transportation.

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At one point I turned to my husband and said, “This is one of my top favorite days in Finland, ever!” As a suburban kid, metros, subway lines, and general urban transportation still fascinates me and ignites magic movement into any city. Although, Finns do not feel this same giddy sensation about local transportation. A normal commute, at rush hour, would usually consist of a full ride and not a single sound. Everyone tends to keep to themselves or maintain whispers of a conversation. No smiles, chit chat, or excessive expressions.

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In stark contrast to that stereotype, the metro grand opening was a happy affair. A family event none the less, and one that left smiles on faces of all ages. Crowds dressed in all orange to commemorate the moment. No groups appear in this particular collection of images, but it is still a memory I will cherish of the Finnish people. Knowing the citizens of Helsinki and Espoo do truly enjoy their community amenities, and it is something of a celebration to participate in this collective experience.

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I hope you enjoyed these images as much as I enjoyed making them. To any travelers, locals, or modern marvels, the Helsinki Metro is a must see! Not only will you get a break from the frequent cold and winter winds, but it is a unique way to explore a more intimate part of the city’s veins.

xx – nasty trash

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Dear readers, this is a public service announcement: You are official being introduced to The Big Four!

What is The Big Four? It includes the basic essentials to any conscious lifestyle. Most of us are well aware of the impact our waste has on the planet, but no matter your current lifestyle, the big four can help save us all!

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First is the shopping bag. To my American readers, this is still a new shift for part of the country, for everyone else, you are already aware of the importance (also because certain countries and stores charge extra for a plastic bag). This particular bag I picked up years ago visiting Jyväskylä Finland. Hence the foreign script across the side, reading “goodbye to the plastic bag”.

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Second in the line up is the coffee mug. If it is absolutely critical that you must take your drink to go, be prepared.  I know Keep Cup is a very popular brand amongst baristas these days, although I just use this adorable porcelain one I picked up at Tiger for less than 3 euros. A little more trusting than glass, and a little more cozy than plastic. An alternative recommendation is to simply make time for your coffee or tea, sit down, and enjoy!

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The third is the water bottle. Y’all, stay hydrated! My current source of hydration is the Memo bottle. I have previously mentioned this bottle on the blog and I am still in love with it. The sleek design is so helpful for backpack styles, and overall space saving investment.

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Last but not least, is the reusable straw. I’ve been walking around my house for weeks ranting about how straws are the new plastic bag. Be it a viral image of a straw entangled in a sea animals body, or just the fact you might be a nervous chewer, a metal straw is a game changer. I got 4 stainless steel straws + pipe cleaner off amazon.

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Finally a Trash Tip for those of you interested in doing a little more, keeping reusable cutlery and Tupperware! Toss it in your bag whilst around town and if you are picking up a pastry to-go, or have leftover lunch, a little preparation goes a long way.

So there it is folks, The Big Four! You can no longer say you did not know or wonder what it is you can do to be a better citizen on the planet. I share this post today because I am already making the personal paradigm shift for 2018 resolutions. I will confess I am not perfect, but all it takes is the mental awareness to change an ignorant habit to an educated lifestyle.

xx – nasty trash