Tag Archives: Helsinki

Sushi Date Night

Today while my husband and I scrambled through the internet hunting for dinner recipes to inspire our weekly meal planning, I finally decided to give up and call for a date night!

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Located in one of the more beautiful buildings in the neighborhood, Sushibar + Wine is my favorite spot to go enjoy a meal. While they do have multiple locations throughout the city, I am biased, and adore the Punavuori location.

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The inside is something between a pop-up gallery, local design shop, and Scandi interior heaven. Before you even get a bite to eat there is already something to gaze upon to feast your eyes.

For dinner, we had the three rolls from the Maki menu, Spicy Tuna, Shitaki Thai, and the new Cold Smoked Shake Maki roll. I have never had mushrooms in a sushi roll before but I was beyond impressed. No surprise though since I have been digging ‘shroom recipes for about a year now.

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Visits to Sushibar + Wine are far and few between, but every time I leave it is always with 100% satisfaction.  The vibe is perfect inside, even for a Monday night date. I hope to convince my husband of more dates in lieu of grocery shopping. Even if it is only for the summer, it is nice to enjoy the neighborhood and soak up all the fun.

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Summer Nights in Helsinki

Like walking on a cloud, summer air brings a sense of ease to the everyday life. When one can enjoy the simple things, sun-kissed skin, taking a nap in the grass and loving each day a little longer than the last

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Weather is a common subject on the blog, and this week is no exception. A heat wave has arrived in Helsinki, my first ever to witness, and the change it has made is astounding. When I step outside, the air smells different, the vibe feels foreign, like I have traveled to a new country, right in my own backyard.

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The feeling of the Twilight Zone in full effect, the characters in this series changed overnight from coldly detached pedestrians to sunbathing babes in barely cover anything bikinis. For the first time in a year and a half, I bought a new bottle of SPF, simply because I barely used half a bottle all of last year. I was joking with someone that if Finland were like this more often, it would be more bearable to live here. This is true, simply because to me, this weather changes the city entirely. Like Anne Hathaway in the Princess Diaries, the before and after of Helsinki is transformational. It was as if spring sprung in a matter of hours.

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Best of all I had the spark of inspiration and motivation to go out and take pictures. The lush spring blooms have transformed corners of the city and I am thrilled to capture the moment.

-xx

Q&A

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.

 

Silja Cruise Line

A bucket list item was scratched off this week when I visited the city of Stockholm Sweden. On an overnight cruise, kindly gifted from my mother in law, I embarked on a very Finnish experience locals call “the booze cruise”. While my journey did not include as much booze as some of the other free-spirited teens, it did include breathtaking views of the sea.

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While spring air temperatures are still frigid, it does leave a glacial surface to the ocean water. A sight only appreciated for the chilly context in an image. While others enjoy taking a polar plunge between sauna sessions, my comfort zone will be at a distance only using my camera zoom to get in on the freezing action.

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From the inside of the ship, you can see small islands passing and the setting sunlight. On occasion, another ship will pass in the distance only to make for some sense of depth on an otherwise isolated journey across the Baltic Sea. Traveling has its perks, no matter what shape it comes in, and I do appreciate the views of being out on the ocean with only the wind and water to keep you on course.

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Afternoon in the Library

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

Zero Waste Cleaning

So some of you may know that my new year’s resolution was to start making steps towards a zero-waste lifestyle. This has been an interesting resolution because unlike previous goals, this transition has pushed me to rethink almost every aspect of my life. The original concept was developed for businesses to be less linear and more circular with production. Now, people are taking action into their own hands, and homes, to become more conscious consumers and users.

It is nearly impossible to stop all waste in a single moment. It takes time, practice, research, and discipline. Fortunately, the more you educate yourself, the better you are at developing these skills. The switch is simple in my opinion, but it requires a dozen tiny changes to your daily life.

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 The first image above and one of my favorite substitues to plastic, it is a dish scrubber. It is a beautiful wooden design, with only small metal pieces of hardware to hold it together. I also use a bar of soap versus a plastic soap dispenser to clean my hands before and after cooking.

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The second switch is package free beauty products. After waiting for certian items to products to go empty, I switched to purchasing package free items from Lush. Another aspect to zero waste is slow shopping. Do not purchase items for the sake of buying it, wait for the need to arise and then make a new more concious investment. After trying a few of these I may never go back to the packaged items, they are just that good!

From left to right, deodorant, hair mask, and facial cleanser.

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A great switch for me has been the wooden toothbrush. I really enjoy this brand and even though it does have a little packaging to get from production to your home, it is all 100% recyclable. At first, I doubted the durability of a biodegradable brush, and really cringed to think about paying 7euros or more at the local organic store. But after waiting for a sale, and later receiving a couple as gifts, I am fully stocked for the next year or more! Seriously, these brushes are amazing. Unlike plastic brushes which lose strength, the Humble brush has stood the test. As for someone who has always had a difficult relationship with dental care, this is huge upgrade!

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Lastly are the small reusable produce bags.. In many grocers, it is required that the customer weigh the items first before checking out. Instead of grabbing a cheap plastic bag, why not make the easiest switch ever to these little mesh pouches. Add the price sticker on the tag and off you go, back home to make yourself a lovely meal, with little to no waste involved.

Now as a disclaimer, I am not perfect, and my home and lifestyle still have a long ways to go before being 100% zero waste, or even 50%. I will say these small changes have made a huge shift in my motivation. Even with a couple small changes, I feel more conscious, more proactive, and enjoy the smaller details of my routines. So, now is the time I will encourage you to make the switch. Next time you are in need of a plastic object, reconsider and invest in a more sustainable option.

-xx

Fat Ramen at Hietaniemen Halli

There is nothing better than sharing a warm meal on a cold day. In my case, a very cold week (below -20c as a matter of fact). Regardless, Fat Ramen is simply the place to be, no questions asked!

In other news, I will be spending the rest of the evening with my husband, and celebrating his 29th year. After a delicious meal and a bottle of wine, I am content and looking forward to enjoying the weekend ahead.

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