Monday, June 30, 2014

Habitat

One of the most exciting news this week's been that Habitat will open a few stores in Helsinki come October. Can't wait! As it's no news that I love Habitat! I have a few items, I've bent over backwards to acquire. Among those, the classic tam tam chair (1968) by Henri Massonnet. (Read about it here.)

Image from here.
I also have this lamp shade... See my post Valkoista valoa, White light from 2011.


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Yesterday

It's been a Rainy Sunday. It has rained all day. Yesterday, however, it was such a beautiful day. We had the opportunity to enjoy some mother-daughter quality time, thanks to a soccer tournament. So we went flower shopping, fixed the kids' room French balcony and then just biked around the city.






Thursday, June 26, 2014

Favourite Day

It's the day again. The day at the home office.

Cream in my coffee :)
 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Boston: Allston


Here's some more of Boston for you. Our hostel (cheap cheap cheap Farrington Inn) was in Allston, 2-3 miles from the city center. It was all right (not more) and thus we got to see that part of the town, too. Nice student vibe and lots of little cafes everywhere. We had breakfast at the hipstery Refuge Cafe one morning, and then took the T-train to the city center.



Monday, June 23, 2014

TOP5 of Helsinki

I've been whining about Finland for months now (mostly on Facebook though) and Helsinki being a rathole. I haven't entirely given up on that, at least not yet, still working on my adaptation but...
I must admit some things here do rock. So, for the sake of crappy weather, here's a TOP 5 (woohoo!) listing of what makes Helsinki a good place to be. (For now...)

These pastries are buttery and filled with raspberry jam.
 1. STABILITY
My relationship with my work is like an old marriage. I'm kinda done with this guy, but am too confortable getting out. Finding a lover? Who can deal with the hassle? Still, I blame myself daily: I'd deserve so much more. Maybe there's some love even, dunno?

Having kids is basically FREE in Helsinki. You'll have to provide them with a travel card, a phone and some food + clothing. All the rest (school, doctors, dentists, vaccins, insurance...) are free and hobbies come a lot cheaper than in the U.S.

The City of Helsinki also provides housing for the likes of me: a missfit with a steady job yet no savings whatsoever to purchase even a tiniest hut. And two under-aged kids to raise, alone. The rent is relatively cheap and the places generally well maintained. Our appartment is such a jewel (now that I've scrubbed it thoroughly.)

2. BREAD & PASTRIES
In a grocery store, you'll find so many different types of bread! Rye in tens of forms, Italian, wheat, toast, buns with different tastes (carrot, cheese, garlic...), German grain bread, Swedish sweet bread and crackers... So tasty! And the pastries come in tens of forms, too. Very very very good and very very very fattening... Had to cut down the consumption of these after I gained some 5-6 kilos since January...

3. KÖKET AND QULMA
I owe a lot of my mental sanity to the coffee girls at Cafe Köket right next to my office. They also do lunch and have several temporary summer locations around the city. A wonderful place, friendly, personalized service, great decor, creative tastes - just the way I like it. I still haven't tried the weekend brunch as I don't usually hang out near my office on weekends, but I will one day.

Another (old favourite) that thank heavens still exists after my years abroad: the Qulma soup & baked potato bar (again) near my office in Krunikka. They have three different soups daily in the buffet as well as a salad bar option combined with a baked potato.For the price of 10 euros. I think it is pretty fair.

4. FLEA STUFF
Finns are big on second hand trading. The local "craigslist" is called Tori.fi (there's also Huuto.net) Every neighborhood has their own recycling site on Facebook. I've bought so much second hand stuff online lately (a sofa, home appliences, kitchenware, a bike, a lamp, a guinea pig...) My favourite actual shops are Olkkari&Kruunukirppu, KEKO, Fida lähetystorit. Also worth mentioning: the Siivouspäivä event, organized twice a year. Great fun! I have a plan to visit more fleas this summer.

5. THE SEA
In DC, I missed water. I grew up in Tampere surrounded by lakes. In Helsinki there's the sea. Love seeing the shore from Kauppatori (near my office) and the boats in little harbours around the city (even near my home), the beaches and islands and hearing the shrieks of the seagulls. Truly one of the best features of Helsinki is the sea around it. It changes its colour and freezes in the winter. It is just beautiful.

I also like: retro people in their hipster uniforms (Jopo bike + Converse allstars), the no-car zones in the center and Esplanadi Park, Cafe Ursula in Kaivopuisto, many other small restaurants and the trams, the feeling inside the Central Railway Station and the old City center in its entirety. I like Stockmann Deli and I would like the open pools of Stadika and Kumpula if the weather were any better... See, not so bad. After all. And getting better as we speak.

Boston: Tea Party Museum


While in DC, we took a two-day trip to Boston. Our favourite site there was this new museum. The Tea Party Museum and Boat were just a fantastic +one-hour experience. Although we're rather used to Americans making museum experiences lively, this still was a Happening.

The tour started with a secret meeting with fellow tea-partiers and we got identities of real people who participated as well as the native American disguises. The plan was to attack the greedy English, sneak onboard the boat and toss their precious tea overboard. And that we did, after we solemnly swore not to reveal the plan to anyone.

The rest of the Independence History came later in form of speaking portraits and a blood-stained film about the armed battles. Tea Party leader Samuel Adams was the unquestionable independence hero, and we later got a change to visit his grave, too.

Tea Party, Dec. 16th, 1773. More on wikipedia.
Sam Adams led us to this venture. More about him here.
 
 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Work

My summer vacation is over and this is the first real Monday in a string of so many Mondays before Christmas and before the next longer time off from the desk. Phiuuffff! Not an easy thought.

I am a great believer in motivation, inspiration as main forces of getting things done from dishes to press releases. And the source of motivation is one oneself. So, the task is mine and mine only.

I am putting some hope in my Department's new open office plans, however. We're to get super-modern multi-spaces to work in before this year is over. As an embracer of change I say youpie!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Soccer Soccer Soccer

Our vacation was to an extend conditioned by some very important soccer events. And then the "mundial" started... and counting...

Luis and I went to see the Spanish Team play El Salvador in DC. Luis didn't give up on negotiating on the (overly expensive) tickets... and we agreed he not get anything for a) his birthday in October and b) for Christmas.So, even I'd say it was worth it :D

The other event was Luis's DC team Wanderers' last game of the season where he was accepted to play as a guest. Wanderers won 2-0, which was not surprising as they have actually won ALL their games during the past two years :D

 
And here's a few from the Wanderers' game (Luis has blue socks),
from the brunch we had after the game and
from the soccer watching night at friends' house.
Thank you Coach Paul, Devon, Noah and Juliette for great times!

Washington

Here it comes. Some of our holiday pics from the U.S. where we spent two weeks this June. We stayed at our best friends', saw many loved ones and did all of our favourite things: shopped at Marshalls, played soccer, sunned and swam at Banneker Pool, ate at Georgetown Cupcakes, Haydees and Five Guys i.a. and went to school and field trips. We also visited Boston, Massachussets.

We had such a great time, and the biggest thanks of all go to Viviana, Vanessa and Ricardo! We love you so much and await to return your hospitality when you'll visit Finland.

One warm night. Niki, Luis, Maia, Vanessa and Sofia in Mt Pleasant.
Maia and Vanessa with Pampas, the neighbor's two cats.
And our favourite building in DC is....
Our favourite cupckes...
...taste the best when eaten on stairs in Georgetown.
Red Velvet is Maia's favourite, and mine.
Banneker Pool from afar.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Back Home

Back from the vacation. I made a decision not to post anything on the road (except some pics on Facebook of course) to be able to fully just enjoy. Did that, I didn't even have my laptop with me on our trip to North America. But I did have my camera and a diary, so posts will follow.

This is also a way for me to re-live everything and cherish those memories. Which is better than great. I'll start when the inspiration hits me... it may not hit before this jetlag diminishes though...