Saturday, May 12, 2018

bright lights to guide me

tulips shoe per diem, may 11, 2018

I had a dreaded meeting with my accountant the other day. It was cathartic to tell the story, in short, to someone who has a very pragmatic, yet understanding, view of the situation. There might have been some tears of relief and gratitude. And a fighting spirit awakening again. She said what I needed to hear. What I must do next.

My flaws in this nasty project case were I was passionate, hardworking and trusting. And since those features of mine also are some I'm really proud to possess I will just own it. I don't trust easily in general, but after working through the grief recovery process last summer I felt so relieved, restored, empowered and psyched to get going with new things.

And the first meeting was so good. And when our first project started I was just thrown in head first with gusto. Since it was our first time working together as a team, remote team, it was bound to be a few kinks. I was open and willing to learn, share, without losing my own voice of reason. And when the client begun acting more and more weird, I was still so happy about my kind team. Of course they were on top of things, the background and matters I didn't know about. Simply trust.

I ended up being betrayed. And partly unpaid.

A bitter pill to swallow. A costly life lesson, on various levels. Another fight to fight. Even if things happen for a reason, as always. Though amidst it and its serious ramifications it is difficult to see the silverlining of new, yet unknown doors that open instead.

When you then are forced to struggle to sort things out, both short and long term, when you also blame yourself for being a trusting fool - then it's sweet to get some pragmatic advice and help from someone not involved. Little bright lights to guide me. And in this case, a practical lesson from my accountant.

There are times to be kind, caring, waiting, trusting the process and so forth. There are other times when you just have to look after yourself and your own needs, when noone else does or obviously even care. For anyone but themselves.

I felt lighter after the meeting, more focused. And hadn't it been for the coffee in shape of my beloved soy latte I would even have slept great. It was a long long time since I slept great. I do miss having invigorating sleeps.

årstiderna vegan food box, may 2018 - falafel

What is most always invigorating is to vegan cook as well as eat though. And this weekend I made falafel from scratch again. Practice makes perfect, because this time I tweaked it a bit and cooked it another way. 33 delightful little falafel balls came out of that. Served with fried aubergine, onion, ruccola (which I'm not a fan of but it was included in the food box recipe), diced tomatoes and a simple sauce of Oatly iFraiche with lemon. It was delicious and very satisfying.

årstiderna vegan food box, may 2018 - falafel

Cooking and thinking about how to present a meal in pictures is really therapeutic too. You empty the brain, dance in the kitchen - even if under the stars is an option again too - and focus. I'm so happy about my little gig. A really sweet thing that also happened for a reason. And sharing is caring, especially on a Caturday.

årstiderna vegan food box, may 2018 - falafel

hello global warming 2018

So pretty month of May,
half of your time is almost up,
can we make a deal, how about
being really really awesome
these last couple of weeks?
I would be ever so very very grateful.

norrtälje, roslagen, sweden, may 11, 2018

Thursday, May 10, 2018

oh let the river in

cherry blossom kungsträdgården, stockholm, sweden, april 26, 2018

Hell hath no fury like a woman not being paid by her client. And as new unsavoury details unfold in the ex-project mess I'm really gobsmacked that they think the people affected by this appalling, careless and selfish behaviour will just accept and be quiet. Which is obviously sheer stupidity on their part.

Not only have I not been fully paid, this project has also put my own business in danger. Due to the fact I have lost other revenues since I said no to other job offers as I (was a fool to) believe in it as a long term prospect. And the whole thing has been time consuming, energy draining and obviously really hurtful. At a time in my life when I really really didn't want to fight any new battles.

And that's only my story in very short. I'm not the only one hurt. It has been an important life lesson. But with ramifications I did in no way expect, just because I trusted people to be decent, fair, truthful and not despicable ass hats.

Of course I'm not going to be quiet and accepting about this. Doing that would eat me up from inside. They have certainly messed with the wrong person. Currently collecting facts and pondering the best way for maximum impact.

marimekko and moomin, may 2018

So while I entertain different scenarios in this aspect, my brain is still capable of work, entertain and enjoy other things. Like long walks and seasonal inauguration of the Moomin sneakers - which sadly gave me serious blisters this year so I won't be stepping into them anytime soon, buhu - and the brilliant weather. Global warming gave us high summer weather in early May, I know, and it's with very mixed feelings of human guilt I enjoy it. Weltschmerz is always lurking at the back of my mind.

vegan scones brunch, may 1, 2018

I baked vegan scones and had a little brilliant cream tea brunch to celebrate the arrival of May. To be able to enjoy so many meals al fresco as I've done so far in May is bliss. And I'm certainly not alone. My ever present masters of mindfullness and life enjoyment make the most of every day in the garden.

luddkolt’s british shorthair, may 2018 -

marimekko and moomin, may 2018

I May have got myself a very Moominesque Marimekko dress. I feel like a life size Little My (obviously my spirit character) in a fabulous power dress in it. Classic design and it will last for years. Just like my beloved flowery happy coat. Statement pieces of great quality that lift the mood of both wearer and viewers are great. I also like the fact that the dress is both casual and party depending on accessories. And it has pockets. Which all the best dresses have.

marimekko and moomin, may 2018

On my way home that day I spotted something that looked like a Moomin stuffed toy discarded at the recycling station. It was. Serendipity. The Moomin dad naturally came home with me. He might be the start of the revival of the Teddybear Sanctuary.

april flowers 2018

In the shivering last days of April my Christmas (!) amaryllis finally came into gorgeous bloom. Those two flowers have since withered but I think my little eye spy a couple of new buds replacing them. Better late than never, only five months late.

First hedgehog 2018, May 9 💚

Soon, very soon the lilacs will be in full bloom already. My hedge is brimming with buds. And fingers crossed I don't have the snivels this year, so I can enjoy the wonderful, enlivening scent. The hedge is situated right outside the bedroom and the scent of it seeping inside is one of the loveliest seasonal things.

The top loveliest seasonal thing though arrived here today, the first summer hedgehog. Contemplating mowing the lawn when I noticed movement in the shrubs and some cute little sneezes, sure enough a wee hedgehog sighting. S/he was treated to some luxuary cat food and later feel asleep in an adorable little prickly bun shape in the flower bed. I feel blessed having such precious summer guests.

marimekko and moomin, may 2018

As far as the Ms Sustainability 2018 new gigs and jobs go, so far no positive news alas. Keep those fingers, toe and paws crossed, please.

Sunday, May 06, 2018

ode to fjällräven re-kånken backpack

fjällräven re-kånken, 2017 - 18

Once upon a time I had a slight case of addiction fondness for expensive, posh handbags (Mulberry). Back then I didn't have as much trouble justifying buying leather products as I have now. And back then my finances were quite different. As were my shopping habits in general. I'll even admit to feeling pretty embarassed reading old blogposts like this about expensive, leather handbags.

But that was I then, today's I is quite different. What a difference some years make. I'm glad we evolve as human beings, at least on a personal level - as a specie I'm very much not sure.

fjällräven re-kånken, 2017 - 18

I've never been a backpack person, it's just not my style. Plus I think it's a drawback to always having to take it off to reach for your belongings. Handbags are much more convenient. That said, I did get my first classic, Swedish Kånken backpack in 2012. For work, and with room enough for laptop.

I haven't carried the laptop around much in it, but it has been great for travelling. My issue with it though, is that my swayback - which is rather prominent - doesn't approve of heavy backpacks and I often end up with an aching back as well as shoulders.

I know you can buy attachments, strap them around your waist and they'll ease the backpack burden. But I haven't been using it quite as much to justify that.

fjällräven re-kånken, 2017 - 18

Still, I have been toying with the idea of getting a more Pia appropriate colourful, regular size Kånken for years. And when I heard about a new, special edition called Re-Kånken last year I went and had a look. And fell in colour love. Plus I think it's amazing that the whole backpack is made of one single thread made from 11 plastic PET bottles. Coloured in the Spin dyed-tecchnique, which reduces the environmental impact.

Learn more about it in this video from Fjällräven.

The basic boring colours aside the Re-kånken offers much deeper, brighter colours than the other Kånken backpacks, which also fade in colours over the years. And there's no risk of them bleeding colours on light clothes.

I ended up chosing from the three different colours above, mainly between pink and that gorgeous teal, turquoise called Emerald. When I had a little guessing game on Instagram on which one I chose it was pretty much unanimous that the blue one screamed Pia. And yes, it did. I adore the pink one, but it's trickier to match all year round, for someone who wears as much colours as I. It would be a lovely summer backpack though.

fjällräven re-kånken, 2017 - 18

I'm still surprised how quickly I did adapt to being a backpack person. And how fun it has been (especially during the summer months) to unintentionally match it with outfits.

fjällräven re-kånken, 2017 - 18

My swayback vs backpack is still bugging me, so I have to be careful not filling it too heavy. And I've noticed that my left thumb grasp is a bit sore by all the hoisting the backpack up on my back. As it isn't conventient to carry the travelcard or iPhone in the backpack you have to carry that in other ways. You just have get new routines for it. For security reasons I have a padlock on it at all times, pick pockets unwelcome.

fjällräven re-kånken, 2017 - 18

I've basically worn it every day, I'm out and about, ever since I got it. Come rain come shine. Come work come play. I've managed to stain it with lipstick (the lid came off in the front pocket), but I think it was reasonably easy to clean with soap and water.

As it is re-made from plastic/polyester the surface has become a bit rugged. Which isn't ideal, but I suppose is a price you pay for the material and the awesomeness of how its made. And it's not visible unless you look really close. Also, do note that it's very susceptible to cat hair. In other words, keep it out of reach from felines.

fjällräven re-kånken, 2017 - 18

My backpack in general and Kånken in particular loving mother got a red Re-Kånken too.

fjällräven re-kånken, 2017 - 18

A funny, unexpected detail of these past 10 months since I got it, is that during the first few months alone I got more compliments from friends and strangers alike on how lovely it looks and how amazing the colour is, than I've gotten for all those years over the expensive, posh, leather handbags. Go figure. Dare to compliment.

Now a little colourful Re-Kånken, shoe per diem, outfit cavalcade over our time together.

fjällräven re-kånken, 2017 - 18

fjällräven re-kånken, 2017 - 18

fjällräven re-kånken, 2017 - 18

fjällräven re-kånken, 2017 - 18

fjällräven re-kånken, 2017 - 18

fjällräven re-kånken, 2017 - 18

fjällräven re-kånken, 2017 - 18

fjällräven re-kånken, 2017 - 18

fjällräven re-kånken, 2017 - 18

fjällräven re-kånken, 2017 - 18

Here's to many years of adventures together! 
And first another, full summer of fun!

fjällräven re-kånken, 2017 - 18

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

vegan snickers dessert

vegan snickers dessert and pelle, april 2, 2018

What better way to start the glorious month of May than with an irresistable, easy to make, delicious dessert? Here's finally the adapted recipe of that lovely plantbased Snickers dessert I made during Easter. Chocolate, peanuts and crunchy biscuits all the way, baby! It's served with chocolate sauce and obviously I think you should make your own, from this delicious easy peasy recipe.

vegan snickers dessert and pelle, april 2, 2018

Snickers dessert
6 servings

50 g dark chocolate (coarsely chopped)
2 tbsp oat milk
2 tbsp cacao
0,5 dl crunchy peanut butter
0,5 dl light syrup
flaked salt
2 dl Alpro soy cream (I'm sure you can use oat cream or coconut cream too)8 st digestive biscuits (without palm oil, I use Ica's own)
chocolate sauce
2-4 tbsp chopped peanuts

1. Blend chocolate, oat milk, cacao, peanut butter, syrup and salt in a pot. Stir and melt on low heat until smooth and shiny cream. Let it cool somewhat.
2. Whip the soy cream until fluffy and firm.  
3. Slowly add the chocolate cream into the whipped cream and blend properly into a mousse.
4. Crush the digestive biscuits a bit and dispense in 6 glasses or small bowls.
5. Ladle the Snickers mousse over the crushed biscuits. Pour chocolate sauce on top and then som chopped peanuts.

Enjoy! NB Beware of snoopervisors who love the mousse too.

vegan snickers dessert and pelle, april 2, 2018

Sunday, April 29, 2018

goodbye april 2018

cherry blossom kungsträdgården, stockholm, sweden, april 26, 2018

If I was to summarize April in three words only, for me personally, it would be - emotional, sleep deprivation and sunshine.

I most certainly look forward to May being a month where the great things that sprouted in April will have a gloriously happy flourishing. Add more great things to happen. And obviously that The Mess that has brought so much anger, worry, disappointment, and yes sorrow, will be sorted in a positive way. That Karma will bring everyone involved just what they deserve. Simple as that. Not too much to ask for, right? Right.

So, to summarize this last week of April;

movie, april 2018 -

An unexpectedly lovely movie, much better than the book I read in 2009 - surprised it took them so long to turn it into a movie -, even if one of the loveliest characters is a pig farmer and there is a roasted pig situation. But it was a beautiful movie, every film frame a picture postcard perfection, a Downton Abbey reunion(4 actors) and cute, stylish costumes. Highly recommend.

movie, april 2018 -

An unexpected job interview. The startup looking for that "rockstar copywriter" that contacted me two weeks ago. It was a nice enough interview. I prefer to be neutral if I am a great fit for them or they a great fit for me. Sometimes it's obviously a 'yes please' or a 'no thanks' feeling after an interview. In this case it can go either way. Let's see. I trust the process.

vegan food, april 2018 -

A sweet box of new tea. I'm not a fan of green tea - it's so delicate and tricky to brew correctly to be drinkable - but I couldn't resist the name "Fredagsmys" (a very Swedish concept, translated "Friday coziness"), it smelled delicious and it's quite lovely, fruity to drink, when you get it right.

prosit ord & bild ab, april 2018 -

Two great seminars - one on "Mind the gender gap" on how to work with gender equality in the workplace. Very enlightening, both theoretically and practically. It was a breakfast seminar and the little fly in the ointment would be the fact they didn't offer a vegan option, despite I had asked for one.

prosit ord & bild ab, april 2018 -

The other one an interesting talk from one of the founders of the Swedish banking app Tink - I remain healthy sceptical about most things involving having your financial details ready and available to be hacked, but that's just me... It was a good talk and the vegan lunch was great.

cherry blossom kungsträdgården, stockholm, sweden, april 26, 2018

It is the cherry blossom trees in bloom time of the year. Which always makes me happy. I do plan a revisit early next week when they've blossomed into that truly magic pink, soft light.

cherry blossom kungsträdgården, stockholm, sweden, april 26, 2018

prosit ord & bild ab, april 2018 -

For the first time I had a really good laugh about the weirdness of the keywords for which one can be found on LinkedIn. I've always found it curiously entertaining that everyone but I seem to be found by strange and irrelevant keywords. Now I know better.
A) My name may be Pia but I have absolutely no knowledge of PIA (and I can’t blog about it). B) I do appreciate that LinkedIn sees me as some omnicompetent source of How-to. I'm unlimited indeed.

Even if I alas never heard back about that amazing communicator position in a well-known international environmental organisation, I guess they went with someone else, however inconceivable as that might be. But Ms Sustainability 2018 comes in many shapes and forms. It's important to move on from disappointments, which always is easier when you make a point of cultivating resilience.

And on Friday I applied for another job I would absolutely love to get. As Brand Manager for a fabulous, delicious Swedish vegan food brand. So, I would appreciated more fingers, toes and paws crossed now. From the internetz and Universe.

vegan food, april 2018 -

Oh, darling May, can you be utterly kind and awesome, please?
Less worry, more sleep, more laughters, beautiful news
and sweet surprises of the very best kind.
I would be ever so grateful, dear May, I really would.

Monday, April 23, 2018

hope will carry you home

ulriksdal castle, stockholm, sweden, april 20, 2018

April so far has shown a sunny face and a capricious personality. It has been an emotional month of highs and lows, professionally and personally. I wish life could stabilize, that I could worry less - that useless feeling - and sleep better. As good as I am in being actively mindful and enjoy the little bright and beautiful things as usual, my subconscious mind lives its own life.

And it really didn't help that I got some quite shocking, but far from unexpected, news  on Friday afternoon about the company that has caused the project mess and for which I haven't been fully (under)paid. News which quite possibly mean I won't get the final payment at all. That I have put in so many hours for free. Which obviously makes me incredibly angry, hurt and disappointed. At the person/s causing this to happen and at myself for being somewhat naive, accepting too much, working too hard.

I'm the least gullable person I know, I always question and analyze everything and everyone. Yet clearly I've not been quite myself here. And trusted people that weren't worth my time, creativity, hard work and trust. Such a fool was I. Because I wanted it to be true. I was happy. And why must everything be too good to be true? Well, in this case it was.

That I trusted my team, that clearly wasn't a team in the complete sense of the word. Everyone, but I, seem to have had a hidden agenda and a very casual attitude towards this project. Did their own thing with no thoughts whatsoever as to what ramifications their actions would have on the team, other people's lives and finances.

It has certainly been a bitter life lesson. But such is life. And with all this I took quite a leap in my personal development. Now I can only hope for a decent solution appearing soon, very soon. And I certainly know what kind of work circumstances I won't accept in the future. And the people I will never recommend or work with again. To trust the gut, and facts, has definitely proven important.

That they managed to run the company to the ground, with such a long and great why story and products, basically due to bad leadership and poor business acumen, that's just heartbreaking. On so many levels.

The interesting thing in this is that what I accomplished in the project is actually one of the things I'm professionally most proud of. Unfortunately I missed taking screen prints on everything, for my portfolio, and the beautiful website I created with so much attention to details is no longer there. The Twitter account no longer exists, but all the photos I took and captions for Instagram I have of course saved as well as the articles written.

And noone can ever take away the fact that I worked incredibly hard, way above and beyond what I signed up for. Even if the end client wasn't worth it, and the teamwork I treasured turned out to be a pipe dream. So in a very strange way I'm still deeply grateful for the opportunity at the same time as I'm equally deeply saddened how it turned out.

april dogs 💚, 2018 -

On the bright side of last week - had my annual dentist check-up which second year in a row turned out to be a happy one - even if you basically pay 1000 SEK just to step inside the door of the dentist - no cavities, hooray! Who's a good girl? Well, I of course.

flowers, sweden, april 2018 -

Before I was reached by the above upsetting news on Friday I had a sweet meetup with my grief recovery process group. We hadn't seen eachother for 8 months and it was really lovely to catch up a bit, three out of four of us where there. The one who couldn'make it and another one still work at the same place, and even eight months after our sessions they still haven't had lunch together because it's a case of 'What shall we talk about after we've shared our most personal secrets and life's sorrows?'.

Looking back at those intense sessions and the work we did together, the tears, sorrows, laughters and gratitudes we shared, it's pretty amazing. And having shared all that, and never judging, we can always talk much more freely with eachother than with other people. We are very different people, and I'm not sure we would have become friends if we hadn't met like this, but I think we've formed a very special bond through this. For which I am truly grateful. Hopefully it won't be eight months until we meet again.

ulriksdal castle, stockholm, sweden, april 20, 2018

On Friday early summer also arrived, it was a whooping +24 C. That awkward time of the year when you don't really know how to dress weather appropriately. However it was the first day of mary-janes and no socks in shoes. The following days haven't been nearly as warm, and now rain has finally fallen. Which is a relief, because all this April sunshine and no rainfall has turned into a fire hazard. So far this April has been the warmest month in Sweden since the early 20th century. Hello global warming. But as snow fell on May 9 last year, who knows what will happen next. I hope for more rain at least.

vegan vietnamese crepes with organic tofu, minh mat, stockholm, sweden, revisited, april 2018

One of my favourite restaurants in Stockholm is Vietnamese Minh Mat. They serve three dishes for lunch, of which one is vegan - and they have a special vegan menu in the evenings which is amazing - and every Thursday they have Vietnamese crepes filled with veggies and lovely organic tofu. It's absolutely delicious, if a bit tricky to eat since it's so crispy.

I would never have thought of making this dish myself, since it looks so accomplished and complicated. But then a friend told me her partner had made it and that it was simple and turned out crazy good. I got the recipe and decided to make it this weekend. Conclusion; I will never be a great pancake maker, but the whole dish with the filling (veggies only) and a delicious, spicy soy dip turned out brilliantly. I will definitely make it again.

vegan vietnamese crepes, april 2018

Food should make you happy to look at, delight your taste buds, satisfy your stomach and be kind to the world. This dish certainly tick all those boxes. I will share the recipe in another post. And no I haven't forgotten about that yummy vegan Snickers-dessert I made at Easter. My mind has just been rather preoccupied with sorting out other things lately.

I've listened a lot to Causes' 'Where does love go?' lately. It's not only a simple and beautiful song, but I can't stop thinking about the phrases 'Where does love go when it dies?' and "Where do tears go when they're cried?'. No simple answers to that, but food for thought.

luddkolt’s british shorthair, april 2018 -

Hey, April, would you mind, prettiest pretty please, showing your very benevolent side from here on? And finish these final weeks of your time with happy news, kind fireworks, applaudes and colourful confetti? I would be so grateful if you could make that effort, m'kay? Thank you ever so much in advance, yours truly and hopeful.
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