Sunday, November 26, 2017

start a fire

stockholm, sweden, november 2017 -

Rounded off a great, inspiring and (as an intro/ambivert) exhausting week with a cinema visit. Something I rarely do anymore, partly because to be honest I think movies are best watched in the comfort of your own sofa. Where you can pause, drink as much tea as you want, have pee breaks and not having to deal with uncomfortable chairs and people. Partly because there are very few new movies I find interesting enough must watchs for a hefty movie ticket price.

That said, I really enjoyed this movie. Despite not being a fan of the musical genre one of my favourite movies are 'Singing in the Rain' and 'La La Land' is the modern version of it. Granted I was a bit distracted by my own thought processes in the beginning of the movie but was soon immersed in the magic of colours (oh the dresses!), music, humour, dreams, love, life and drama. Emma Stone was simply brilliant, a well deserving Oscar winner obviously. The 'I Ran' scene is one of my favourites, her facial expression says it all, sweet revenge.

The melancholy of the 'City of Stars' tune is beautiful. And when I heard 'Start a Fire' with John Legend it was difficult to not jump up and dance. Promptly new favourite to living room dance to (in void of starry summer skies). I dare you to sit still.

Despite the ending being of the very wistful kind I'm not sure it would have been an overall better movie had it had a happy overly sweet Hollywoood ending. That said though, I believe that people whose paths cross that much are meant to be together. Yes, I know it's only a movie, but these things happen in real life too. It actually happened to my parents. I love that story. And one might say I'm the living proof and fruit of serendipity - perhaps that's why it's my favourite English word?

The upcoming week promises to be even more hectic. I'm not complaining. I adore and am deeply grateful for how so many things seem to fall into place this year, especially this autumn. But now and then my brain would appreciate a bit of slowness to adjust and accept. Then again I know that some weeks are conciderably slower than others and then I'm impatient and a bit peeved.

I've also become one of those daft people who look forward to the weekend. Ever since I started my own business I've felt like pretty much every day is like a weekend because I own my days. But this past year I've come to relish my weekends, or specifically my caturdays. For brain rest and oxytocin galore. Because as a general rule, no calls or demands.

But my basic notion is that it's such a precious thing, owning your days. I decide when, where and with what I work. And mostly I don't have to be available on specific times, if we haven't agreed on that beforehand. If I decide to have a day off in the middle of the usual work week I can. Because I'm my own boss. Which is gold, with a capital G. And whatever did we do before the smartphones?

As much as most of us, from time to time, are guilty of routine surfing and obsessingly checking updates for the dreaded FOMO (fear of missing out), I also believe it has brought so much freedom when it comes to remote work, freelancing, running your own business. Even if we also have to be aware of our own behaviours when it comes to living authentically, being present, the smartphone and the internetz in all its glory can never ever outdo the magic that comes from real life meeting with people and fellow beings.

Remember I wrote about the struggle of grey hair I don't care? I actually don't think a lot about that greyness these day (hooray, on the path of progress, a year older and wiser). What I've come to be annoyed about though, is that I feel that despite my new routine of weekly hairpaks the end bits of my hair begun to look worn. So I decided to cut it myself. A clean cut of 5 centimetres. And now I feel like it's about 20 cm shorter, and I will have to start the growing process all over again. Ridiculous, but never the less true for me. Oh the importance of hair.

On another lighter note of luxuary problems, I briefly contemplated getting a pair of new shoes. And for those who know me, you do know of my deep fondness for a special kind of shoes (El Naturalista and ART all the way, baby). But these days shoe shopping isn't without complications. Because of I no longer want to be part of consumerism, LOHAS is the thing. Always. And hand on heart, do I need another pair of shoes right now? Plus, do my best this days to stay away from new leather shoes, if it isn't recycled or non animal derived. So I decided against it.

Then I thought about how the things I want most passionately now are things money can't buy. And also felt that money can be much better spent than on shoes one isn't in desperate need of. Which would not have been a thought I'd much entertained a few years ago. Then I'd simply gone and treated myself. All these seemingy little, insignificant things that show progress. Can I choose not to buy a pair of coveted shoes, I can do anything. And so can you.

tant brun, sigtuna, sweden, november 2017 -

Monday, November 20, 2017

free me

stockholm, sweden, november 2017 -

Free by Francesca Blanchard is currently my absolute favourite tune. I adore the mood, her voice, the simplicity of the text that manages to convey so much emotions - and that she's fresh, natural and actually fully, simply dressed. So incredibly tired of the fact that too many great female voices and the music industry seem to think that the three letter word and skimpy dressed is the only thing that goes, that sells. So so outdated. - and since it isn't something to dance too I actually sing along until my voice is hoarse.

And I'm even more grateful for the fact that noone, but the cats in pure state of shock, can hear that. Remember that scene with Julia Roberts in the bath in "Pretty woman" singing (well, sounding is more like it) with earphones on? That's pretty much me times 10. But given I practise a lot on this every day these days, perhaps I'll get better. Kind of. (No, not really.)

Unless it's a super catchy dance tune the lyrics have always been really important to me. It's quite amazing that you can always find those special tunes that just speak to your heart and mind, wouldn't you agree? So currently I listen to a melancholy, emotional Spotify list of old and new songs on repeat. Not that I feel melancholy as such, but it's a really good list for thinking and trying to figure things out. Yes, good thinking music.

My top 5 + 1 tunes for this thinking business right now are -

Just for now - Imogen Heap
Let go - Frou Frou - 'cause there is beauty in the break down, what a lovely sentiment...
Look after you - Aron Wright - wait for the very last sentence...
Waiting - Aquilo
Heartbeats - Aron Wright

And the funny thing is that sometimes I'm just so delightfully clueless. I thought it was amazing how I was suddenly suggested really old tunes from my teens, twenties by Spotify, because they are apparently similiar to the ones I listen to now. Songs and bands I had actually forgotten I'd listen too, but that seem so very familiar to hear again. Oh internetz and your algorithms, you just keep playing your suggestive tricks, don't you? As well as reminding me of the fact that my taste in music haven't changed all that much in a few decades, just being a bit updated to the 21st century.

NB I wasn't a melancholy teen or 20 something, but these kind of tunes just strike something in me now and then. The always close to Weltschmerz part of me secretly rejoice perhaps. Be as that may, good for thinking dreamy music it is here and now.

Then I took a day off in the middle of the week, because as a sole business owner you need to have those days. To think about where you are, where you're going, what you want and not, what's working and not. Setting a path, at the same time as you're open to unexpected possibilites that might happen that will excite and delight you. Walked for hours, had a lovely lunch, took a gazillion pictures, felt so grateful for being where I am in life, here and now, in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, in the country I call home. Which, for all its flaws, by comparison is rather decent.

I also came to the conclusion that I am on the right track, where I want to be. Despite it's flaws, and lack of strategy and progress in parts, I'm so happy to have crossed paths with my tribe of awesomeness. And for that I'm of course willing to put the time and energy into turning this project on the right track of greatness.

Then I was contacted by a recruiter for a full-time 1 year gig. And as flattering as that might be it also gave me the chills of unpleasentness. Because the idea of full-time in an office with no flexibility and being restricted still give me the creeps. It's simply not the best and most productive way to use my skills, nor something I'd be happy with. Plus I don't have the time for a single full-time gig. So I declined. With just those reasons. Free spirit me talking firmly.

I must not loose my objective. Nor my path of doing what I love, the variety and mix of gigs is bliss, as is constant learning and growth. If I didn't have that I would be miserable. And that's no way to live. I'm still not rich in money - getting there, one little step at a time, despite the nuisance of leaky roof - but I'm so rich in experiences. And that's truly something to be grateful and happy about.

The week ended with some unexpected news, which I admittedly had secretly hoped for, something I'm possibly a tad more jazzed about than I should be. But who cares, it's a sweet feeling and it's my very own. When life, things are complicated and not as straightforward as most of us prefer, it's essential to make the most of those jazzy moments. Worry less, enjoy more. And listen to music that make you think. And dream.

stockholm, sweden, november 2017 -

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

organic vegan food inspiration

årstiderna organic vegan food box, march - april 2017 -

This will merely be an inspiring cavalcade of the organic, vegan food I've been cooking lately as a food ambassador for the Årstiderna vegan food box on Instagram (@veganskamatkassen). The recipes can be found on their website and in the appstore app (in Swedish). But if you find some dish/es especially interesting I'll happy to translate the recipe/s in a separate post. Just leave a comment about your favourite looking recipe.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, march - april 2017 -

This has so far been my absolute favourite dish. A very unassuming looking beetroot quinoa (served with salad, cabbage and carrots in a wrap), that's absolutely jampacked with texture and flavour (who new quinoa, raw beetroot, apple, raisins and a simple dressing of lemon juice, garlic, oil, salt and pepper could create such magic?).

årstiderna organic vegan food box, march - april 2017 -

årstiderna organic vegan food box, march - april 2017 -

Spicy bean tacos with avocado and grapefruit salsa.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, march - april 2017 -

årstiderna organic vegan food box, march - april 2017 -

Okonomiyaki with a spicy rice salad - such a nice new food experience!

årstiderna organic vegan food box, march - april 2017 -

årstiderna organic vegan food box, march - april 2017 -

Bangkok soup with rice and coriander - not a favourite flavour/texture experience. Love coriander, but the rest was just very basic.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, march - april 2017 -

food at home, october - november 2017 (årstiderna organic, vegan food box, food ambassador) -

Potato and leek soup with fried leek and pumpkin seed topping - the soup was really good (if not exciting) but that topping was fantastic!

food at home, october - november 2017 (årstiderna organic, vegan food box, food ambassador) -

Tartlets with creamy stew of asparagus, broccoli, carrot, leek and mung beans - just as tasty as beautiful. Just look at that gorgeous salad... Nature is amazing.

food at home, october - november 2017 (årstiderna organic, vegan food box, food ambassador) -

food at home, october - november 2017 (årstiderna organic, vegan food box, food ambassador) -

Saag aloo with chickpeas and spicy cucumber salad - let's talk about that pickled cucumber salad. I was very sceptical. Apart from pickled red onion I'm no fan of pickled veggies. Or so I thought. This was delicious and such a nice contrast to the spicy, hot saag aloo.

food at home, october - november 2017 (årstiderna organic, vegan food box, food ambassador) -

Spicy noodle wok.

food at home, october - november 2017 (årstiderna organic, vegan food box, food ambassador) -

Hokkaido pumpkin soup with turmeric and roasted corn and pumpkin seeds - absolutely delicious! That roasted fresh corn and pumpkin seed topping, fantastic.

food at home, october - november 2017 (årstiderna organic, vegan food box, food ambassador) -

Cabbage wraps with quinoa and pumpkin and pea hummus with turmeric - that hummus... oh my, tastiness! (Snoopervisors agree.)

food at home, october - november 2017 (årstiderna organic, vegan food box, food ambassador) -

food at home, october - november 2017 (årstiderna organic, vegan food box, food ambassador) -

Chickpea pancake with leek, squash and cherry tomatoes - I find chickpea flour to be rather dry and so was this pancake, but I'm basically just happy that I managed to fry and turn it reasonably unharmed.

food at home, october - november 2017 (årstiderna organic, vegan food box, food ambassador) -

Bibimbap with pak choy, mushroom, leek and carrots - very good. And that pak choy before cooking, gorgeous.

food at home, october - november 2017 (årstiderna organic, vegan food box, food ambassador) -

årstiderna organic vegan food box, october - november 2017 -

Seitan sausage in a bun with pickled red onion and Asian cabbage salad - I was surprised at finding a semi-finished product in the box (but granted I wasn't excited by the idea of making my own seitan sausage). Not very exciting as a meal. But I enjoyed the pickled red onions.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, october - november 2017 -

Wraps with quinoa, red cabbage, carrots, cucumber and peanut sauce.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, october - november 2017 -

Korma curry with chickpeas, sweet potato, cauliflower and tomatoes.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, october - november 2017 -

Latkes pancakes with hummus and tomato-onion salad - really good flavour combo.

food at home, october - november 2017 (årstiderna organic, vegan food box, food ambassador) -

The recipes are for two persons but in general I have no idea how hungry you have to be to finish all that food, so I can usually freeze the leftover food or enjoy it several days in a row. Very practical. I'm just so happy I got this chance - Instagram hashtaggery has certainly been very very good to me over these past few years.

I never enter any competition where it's just pure luck or a lottery (I'm never lucky in lottery anyway). To win by competence or talent is just so much more rewarding as far as I'm concerned. And even if this very honourable food ambassador assignment was something you applied for I consider it an Instagram victory - like the glasses, the dress, the Schwarzwald trip, the muesli, the wee sonny angel. Big, small and everything in between. The combination of image and words, my special winning combo apparently. And how lucky I am to be able to work with what I love. And eat and live the way I want, in a way that's beneficial for both myself and the planet. Lucky lucky lucky me.

NB the empty Årstiderna wooden crates are awesome for little excited snoopervisors too. Such a win win win situation.

Friday, November 10, 2017

love goals

remember remember, december 2016

This post will not be about vegan food. Nor about colourful outfits. It was after all not a promise, just a suggestion. And there's always time for it in another post. Human behaviour is much more interesting to contemplate, wouldn't you agree? Thus this post will be a reflection on love. In general.

Have you seen the TV-commercial with a football player scoring a goal and then suddenly getting mezmerised by a cheering man in the audience, so mesmerized he paves his way through the crowd up on to the stand and there passionately kisses him? I think it's an ad for a Swedish pay-TV company but Google has not been my friend here so I can't alas find a link to it. Anyway, I find the ad amazing and heartwarming. Because the storytelling so cleverly incorporates

a) The kind of passionate, unexpected kiss most of us humans (who have watched too many romantic movies) secretly (or not so secretly) wish for.
b) It's breaking the norms in a grand way. It wouldn't have been nearly as good if it had been a (stereotypically beautiful) man and woman involved.
c) Showing love and kindness instead of the violence and hate we've seen too much of at football games this last decade.

I would go as far as to say it's my new favourite commercial after the wind turbines one.

EDIT: I found it! "We gather all kinds of passion at Canal Digital."

You know the "I want someone to look at me like..." memes? My number one favourite is still Joe Biden looking at Barack Obama. In fact I've put that on my list of life goals. And until that happens I will continue to be a not so crazy cat lady. (Well, I will always be a not so crazy cat lady, because the company of cats rock, but you get the drift.)

There's been a lovely interview series on Swedish television recently called "En kärlekshistoria" (A lovestory) about famous Swedish creative couples who both live and work together. They've been together for 7-30 years (so their ages range from 35 to 80) and the interviews obviously revolve around how they've made their relationships work so well.

I didn't think I would enjoy the series as much as I did, and surely none of the other episodes after the first one (Camilla Thulin is my kindred spirit) would be nearly as good? But you know what, they've all been great in their very own way. I've loved the stories, the ups and downs most couples have shared. And not least the wisdom. Heartwarming. And all the oneliners, eye-openers that make you think, a fine thing indeed. The series is still available on SVT Play (in Swedish, in Sweden of course) so if you haven't had the time to watch it yet I recommend you do.

As far as myself go I did have a really good talk over dinner with that trusted friend the other day. And it was again both heartwarming and reaffirming of the conclusion I'd come to myself, the obvious way to act (or non-act) when things are complicated and not as straight forward as pink, vegan meringues. Which is keeping it simple, trust the gut and the process. Not forcing things, what is meant to be will be. That now embraced notion has served me well all this year, I'm done with being impatient. - Although I still believe impatience is what drives change and growth. Still, a time and place for everything... And I gave myself a promise last year which I'm not about to break. It's a simple question of pride.

Then we laughed a lot too - about that list of what we look for in an ideal partner we've all had at some point or other (and if you say you haven't I say you're a liar). The list that doesn't mean a thing (or at least not very much, your basic values are still the same) when the right one appears. (In fact you might even get moments of realising, why on earth didn't I know this was just what I needed and wanted?) And about the importance of intellectual challenge, humour and laughter. Friends like that are worth their weight in gold.

Later that evening my mother said
- Can I say something without you getting angry?
- Sure.
- *Insert a sentence that turned me into 50 shades of red*

She is clearly so much more insightful than I give her credit for sometimes - yes we should start a YouTube channel pod... Darling little mum.

Today she said something else that made me think a lot about my own behaviour of just being strong and comfortable in myself. I know she's right. And as unfortunate as it might be in some aspects it's also not something that I'm the least bit interested in changing at this reputable age reached. And most of all, if I tried to I wouldn't be true to myself. Which is so very important. And I'd much rather be myself than a unicorn actually. And it isn't a bad thing at all, but it's really interesting that it took all these years to get it. Hello, Eureka moment, I've been a bit clueless. For a very long time.

And after all these love related ramblings I'll leave you with a really sweet movie tip "What if?" - hipster alert high but also with a very clever dialogue, humour and lots of cuteness. Watched it again last weekend. This weekend I've heard it's going to rain lots and lots, so I think a caturday well spent would be watching and laughing at "Bridget Jones's Diary" for the umpteenth time. Accompanied by many cups of tea, snacks and cats. And possibly reminiscing on how close I was to that praiseworthy wet shirt of Mr Darcy a few months ago. As one does now and then.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

even in a world with pink, vegan meringues life is still complicated

pink vegan meringue, november 2017

Sometimes I miss those early days blogging, when very few friends knew about the blog and I most definitely never mentioned it in work related situations. Even if I've always been very careful and neutral about whom I mention or write about - 

never ever any names and the rule is as always "If I don't want certain people to see or read this I don't publish it". Simple as that. -

I still have a distinct feeling I was more free in my blog writing a few years ago.

The vast majority of my blog readers come from the US - which I find curiously interesting, hello there! - and that's fine and lovely. Other countries, equally lovely. It's when it gets too close to home for comfort I get a bit taken aback. When it suddenly dawns that hey, those colleagues and friends of M - if any of you guys still reads, hello to you too -, those work related people and followers actually do pop in and read. Then I realise I'm not really comfortable to write quite as freely as I used to. Even if I've never been really private I've always been personal and sometimes that feels pretty awkward now too.

And admittedly it's basically my own fault, maybe I shouldn't have mentioned my blog quite as openly to people. And I probably shouldn't have added it to my LinkedIn profile. Or published some posts on Twitter. Used it as my text portfolio. Really, silly me.

On the one hand this ties my hands in writing, on the other hand (the none tied one) it forces me to develop my writing in a new direction. Which will never be completely new since I find that keeping it personal is always the best way to keep it. Still, I'm keeping a fair bit of my emotional life off blog these days. Since I would be really sad if what I would like to write about now in any aspect would affect my professional life in a negative way. It may be silly, it may be true, it may be instinct, it may be over-analyzing. All despite the fact that my gut feeling says yes. My heart says yes, but my head, my practical head says no.

And no matter how much I've come to trust the gut and no matter how much I've grown this last year, this is a hurdle I'm not willing to deal with. I don't even know how. And certainly not in blog.

See, even in a world where something as delightful as pink, vegan meringues exist life continues to be complicated. Or at least us humans complicate things. Especially where emotions are involved.

So to not complicate things further - I will talk this through with a trusted friend tomorrow instead - I will now write a bit about the fact that my poor leaky roof got an emergency fix last week. It was a huge crack straight across the roof, the roofer said he had never seen anything like it and I saw the picture proof. Things will hopefully keep over winter now, but the roof needs complete replacement come spring and the cost for that is a crazy one. Depending on how extensive work that needs doing, but still hello hefty price.

But I have dealt with so much issues this past 1,5 years so of course I will find a solution to this too. For now I'm just grateful I can't hear that sound of drip drip drip anymore.

So, how about some fabulously inspiring vegan dishes in next post? - yes, I thoroughly enjoy my new role as food inspirer/food ambassador. Haven't cooked so many meals in years, tea and sandwiches or porridge is usually fine for dinner en mi casa, now it's hello wonderful flavours and textures galore! 

Or some colourful outfits - haven't done that in a long long time, but as someone kindly asked for that, who am I to say no?

Both most certainly light hearted, non complicated topics. Life is made of that too. Much like sweet pink, vegan meringues.

pink vegan meringue, november 2017
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