Thursday, December 27, 2012

ONE EVENING AT CAFE BLOSSOM UPPER WEST SIDE

One delicious vegan dinner at Cafe Blossom(83rd St. & Columbus Ave). Enjoy!
Quinoa Salad: black beans, quinoa, roasted sweet corn, diced peppers, watercress, toasted pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, mango guacamole, poblano dressing
Garlic Herb Gnocchi: sauteed brussels sprouts, white bean puree, fresh lemon
Mushroom Ravioli, fresh oregano, truffle butter
Black Eyed Pea Cake: yukon potato, red pepper coulis, chipotle aioli
Seitan Skewers, house-made bbq sauce, onions and peppers, jicama carrot coleslaw
Signature Carrot Cake and Handcrafted Cashew Ice Cream from local micro-creamery Lula’s Sweet Apothecary in three different flavors.
Chocolate Mousse Cake with Whipped Cream and Berry sauce

Every single dish was delicious, flavorful, inventive and fresh. Desserts were so huge that even four of us had trouble finishing everything we ordered. This is the kind of food that makes carnivores forget about their meat. You just simply won't miss it. 
"We must each lead a way of life with self-awareness and compassion, to do as much as we can. Then, whatever happens we will have no regrets." Dalai Lama

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

HAPPY HOLIDAYS

It's that time of the year again and this year flew by so fast that Christmas just hit me in the face, yet again. We just got our Christmas shopping done yesterday (just few little things for our nieces and nephew) and grocery shopping as well (thank god Trader Joe's was practically empty when we got there in the afternoon). So now we can just relax and enjoy the holidays. Not going back to work before next year. Much needed time off from there...
Our xmas card looked a litte crazy this year.../Hullunkurinen joulukortti...
I hope you've been having a peaceful holiday time filled with love.
"The proper behavior all through the holiday season is to be drunk. This drunkenness culminates on New Year's Eve, when you get so drunk you kiss the person you're married to." P. J. O'Rourke 

On taas se aika vuodesta ja tämä vuosi meni ohi niin nopeasti, että joulu melkein löi minua kasvoihin ja lujaa. Saimme jouluostokset vihdoin tehtyä eilen (vain muutamia pikku lahjoja perheen pienemmille) ja käytyä ruokaostoksilla (onneksi Trader Joe's oli lähes tyhjä ihmisistä kun menimme sinne iltapäivällä). Joten nyt voimme rentoutua ja nauttia lomasta, sillä en ole menossa takaisin töihin ennen ensi vuotta. Super ihanaa! Nauttikaa joulusta ja toisistanne!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

KIITOS.NAMASTE.

I'm excited to announce that I'm part of a new project that brings inspiration for women in the form of a vlog (in Finnish). KiitosNamaste will launch 1.1.2013 and will feature people, beauty, wellness, style, restaurants, interviews, food and drinks, NYC and maybe even some travel. Like us on Facebook to follow updates. We are open for story ideas so if there's something you are curious about and would like us to cover, send an email, Facebook message or leave a comment! Hope to se you there!

Life is a song - sing it. Life is a game - play it. Life is a challenge - meet it. Life is a dream - realize it. Life is a sacrifice - offer it. Life is love - enjoy it. 
Sai Baba


Olen innoissani voidessani ilmoittaa, että olen osa uutta projektia, joka tuo inspiraatiota naisille videoblogin eli vlogin muodossa (suomeksi). KiitosNamaste starttaa 1.1.2013 ja mukana on ihmisiä, kauneutta, hyvinvointia, tyyliä, ravintoloita, haastatteluja, ruokaa ja juomaa, NYC ja ehkä vielä matkustusjuttujakin. Tykkää meistä Facebookissa jotta pääset mukaan seuraamaan päivityksiämme. Otamme mielellämme vastaan juttuideoita joten jos sinulla on jokin aihe joka kiinnostaa ja haluaisit meidän tekevän siitä episodin niin laita emalia, Facebook-viestiä tai jätä kommenttia alle. Nähdään KiitosNamasteen puolella!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

SANTA FE PONCHO

Some of you might've already figured out that I love ponchos (my grey one here, black one here. I also have colorful one, but that has not been photographed just yet). So no surprise that I was on the hunt for a poncho while in New Mexico. I found this one from a street vendor in Santa Fe. The best part is that it's two-in-one since it is reversible. Genius! I wish all clothes were reversible so that I would need only half the closet space. 
I'm also happy to announce that I have not mailed any Christmas cards, bought any gifts or done anything else for the sake of the approaching holiday time. Although I did book a five night vacation somewhere cold and new. Exciting! Anybody else feeling indifferent about the holidays? I guess when I have kids I'll be active about this stuff, but right now I just couldn't care less. Too bad it's husband's favorite time of the year and he tends to make a big fuss about it...
Have a lovely week!
"Once again, we come to the Holiday Season, a deeply religious time that each of us observes, in his own way, by going to the mall of his choice." Dave Barry

Thursday, December 13, 2012

IN BED

"Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do... but how much love we put in that action."
  Mother Teresa

Sunday, December 9, 2012

INDEPENDENCE DAY RECEPTION

This was the first year I got invited to the Finnish Consulate's Independence Day reception. It was short and sweet (my favorites were the cocktail bite sized Karelian pies), the view was great and we made some new friends along the way.
Finland's Independence Day is held on December 6th to celebrate Finland's declaration of independence from Soviet Russia. The movement for Finland's Independence started after the revolutions in Russia, caused by the disturbances from the defeats of the First World War. This gave an opportunity for Finland to withdraw from Russia. After several disagreements between the non-socialists and the social-democrats about the matter of who should have the power in Finland, the Senate of Finland, led by Pehr Evind Svinhufvud, finally gave on December 4th 1917 a Declaration of Independence which was adopted by the parliament two days later. (wikipedia)
And the some good old Finn humor. You know you have been in Finland too long, when... 

- You rummage through your plastic bag collection to see which ones you should keep to take to the store and which can be sacrificed to garbage.

- When a stranger on the street smiles at you:
a. you assume he is drunk
b. he is insane
c. he's an American  
- Silence is fun. 
- You associate pea soup with Thursday. 
- Your idea of unforgivable behaviour now includes walking across the street when the light is red and there is no walk symbol, even though there are no cars in sight.
- Your old habit of being "Fashionably late" is no longer acceptable. You are always on time. 
 - You just love Jaffa.
- You've come to expect Sunday morning sidewalk vomit dodging. 
- You know that "Gents" is another term for sidewalk. 
- You know that more than four channels means cable. 
- When you're hungry you can peel a boiled potato like lightning. - You accept that 80°C in a sauna is chilly, but 20°C outside is freaking hot. Source

Monday, December 3, 2012

DIY ALL NATURAL AIR-FRESHENER

I like our home to smell good hence burning tons of incense. You can make your own spray air-freshener using three simple ingredients. It’s a natural way to remove household odors, and the spray works well in the bathroom, on most fabrics and carpets, even in shoes.

Ingredients:
0,5 oz gin, vodka, or rubbing alcohol 
3 oz filtered water 
10 – 20 drops of essential oil, a few suggested oils are: peppermint, jasmine, citrus oils 

This combination is strong enough to work without being too strong. Simply mix in a spray bottle and spray around for instant freshness. I keep a bottle in our guest bath and it works miracles there too. I used the lemongrass and orange this time and once I run out, I'll try the peppermint. The mix will keep well for at least a month. You can buy the oils here.

Have an exciting week! I'll start mine with a job interview, then there's an independence day celebration (Finland) as well as some ballet with Nutcrackers later in the week!
"Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand-and melting like a snowflake." Francis Bacon Sr.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

FIVE FAVORITES


Rose Quartz is a great stone for attracting love. It promotes self-loving and heals emotional wounds as well as promoting peace, forgiveness, and nurturing. This specific one has been programmed by a healer.
I loooove incense and it burns in our house all the time. Our favorites are frankincense & myrrh and these Indian temple scented ones. My incense goes together with my perfumes as you may see below.
New scent I just bought because I was in the mood for something with vanilla. Together with amber this is the perfect pair.
There's no more sandalwood, but I refilled the bottle with frankincense and myrrh oils that I get from the street vendors in the Village. So exotic.
I pour few drops of these fragrance oils to a ceramic diffuser and our guest bath always smells quite pleasant. Body Shop usually has great sale on these after the holidays and that's when I stock up.

Have a great weekend! And be more real!
"At the end of life, our questions are very simple: Did I live fully? Did I love well?" Jack Kornfield

Thursday, November 29, 2012

WOMEN WE DIG : PAULA JAAKKOLA

Photo by Claudia Christen


As women our main mission is connection and communication. Women should come together and be of service for one another. It's very important for us to stick together in the time of need. Let's inspire each other to be better women. Let's uplift each other and stop all the hatred. Let's teach, mentor, inspire and empower each other to do their best. 

In this new series I'll introduce you to some beautiful and inspiring women, beginning with NYC-based singer-songwriter Paula Jaakkola
What brought you to New York City?
I moved to New York City to study jazz vocals at New School University.
What are your favorite places here?
There are so many. I live in Brooklyn so here is a bunch from my home borough:
- Prospect Park – I love its little ponds and lakes. 
Park Slope Food Co-op – I do all my grocery shopping here as they have an amazing selection of organic and local vegetables and fruits and other produce with very reasonable prices
Park Slope's 5th Avenue – there are many nice restaurants and bars on this street. One of my favorite places is Bogota, a Latin American Bistro that has yummy hearty food
- Stonehome Wine Bar in Fort Greene – a relaxed wine bar that I end up going to with my friends more often than not.
- BAM a.k.a. Brooklyn Academy of Music – a wonderful cutting edge arts center for movies, live music and theater
- DUMBO - Dumbo's shore line is beautiful. In summer I often go and have picnic by the river and admire Manhattan skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge
in Manhattan:
- Highline – I so much love the fact that this historical structure got preserved and now serves as a lovely, unusual park and promenade. I tend to go here in spring time to worship the sun and watch people
- Living Room and Rockwood Music Hall - Great live music venues in Lower East Side
- Ippudo – the city's best Ramen noodle soups and pork buns
- Argo Tea – any location works. This is my part-time office. Even that it is a somewhat generic chain tea house I like their tea selection and the wi-fi usually works pretty well.
What do you miss from Finland?
The usual suspects: rye bread, sauna, Fazer chocolate and salmiakki. And of course my family and my friends.
Where and when are you most creative?
The most important thing for me is that I have a quiet space externally and internally. I need "alone time". During these lonely silent moments I am most connected to my inner being and my creativity.
What inspires you?
Music inspires me, obviously. I like all kinds of music but I listen to different styles depending on my mood. Sometimes I am more receptive to classical string quartet music that makes me tear up and other times I need to feel energized and that's when pure pop (say something like Rihanna) is an inspiration. I would say indie rock/pop is a genre that inspire me most musically. But I am also inspired by good books, movies and visual arts in general. I saw Helene Schjerfbeck's exhibition in Helsinki this past summer. I have always admired her work and I was very uplifted after seeing this show. Nature inspires me too – I could stare at the water or the moon forever (the mystical side of me). I am also inspired by people here in NYC who are succeeding in following their life paths. This is a tough city and anyone who's made it here on a personal level is extremely inspiring to me.
How do you treat yourself? What is your secret indulgence?
An occasional glass of red wine does the trick for me. Or if feeling racy it could be a dirty vodka martini.
What are your favorite things to do in your free time?
I enjoy having dinner with friends in some quaint Village restaurant. I also like to cook, read, meditate, jog in the park and watch movies.
Where would you like to travel and why?
There are so many countries I would like to travel to. Where do I start? I was in Goa, India two years ago but I found it a bit touristy. I would love to see the "real" India at some point. I would also like to go to China, Japan, Korea, Cambodia etc. The Eastern cultures intrigue me and I feel like I haven't traveled enough outside western world. It is so eye-opening to get out of one's comfort zone. As to Europe, I am embarrassed to say that I have never been to Italy or Greece so one of these days I'd like to visit those places, too.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
As a content woman with a satisfying career and loved ones around me.
What was the most defining moment in your career to date?
Recently I have been fortunate to have several people in my life who want to collaborate and help me with my music career: two established Finnish music professionals, who I highly admire and who will co-produce my album with me. Also there is an entertainment management company here in NYC that currently represents me as a performing artist. These two factors have helped me to move forward with my career. I am very grateful.
What advice do you have for people wanting to pursue a career in singing?
This might sound a bit cheesy but it rings true to me. I would say that as long as you follow your heart you will be on the right track. This could apply to any profession or any life choice that one might want to pursue.
Photo by Sueyoung Yoo
What is your favorite quote?
I have many. Here's two:
“Only from the heart can you touch the sky.” -Rumi
"There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." - Albert Einstein
After years of performing in different music groups and venturing out on a solo career in recent years, Paula Jaakkola is preparing to record her first solo album that embraces the acoustic pop genre, soulful lyrics and her love of piano playing. To her aid in making this album Paula has a highly established and supportive production team in her native Finland where the album will be partly made. She has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the project. Anyone can participate and become a backer by making a pledge HERE before December 12th.
Paula's website: www.musicwithwings.com
Photo by Claudia Christen
If you would like to be featured as an "Inspirational Woman" contact me
"The journey is the reward."  Chinese Proverb

Monday, November 26, 2012

SANDIA PEAK + VACATION VIDEO

Happy new week! Here are the last photos from our little vacation to the Southwest. 



"Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."  Ancient Native American Proverb