Thursday, November 29, 2012


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:
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


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

Friday, November 23, 2012


From top left: tribal art was everywhere, fireplaces were everywhere as well, Church Street Cafe in old town which is apparently extremely haunted...
 We are in Denver right now waiting for our connecting flight back home. It's been a fun week and I have a feeling that we'll be back in New Mexico very soon... 
From top left: beautiful farm to table restaurant Farm & Table (ABQ), Sandia Peak ski resort, Sandia Peak overook, Santa Fe architecture. 
From top left: Farm & Table restaurant, Sandia Peak view from the High Finance restaurant, martinis at Zinc restaurant in Nob Hill (ABQ), peppermint patty hot cocktail at High Finance restaurant
From top left: Denver airport waiting for our connecting flight and Old Town Albuquerque charm
Have a great weekend friends!

"Honor the sacred. Honor the Earth, our Mother. Honor the Elders. Honor all with whom we share the Earth:-Four-leggeds, two-leggeds, winged ones, swimmers, crawlers, plant and rock people. Walk in balance and beauty."
Native American Elder

Thursday, November 22, 2012


 Yesterday we met with few local custom builders and I'm starting to get the itch of owning a home again and more importantly designing it to be exactly what we've dreamed it to be and the best part; decorating it. 
We also took a trip to the capital of New Mexico, Santa Fe ("holy faith"), which is about an hour from Albuquerque. It is an artsy town rich in history, full of colors, cute Pueblo style adobe houses, spirituality and culture. I'm crazy about anything Native American so this would be truly a heaven for me for shopping home decor.
 We're so not missing the East Coast... 
“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful.” -Buddha

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Here we are in New Mexico, the land of enchantment. We came to check out a piece of land that our family owns and see if we would like to build a house on it. Zero-energy house. With it's own veggie garden. If we get rich it would also house my huge animal sanctuary. And my yoga studio/retail store. One must have dreams, right???
This is where our land lies. In the middle of nowhere. Just the way we wanted it. It was amazing to experience total quietness this place had to offer. No cars, no planes, no electric cables, no trains, nothing. Just peace and quiet.
"Set peace of mind as your highest goal, and organize your life around it." Brian Tracy

Täällä me olemme New Mexicossa, lumotussa maassa. Tulimme tarkistamaan tontin jonka perheemme omistaa täällä ja katsomaan jos haluaisimme rakentaa talon sille. Tarkemmin sanottuna nollaenergiatalon. Omalla kasvimaalla. Ja jos me sattumalta rikastuisimme (ja paljon) perustaisin myös lemmikkieläinkodin johon toisin teurastamoilta ja kaduilta pelastettuja eläimiä. Ja joogastudion/myymälän. Ihminen voi aina unelmoida...

Kolme viimeistä kuvaa ovat tontiltamme. Keskellä ei mitään. Juuri niinkuin halusimme. Oli mahtavaa kokea täydellinen hiljaisuus pitkästä aikaa. Ei autoja, ei lentokoneita, ei sähkökaapeleita, ei junia, ei mitään. Vain rauhaa ja hiljaisuutta.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


Finally. Vacation. Short one, but so needed. Guess where we are traveling? I'm so excited!

Friday, November 16, 2012


 This week I've taken the ferry to Manhattan which is something I haven't done since we moved out of our apartment right next to the ferry in 2006. It was nice to take a walk back in memory, back when we were so young, beautiful and adventurous. The same evening I decided to walk back to the ferry from work and it turned out to be pretty nice walk through West Village, to Meatpacking District, I popped in to Chelsea Market to buy gifts for my brand new godson (my first godchild too!), walked the entire Highline Park from 14th Street to 30th Street and nine more blocks along the West Side Highway to the ferry terminal which is located on 39th Street. I should do this more often. Walk. Without rush.
This week has also included three soy mochas from Doughboy (that's one for each day I went to work) because coffee makes me extremely pleasant person and life seems so amazing after a cup of java. It's like I can conquer the world. Some people get that feeling from alcohol, for me it's coffee since I'm a new coffee drinker.

I've also been hunting for the perfect fall/winter/spring boots because my old ones are in terrible shape (not lying, the bottom is about to fall off). Since I got a gift card from the Get Your Pink On-event I've been browsing through DSW's selections and today I think I found the perfect pair; coffee colored lace up boots. Just what I wanted!
"If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich." 
Lao Tzu

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


The other week, when the weather was still quite warm, we headed out for a little walk, window shopping and brunch in our little town. Aren't Sundays like that just the best?
This is the same place you may have seen here and here and I ordered the same vegetable paella I had at my husband's birthday party. Soo goood. We brought a bottle of wine with us and made a delicious white sangria. More sun for the sunny day! Luckily for us here in our area the rest of the week seems to be sunny as well, so hip hip hurray! Let's enjoy it!
What is the meaning of life? To be happy and useful. Dalai Lama

Jokin aika sitten, kun sää oli vielä melkoisen lämmin, lähdimme ulos pienelle kävelylle, ikkunaostoksille ja brunssille kuubalaiseen ravintolaan. Tämä on sama paikka jonka olet ehkä nähnyt blogissani muutaman kerran aikaisemminkin. Toimme pullon viiniä mukanamme ja teimme siitä herkullista valkoista sangriaa. Enemmän aurinkoa jo niin ihanaan aurinkoiseen päivään! Onneksemme täällä loppuviikko näyttää olevan aurinkoinen joten hip hip hurraa! Nautitaan siitä!

Monday, November 12, 2012


I've finished 21 classes in 31 days challenge (I did actually 24 classes) and earned my medal. Or at least my name on the board of the yoga champions and one week free yoga(that's appreciated greatly because one class costs $19). So here's a little report about my month married to the yoga studio.

What’s been your main motivation through this challenge?

To find peace of mind, flexibility and strength. I also have a dream to do something (professionally) that's connected to well-being, nutrition and yoga so knowing that I'm working towards my future kept me motivated.

What’s been the toughest thing about this challenge?

Getting myself to leave the house to go to the class when it's cold, rainy and dark outside and the warm, comfy couch calls my name... Luckily I live within short walking distance from the studio and once I get to the heated room I feel great and full of motivation.

What changes have you seen in yourself physically?

I've always been pretty flexible due to my dance background, but  the way I can flex now is just amazing. My balance has also improved a lot due to all the balancing poses we do in each class. I didn't do this challenge to lose weight, which is why I didn't take measurements or weight myself in the beginning. But I've definitely lost weight since my jeans are all too big from the waist and my wedding ring too. It keeps sliding off my finger!
How about mentally/emotionally?

Before this challenge I had trouble getting my mind to stop running like a headless chicken :). Now, when I get frustrated or stressed out, I very quickly come back to present and concentrate on my breath while taking few deep breaths. It truly helps. I've also gained confidence (thanks to all the motivational speeches at the beginning, mid-class and at the end) that I can be whatever I want to be. And one of them is to get certified as a yoga teacher.

Have you seen any improvement in your yoga practice?

Yes, I've definitely gotten physically stronger. Before I could not go from high plank to low plank to upward dog (chaturanga) because of my weak arm strength. Now it's like child's play. Also wheel pose was extremely uncomfortable for me to do, but now it's quite enjoyable. Crow as well. Dancer's pose I absolutely love. It's so beautiful. Also, I used to sit out quite a few postures because I was exhausted; now I can make it through an entire class without missing a pose (or just missing one). I don't rush through the poses anymore, but do it mindfully, slowly following the breath and flowing beautifully from pose to pose.
One of my yoga teacher's recommended adding this electrolyte-filled powder into my bottle of water that I drink at the class and it truly helps me keep going. 

It was an amazing month and I look forward to continuing in this path I've chosen. Be more flexible, happy and zen.

"The yoga pose that you avoid the most you need the most."  Unknown

"Yoga aims to remove the root cause of all diseases, not to treat its symptoms as medical science generally attempts to do."  Swami Vishnu-devananda

 "Through the practices of yoga, we discover that concern for the happiness and well being of others, including animals, must be an essential part of our own quest for happiness and well being. The fork can be a powerful weapon of mass destruction or a tool to create peace on Earth."  Sharon Gannon

Friday, November 9, 2012


From top left: view from our hotel room in the morning, election dinner at my friend's place, lovely loft, catching up with Keli over dinner

This past week I returned to work for few days even the trains are still not running (Mon-Wed), but I've noticed that I just don't want to be there too much anymore. I feel transition has begun. I'm moving slowly away from this job. Tuesday we stayed in a hotel in Midtown due to the elections (husband had to work late). While he was working I enjoyed some delicious take-out from Blossom (seitan scallopini with mashed potatoes and sauteed kale) at my friend's place while watching the elections. Good times. And yum!

Since I've had so much free time lately I've been playing with iMovie. So here you go, another video. :) Have a great weekend!
P.S. Check out my article in Finnish women's magazine Sylvi!

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” ~Anne Frank

Thursday, November 8, 2012


 Not really a favorite, but worth mentioning (I think). Our office/storage/guest room's most important duty at the moment is to dry my yoga clothes and towels. One day we'll get all this crap out of here and take it to an actual storage facility so that we can utilize this room for other purposes than my stinky exercise gear...
 This is the best tea tree oil I've come across. I like Trader Joe's as well for the price, but Mason's is some strong stuff. I'm going to use it in my yoga mat spray (tutorial coming soon) and once a month for pimples when my skin breaks out. :)
 I'm never happy with my hair color so this is what I'm using next. I've tried this product before and remembering that the end result was good. Chocolaty... 
 I received this body scrub from Ivana Helsinki show and it is hands down the best smelling scrub I've ever tried. Vanilla, citrus and rose as well as highly moisturizing coconut oil (I love coconut oil) make this the best scrub I've ever tried. Simple, delicious ingredients: Coconut Oil, Cane Sugar, Sweet Almond Oil, Essential and Fragrance Oils, Soybean Oil, Vitamin E Oil, Honey. They are cruelty-, paraben- and sulfate-free. LOVE.
I love Theraneem's shampoos and conditioners and they're the ones that introduced me to the magical plant Neem first time ever. I've mentioned their products before here and this conditioner smells divine, is vegan, toxic-free and cruelty-free.