food stuffs in Finland

before we start, i’d like to say that this blog post is just for fun. i am definitely not an expert, especially since i’ve only lived here for 8 years, but this post is based on my own observation during that time.

so… if you’ve never been to Finland (okay, to be fair, i’m only going to talk about the metropolitan area: Helsinki and around it) and are planning to do so one day, you might be wondering how easy or hard it is to find food that you’re used to eating in your own country. well, here is a small guide for that.

in no particular order, the most common food served by restaurants/eating places that you can basically find in almost every corner of the street (not including fast food restaurants) are…

1. pizza place. the pizzas here are the thin crusted ones, though of course some places offer the pan pizzas as well. another trivia is that most of these pizza places also serve kebabs (or pizzas with all kinds of kebab toppings). yum! there are so many pizza places, and almost every week a new pizza place opens around your neighbourhood (we know this because they always send leaflet to our mail). it’s literally easier to find the nearest pizza place than the nearest McD’s.

2. Indian food. there are the “stop and go” kinds, small-ish places where they sell 9 or 10 different set meals, same meals everyday. there are also the more “serious” kinds, with pages of menu filled with different types of Indian delicacies. some of these more serious ones play actual Indian (or Bollywood) music/videos. as for the quality of the food, i have not yet tasted any bad ones in any of these places so far! also getting more common these days are Nepalese restaurants. just like pizza places, Indian & Nepalese restaurants are quite common, there’s bound to be one in every neighbourhood.

3. Tex Mex. okay, this one isn’t a “place”, but rather surprisingly it is so common that in every hypermarket, supermarket, or even smaller markets, there’s always an aisle or a minimum of a separate shelf devoted to Tex Mex. from the tortillas, salsa sauce, down to the guacamole dips of all kinds, they’re always there. i don’t think i saw any Tex Mex aisle/shelf in supermarkets elsewhere, but then again i haven’t been abroad that much, perhaps i’m wrong?

4. Chinese food. another common thing, like pizza places and Indian restaurants. although, for this one, i can’t say i’ve tried them that much, so i can’t tell if all of them are as good as the others, as is the case with the Indian food. and the funny thing is, at least lately, these Chinese restaurants also serve sushis. which brings us to number…

5. sushi place. when i first came to Finland for a visit, let me say that i can count the number of sushi restaurants available in this area with one hand. but now, ohhhh… it makes me so happy to find more and more new sushi place opening up here and there. as a sushi lover, i would strongly suggest though that you choose your sushi place wisely. making sure the place is clean is our number one rule, but then again Finland has quite a strict hygiene rule when it comes to restaurants. still, since what you’re eating are generally raw fish, it won’t hurt to be extra careful. i myself prefer going to sushi places where they serve the sushis fresh for the customer, but i admit i’ve also eaten at sushi buffets as well. i haven’t had a single problem with any of my sushi-eating experiences here.

6. vegetarian/vegan food. being a vegetarian/vegan is so common here that there are actually quite a few places that offer only vegan/vegetarian menu. there’s also always vegetarian/vegan menu in any restaurant, no matter how small or big the place is.

7. berries & peas (mostly in the summer). when it’s the season, small berry & pea marketplaces/kiosks start popping up here and there, all around the city. they are usually local products, and the prices are slightly more expensive than when you pick them up yourself in one of those “pick your own strawberries” fields. but unless you live near the countryside (like us), who has time for that, right? it’s such a treat to munch fresh strawberries and cherries in a long hot summer day, i can tell you that!

8. buns. mostly, of course, cinnamon buns, but you can find any other buns just about everywhere, too. a small bakery or cafe is much easier to find than, say, a doughnut place. (i know what you’re thinking, what’s the difference between a cafe and a doughnut place? if you have lived in a place where J Co doughnuts exists, believe me, you’ll know the difference.) even in very rare occasions that i happened to go to some local pubs, they served buns there. (but no doughnuts.)

and now for the rarest foods or non-existent ones…

1. fried chickens. yeah, you know, we have probably 2 places that say that they have fried chickens. but it’s not the same kind of fried chicken as a REALLY REAL FRIED CHICKEN. oh well. Finns have healthy eating habits, i get that. but i do miss them fried chickens. sniff.

2. wok food, Asian style. this is rare, though not non-existent. and out of the small few that are existing, only 1 counts as a real Asian style wok, in my opinion. it’s a small place, a “stop and go” kind that only sells 9 or 10 set menu, but the taste is so real Asian, i’m always transported immediately back to the streets of Jakarta whenever i eat there.

3. sea food, other than fish, served hot. there are of course plenty of fish dish here, and then there are the crayfish. as much as i love my salmons and crayfish, i must say… i miss eating grilled shrimps & squid, something i could easily get from a foodstall on the side of the road in Jakarta. actually, let’s just move on straight to number…

4. Indonesian restaurant. not entirely non-existent anymore, i’m happy to report, as there is one place that serves Indonesian food every Sunday (and i heard it’s good!). i actually know some Indonesian women here who cook so well, i have no doubt they would succeed if they start an open-everyday restaurant. i sometimes wonder why they don’t just go ahead and do it (come on, people!! i want to eat Indonesian food without having to cook them myself!). but this is a good start, right? it’s just too bad they only open on Sundays and i’m almost always at work. hope business is going well with them that they will consider opening on other days, too. 🙂

i’m getting quite hungry writing about these food (especially hungry for those food in the rare/non-existent list, ugh) and it’s past midnight, so i’m gonna call it a day. remember, this is just for fun and in no way meant to be taken seriously. just don’t go looking for fried chickens when you come visit Finland. opt for berries and buns instead! 😉

a different kind of paperdoll

when i was a kid, my sister & i had these special Japanese colouring books. they were otherwise normal colouring books, except that they were small (about 12 cm wide and 25 cm long), each page only consisted of 1 manga-style woman figure in certain positions, and each page were meant to be cut in 2 places (the cutting line were marked on the paper) exactly cutting apart the head, the torso + hands, and the legs. the idea was that we could mix and match the heads/hairstyles, clothes, and shoes that the woman figure on each page had. it was like a different kind of paper doll. and as a paper doll lover, you can probably imagine how much i loved those books. i could not properly colour them back then (i was probably younger than 5), but i liked flipping the pages randomly and got a random mix & match fashion tip of the day (or more like tip of the minute, since i did it ever so often!).

fast forward a few decades and i stumbled upon this book when i was in Amsterdam last year. it’s called Flip Fashion, illustrated by Lucille Clerc.

i was drawn to it because, well, i get easily drawn by anything that has to do with fashion illustration. when i opened it… it was exactly like that colouring book i had!! except that i don’t need to colour it anymore, ha! 😀 and instead of 3 parts, each page on this book has 4 parts. that’s more fun!

i didn’t immediately bought the book back then though… but i kept thinking about it, dreamed about it, because honestly, i missed playing with my old colouring book! so finally, a year later, i decided it was time to ‘spoil’ myself with it.

another difference is that this book has ‘labels’ on the left side of each page. but i’m not complaining. this was one of my first randoms: Romantic Ivy League Casual Countess.

and then there’s (left-right): Edgy Rodeo Anarchist Chick. next came Sixties Noir Fairytale It Girl. and lastly (for the day), meet Twenties Clubbing Classic Lolita.

i’ve got plenty more randoms, but i’m sure you get the idea already. 😀 this book is my new inspiration bible.

so, the verdict: if you love paper dolls, need fashion inspirations, like finding random things to do with your free time, love fashion illustrations, get this book. or, if you just like randomness, get this book.

i got mine from Book Depository for around 12€ (free shipping worldwide!), and i can personally guarantee you loads of fun.

odd shapes

last night i suddenly realized that i haven’t drawn anything for a while. i don’t mean just doodling, but “serious” drawing. last time i did it was i think at the end of year 2012. wow.

and to think that when i was younger, there was not a single day wasted without me drawing.

so i took a piece of paper and started drawing…. i may have become a bit rusty, but whatever.


as i drew this, i could hear my dad’s voice in my head, just as he did in reality many years ago when i was a child. he would criticize how i always draw people. human figures, nothing else, night and day. why couldn’t i draw something else?

i don’t know. nothing else interested me more than the human figures. i like drawing people doing anything and everything (hence i made lots and lots of comics back then), figuring out how a hand or leg looks from this and that angle, what is a possible pose for humans and what is impossible. and of course, i LOVE drawing the clothes. that was the cream of the cream for me, trying to decide what this figure would wear, and what that one would wear.

when i went to the manga course, my sensei often gave me comments on my drawings, like “oh, so trendy!”, because even when we were only supposed to practice drawing human figures from all directions (frontal, 3/4, and back), i made the extra effort to dress up the figures as i pleased. it made me happy that she encouraged me to give style and personality to my own characters by the clothes they wore.

when i went to the fashion illustration course, my mentor told me that i should explore the human figure poses more. back then i was always drawing the same old poses, and he told me to be brave, give stronger strokes & colours, and choose different poses, poses i’ve never done before. he was right, of course. in fashion, you are allowed to exaggerate the poses.

back to the drawing… i didn’t really have any specific theme in mind when i started it. but as i continued drawing, i felt like i wanted to try drawing “odd shaped”-clothings. well, not as odd shaped as some haute couture-kind of fashion, but things i’ve never tried to draw before. so there you have it. i used 2B pencil to draft it, pigment ink to trace the outlines, copic marker to colour the skin, and coloured the rest in Photoshop.

i wonder if my dad was actually disappointed that i never got in to Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) as he, my mum, and my sister did. (yep, they all went in there, and they all went to the Faculty of Visual Arts and Design! except me. :p) i was (am) the only one in the family that has never gotten a formal education in Design.

but then again, i wonder, if he sees this, will he still ask the same question as he did back then. or will he, finally, understands my passion?

wanted: new haircut idea

seriously. i feel like i’ve tried all sorts of haircut & style already. of course, not including those that i can’t go to work with. so no punk hairstyle or extreme colours for me right now.

i mean…


… i’ve tried going for curly hair. twice. and i’ve also had it straightened (when it was oh-so-trendy to get your already-straight hair to become even more straight. don’t ask). i’ve coloured my hair so many times in the past, it’s practically ruined so i’m not going for that anymore right now. i’ve had bangs. i’ve had super-short haircuts (accidental, but ended up okay). i’ve done asymmetrical haircuts. and also super symmetrical.

and now… i have NO IDEA what to do to my hair. meanwhile it’s growing ever so wild. i haven’t had it this long ever since i first moved here and didn’t want to pay a single dime for a haircut at a hairdresser. when it’s windy, it keeps going to my mouth, to my eyes, and basically just all over my face, it’s not funny and i just can’t stand it!

it’s time for me to cut it. and if it’s not too much to ask, i’d prefer cutting it myself. but how could i cut it when i don’t even know what style i’m going for??

so, help, please? anyone? 😥

colour therapy/inspiration, fall-winter 2014

this is probably the first time ever in my almost 8 years of living abroad that i’m excited about fall & winter. the reason? these beauties.

clockwise from top left: Marimekko Matsi tunic, Ikea PS 2014 storage table, Marimekko Toteemi fabric, COS Printed Round-Neck jakcet, COS Braided Loops necklace, Alexander Wang tunic, Valentino dress, Marimekko Trepp over-knee socks, Balenciaga sweater, & Other Stories Kaleidoscope ankle boots, Chanel mini flap bag, Chanel rainbow flap bag (okay, this one was actually from the spring-summer collection :p). pictures borrowed from the brands’ websites and

i added the Fazer Lakritsi (licorice) bag picture there just for fun, since i think it resembles the Valentino dress so much! 😀

i’m just happy to see colours for this coming season, and also the fact that handmade details are on-trend. i’d love to say that this collage is my wishlist, but some of these things are of course incredibly expensive that i don’t think i would ever get it even if i can afford it (since i’d rather use the money for something else). so instead i’m gonna treat this as my inspiration board. yeah, people use pinterest & instagram for that, but since i don’t use them then this blog will have to do!

my hope is to be able to implement these trends into my coming sewing projects, but before i rush out to buy new fabrics, i couldn’t help but notice that i might already have a few old self-made clothes that i can now re-use because of their similar colours/theme to the current trends.

like this old Marimekko overall i made in 2009.and this kaleidoscopic flower tunic i made in 2012.

and of course, the more recently sewn braided Tarot top (hey, it counts for “handmade detail”, though everything i sew is of course handmade :p).tarottopdetail2

can’t wait to see how other people will interpret the fall-winter 2014 trends. 🙂

being weird

Just Cavalli and 1920s-1930s womenswear for playing tennis. what do you get when you mix them together?



self-made T-shirt, second-hand knit skirt from UFF, Crocs ballerinas

i’m still on my long holiday, and my hair is getting ever so longer, and i want to cut it but i don’t know what style i want it to be, and it’s been so so SO hot here lately. hot and damp. so pardon me if i wanted to have a bit of fun and did something different with my face (and hair).

i heard that bleaching your eyebrows really make significant difference to your looks. i’m not ready for such a drastic change, so i opted for a safer way: putting concealer on my eyebrows. (so no worries, my eyebrows are intact!) i think what they said is true. my husband thought i looked scary with no eyebrows. well, good! at least it’s different.

when i met my niece Freya a few years ago, she was still a bit over 3,5 years old back then, there was a time when i put my hair up in a small ponytail. my hair was quite short that time, and i never put it up on a ponytail except for that time. my niece, upon seeing me, said, “you look weird!”. she said this in a good will, meaning no harm, and i understood that she meant that she had never seen me that way before. so i corrected her, “not weird, just different.” after that, i went on giving her a small speech about how being different is not the same as weird, and that being different is a good thing. i’m sure she didn’t really understand it as she was still so small, but nonetheless, i think these days different things don’t make her say “that’s weird!” anymore. 😀

now about this sewing project. let me begin by telling you how happy i was when i was able to get this fabric for such a bargain! it has a tiny faulty, so it became a lot cheaper than the original price, but i can guarantee you, it’s authentic Just Cavalli fabric.


yep, it’s real!

it was a small piece, yet again, probably around 70 cm. it’s a crepe polyester fabric, so it has a bit of stretch in it.

while i could’ve gone for a safer & easier choice like a skirt, i of course decided that i want to make a shirt out of it. and not just any old shirt. i wanted it to have cut-out details and to combine it with this tulle fabric, just to jazz it up a little.

and of course what happened next was a disaster. i couldn’t figure out how to make the cut-out holes nicely without doing so much work over and over again, and after struggling to finish it for 2 days, i finally left the project untouched for about a month. i got so depressed and lost all my confidence in sewing altogether, thinking that if i can’t make this simple shirt, how would i ever be a good seamstress?? and another thing is that i’m the kind of person who just can’t seem to move on when i encounter an obstacle. i like doing things in order, so when i was stuck with this project, i couldn’t even start a new sewing project, because i felt like i just had to finish this one first. :p now THAT’S weird.

but last week, i took a deep breath and finally took this project out from the closet again. i re-worked it as best as i could, stitched some of them by hand, and finally now it’s done.


the cut-out holes are just how i wanted them to be.

i didn’t use any pattern for this, of course. just cut the fabric, sew, and when it failed (it happened multiple times with this one) i improvised as best as i could.

i have no idea how the hand-stitches are going to withstand the washing, but whatever. i’ll think about those problems later. right now, i want to celebrate the weirdness!



cavalli3PS. if you’re wondering why my face looked shiny in the pics, that’s because i was so sweaty during this shoot. if you must know, in our balcony, the temperature was 38C at the moment of the shoot, and the sun was shining directly to my direction.

PPS. the collage of pictures on the topmost of this post are made of images that do not belong to me, only borrowed from other websites for my personal use.


the stranger’s dog etiquette

i can not express this more often than i already did, but here i go again: i just LOVE dogs. whatever dog it is, whenever i see one, i would squeal and hold my breath (to keep myself from squealing furthermore).

i LOVE it when people bring their dogs when they go to my workplace, i LOVE it when they bring their dogs to the public transport, i LOVE spying on my neighbours as they walk their dogs out… yeah, i know, i might sound a bit scary. but i can’t help it!

ever since i moved to this new place, i’ve seen quite a lot of neighbours with dogs. there’s one that has a big wolfy looking dog, another one has 2 very small dogs (that often fall on their sides from pulling the owner so hard and the owner pulled their leashes back… they’re too light that even the slightest pull make them fall!), another one has a barky-barky-bark-all-the-time small dog… for safety & security reasons, i can’t really tell you their breeds, but it’s all the same to me anyway: they’re all cute dogs! ❤

we (me & husband) always give our own nicknames to these dogs, since we don’t really know what their names are. the big wolfy one is the big kind wolf, the 2 very small dogs are the clumsy clowns, the barky dog is the coward (because it just keeps barking without actually acting out). there’s also the energetic dog, the fluffy dog, the Muppet dog (because it looks like a Muppet!). yes, we’re a bit crazy about dogs.

and then there’s this one very cute & curious dog. i see it (and the owner) every second day when i go to work, or sometimes when i go home from work, and some other times we would see them when we go shopping nearby. so many times we’ve passed each other, and almost every time, this cute dog always came to us as if it wanted to say hello. and just as many times we just walked by it without stopping, because… we have no idea how the stranger’s dog etiquette work!

i know that some dog owner wouldn’t mind a stranger petting their pet, but some actually do mind it. and if i ask the owner nicely, if i may pet it, how can i trust myself that i can then let the dog go??? and how do you end this petting session anyway??? LOL, so many things go in my mind when i want to pet some stranger’s dog, i end up never doing it!

i really, REALLY, want to pet this cute & curious dog, especially because it always seems expectant and waiting to be pet. as i said, this cute dog always came towards us when we were passing by, and then it actually stopped near us, almost as if waiting to see if we were going to FINALLY give it a brush, but we always just kept on walking (though i must’ve looked like i nearly died from holding back my squeal & at the same time smiling so big towards the dog). these last few times, i always also tried to look at the owner to see how she reacted, and it seemed as if she would actually give a green light if i were to ask if i may pet the dog, since i think she also remembers who we are by now from passing us by so many times. but how could i REALLY know?

so friends, strangers, ANYONE, please tell me, what is the correct etiquette for petting a stranger’s dog? or a stranger’s pet, any pet at all? what would you, a pet owner, expect a stranger to say when asking for permission, and also how would you end the session??