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! 😉

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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.

Flip Fashion: The Mix'n'match Lookbook

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.

flipfash1another 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.

flipfash2

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.

PS. the cover picture is borrowed from Book Depository page.

PPS. i am most certainly not paid to do this review. 😀 just wanna share the 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.

oddshapessmall

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…

hairsoveryears

… 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? 😥

song of the moment

this song has made it to the number one hit here this past summer, and since i don’t keep up with the latest music ever, i’ve only just heard of it now.

the one that became number one hit is the remix version, which, says Wikipedia, is actually done without permission from the band, Lilly Wood & The Prick. just like the rest of the world, this remix version was also the one i heard first. after searching for it, i finally stumbled upon the original version. the band itself is a duo from France, and their music genre is said to be “alternative, pop, & folk”.

although i much prefer the original version, i must say i’m glad Robin Schulz made a remix of it. without the remix that made the song ever so popular, i wouldn’t have ever known about the existence of this band.

and actually, i don’t mind the remix version. it gets me going when i’m sewing, so that’s a good thing! the original version is nicer to listen to when i’m in need of a relaxing time.

listen to both versions to decide for yourself!

Prayer in C – Lilly Wood & The Prick (original version)

Ya, You never said a word
You didn’t send me no letter
Don’t think I could forgive you

See our world is slowly dying
I’m not wasting no more time
Don’t think I could believe you

Ya, our hands will get more wrinkled
And our hair it will be grey
Don’t think I could forgive you

And see the children are starving
And their houses were destroyed
Don’t think they could forgive you

Hey, when seas will cover lands
And when men will be no more
Don’t think you can forgive you

Ya when there’ll just be silence
And when life will be over
Don’t think you will forgive you

PS. i do not own the videos, songs, nor the lyrics. i just borrowed them for personal use.

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.colortherapyinspiration

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 Style.com.

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. 🙂

oldies, but not that old

it’s been raining quite a lot here in Finland for the past week, but believe me, after continuous heat for more than a month, i for once am not complaining!

whenever it rains, my mind goes back to the past. when i was small, rain was something nice. until one day, i forgot how old i was, but i was still pretty small, i woke up and felt water on my hand that was hanging down from bed (i was sleeping on the lower bed, the kind that you pull out from under the other bed, where my sister slept. so my hand was practically on the floor). i was so startled that i called my mum right away. it turned out that our house got flooded. unfortunately, our house was not the only one that got flooded. perhaps thousands of other houses in Jakarta these days get flooded every year, so really… it’s not that big of a deal anymore.

so, ever since that time, and many more floods afterwards, i always associate rain with panic. panicking for yet another flood that will hit our house, for yet another thing i would have to say goodbye to if the flood was that bad and washed away some book or drawings that accidentally got left on the floor. for cleaning up in the aftermath. gone were the days when i could just relax and fall asleep while listening to the raindrops.

all that changed when i moved here. now i can just calmly see the rain from our balcony, no matter how hard the rain is. i can even just go to bed with no worries that flood will come to our house. except that now i can’t hear the raindrops at all from our bedroom, thanks to the thick Finnish home windows. 😀 ah well, it’s a problem easily solved when i open the window, so, again, i’m not complaining!

but still, rain brings back old memories. and as my mind goes back, my head starts to play tunes from the past as well. i don’t mean old songs like from before i was born, of course, but those that accompanied me while i grew up back home. Indonesian songs from the 90s, to be precise.

as always, when i’ve heard the tunes too many times inside my own head, it’s time for me to let it out here in my blog. so here they are, some of my nostalgic tunes.

PS. none of these videos nor songs are mine, neither am i claiming them to be. they belong to the artists, i just borrowed the links from YouTube for my personal use.