Wednesday, December 13, 2017

hello time out, i need you

kränku tea calendar, 2017

These past few days I've experienced stress symptoms I've not known or heard of before. And as they are pretty scary, but as I've understood not uncommon and luckily harmless, I still see them as a warning sign to take a step back.

I will stick my neck out a bit and say it doesn't fill me with joy to put in a lot of hours of hard work above and beyond, where you're basically taken for granted, don't get the least bit of positive feedback from client. Or engagement, trust and much needed mandate. I don't even have the energy to be angry and frustrated anymore. I'm just tired. Jaded.

No matter how much I appreciate my Dream Team and all the amazing things they are, have done and do, the fun we've had (and hopefully will continue to have) I also feel there's only as much that can be done, since the project situation seems endlessly complicated in layers upon layers. I'm open to major changes for the better, but I'm also realist enough to see that most likely will not happen.

I'll of course continue to do everything I've signed up for, because that's the only right and professional thing to do, for the time set. But I'm putting my firm foot down now and setting my limits. I'm still not a serf. None of us are.

What started as a passion project, that gave a lot of energy and fun has turned into something energy draining. An uphill struggle of Sisyphean proportions. Like wading in treacle. I've lost my sparkle. Not in general, never, but for this.

It's just not productive to work with seemingly grown up people who can't treat others with decency, trust, respect and at least a moderate amount of appreciation.

Also. It isn't really nice to find yourself in a situation that brings about too much grump, anger, frustration and annoyance. It's just utterly tiresome. Stressful and unproductive. Thank goodness for the "grounded in happiness" personality. Still, when you loose your much enjoyed, loved mojo and feeling of such fun within a certain situation, it's so darn difficult to get it back knowing it would take so much change from other people than yourself. And you can only be responsible for your own change.

My reaction has been building up during the autumn, the only reason it hasn't reached its boiling point until now is the team. But now it has and there's no point denying it. It has been an amazing journey. Learnt so much, had such fun. I will still put in my hours, but unless something drastically positive happens I will not see this as a part of a longterm puzzle for goodness. Just a job I signed up for, nothing more, nothing less. And my passion belongs somewhere else.

I have no idea how this will unfold in the weeks to come, it's Christmas and New Year's, which most always is another excuse to not take responsability for anything but the holidays. And I say that without the least bit of Grinch, just establish a fact of December life.

My coming weeks will be revolving around other clients and jobs that don't fill me with this much frustration and stress reactions (and sadness because of all the obvious awesomeness, perfection, action that could, should happen here but doesn't because of the above reasons).

And while I'm in the process of analyzing myself, my feelings and reactions, putting my (happy shoes clad) feet down, setting boundaries this has also made me scrutinize how and what I want the pink vegan meringue situation to evolve into. Yes, I trust my instinct, yes I trust the process, I know it's right despite the oddness of it all. But this week has been even more confusing. And the first step will not be mine, it will be welcome, necessary, but not mine. Just so you know. I will leave it up to you to figure that one out. I'm sure you can. To talk, listen, ironing things out a bit. Life is precious. And much shorter than we think.

Or we could just back down to neutral gear. Keep it short and unsweetened. There's always that option. To be honest, I'm not even sure this delightful, unexpected, pink, vegan meringue situation give me energy anymore. Oh, I don't know. Feeling a bit lost, free falling. I just wish life, this, could be less complicated and more straight forward. What's meant to be will be. Life has a special talent for sorting these things out.

Today was also the Lucia Day in Sweden. In a winter wonderland. With icy streets. The only celebration I did was having the above cup of tea calendar love tea and a sweet breakfast with a friend. I haven't even baked this year's first batch of lussebullar (insert a face in utter shock). And I also had a really nice lunch with a LinkedIn-contact, who happens to live in my suburb.

And while I waited for her outside the restaurant today I noticed a little ol' lady with a walker coming my way. Suddenly I realised she had stopped in front of me. Thought she was having a rest or wanted to ask something so I smiled at her. And she said the sweetest thing "I just want to say that you are so cute. One gets happy by looking at you. Yes really cute." (I wore my fabulous happy coat number 1.) Oh thank you so much, how sweet of you to say so! True story. Apparently I appeal to the old folks of my suburb, remember the older gentlemen who complimented me in another sweet, unexpected way a couple of months ago. With all the things above going on, I needed this. The unexpected sweetness from a random stranger.

It's a funny thing, that when you get complimented by senior citizens on the looks, outfits, exterior features it's endearing and appreciated. It makes me happy, in an uncomplicated way. But if it is by people closer to my own age, if it isn't a very casual 'great dress, cute blouse, fab shoes' I so prefer to be complimented for my accomplishments, values and quirky intellect. Even if it's an incomprehensibly intellectual one.

From stress reactions, grump galore to the sweetness of unexpected compliments. Getting things written down, thoughts sorted, in blog public, is always liberatingly cathartic.

Hello, time out, much needed, we will get along swell, I'm sure. Tea and candles galore.

kränku tea calendar, 2017

Friday, December 08, 2017

the midnight falafel and other stories

fabulastic original drawing by jessica ritar, finally mine, december 2017

The downside of not blogging as much anymore is that you have an awful lot to write about once you do. So I thought I'd start with the above original drawing that I'd coveted for some time and which is now finally mine. I've always loved the quote "I'm incomprehensibly intellectual", had it for years on my travel card protective sleeve, which makes me smile whenever I use it. When I saw this drawing on Instagram a few months ago I knew it was meant to be.

The hair, the glasses, the slightly raised eyebrows, the not wanting to be in the picture, simply me. When it came on sale last week I went for it. Made by talented Jessica Johansson, @jessicaritar on Instagram, you can get both original drawings and prints (with a feminist vibe) in her shop plus she makes special orders. I'll get a frame soon and put it in pink office.

the tribe (fantastic dig sculptures by christina rosén), stockholm, sweden, december 2017
My spirit animal, much fiercer than she looks.

And continue to be incomprehensibly intellectual. Seeing connections where very few seem to understand. The oddball seemingly living in a parallell world not really getting people and the way they behave. Hello Weltschmerz. Some days more than others. And now and then you find people you vibe with, they get you and you get them. Then everything is alright in this world, that can be both beautiful and magical.

falafel at midnight, årstiderna organic food box, december 2017

Talking about odd balls, say hello to my first ever homemade from scratch falafels! My midnight falafels. Because being a vegan food ambassador this time of the Swedish year means you have to get cooking at very odd hours in order to be able to take pictures in the few hours of daylight you hopefully get. Thus at midnight the other day I cooked these so I could take pictures in the morning before I left for meetings. I think they turned out really well for a first time. Not really sure I will ever make the again though, I find the deep frying to be scary stuff, rapeseed oil is good for you, but the actual frying in a big pot with oil, creepy. And despite the kitchen fan the whole house reeked with the frying for a few days afterwards. But it was a great new experience, the process to make your very own falafels.

stockholm, sweden, december 2017 - christmas lights

Almost 2 years ago I signed up for a mentor/friendship programme for people new to Sweden, via Kompis Sverige. Never heard anything from them, I had important wishes about vegetarianism and non religiousness. I guess that sadly can be a tricky thing to match. However, now it has happened! I got a call a few weeks ago, and met my new friend via the programme this week. She's a vegetarian teacher from China. We talked about food, culture, philosophy, books, sustainability, you know, all awesome topics. Next time she wanted to see where I lived as child, so we'll take a walk around the now very hipster parts of Hornstull, Sodermalm ~

my keyboard is currently all wonky, I blame a certain cat for sitting on it when I turned my back. Be as that may, despite having looked through the internetz for a solution the Swedish letters and some symbols remain lost. Such a nuisance, that I will have to look into for real of course. I miss the precious dots over A, A, O. ~

which was nothing hipster whatsoever back then. Looking forward to learn about a culture so very different from ours, talk more about philosophy, books, life and plantbased food. And show the gems of Stockholm.

food stockholm, december 2017 -

Next week I'll rekindle with the career coach for international talents assignment ~ with a slightly changed client, which for some reason gave me new business cards, and spelled my name correctly without asking, life's little miracles ~ it will be good to do something hands on that can give great results for individuals and society within a reasonably short amount of time.

the tribe (fantastic dig sculptures by christina rosén), stockholm, sweden, december 2017

I think I've showed these quirky, adorable dog characters in blog before, but now in another context. When I stopped to take a picture of them the other day I realised that they remind me a lot of my team, in the most hilariously endearing way of course. Unfortunately I didn't find anyone who symbolized me so aptly.

the tribe (fantastic dog sculptures by christina rosén), stockholm, sweden, december 2017

But when I walked past the shop again later in the week I saw the above little sad, pensive dog though, which I immediately saw as my spirit animal. By her side was this grinning character. And that's me too, both sad and happy, brooding and proudly content. Passion and fierceness hidden behind a calm, innocent exterior.

If they weren't so expensive, which I think is quite right given all the work and talent that obviously have gone into making them (sculptor's name is Christina Rosen), I'd possibly buy them all. But also if I had that kind of money lying around I'd much rather get a shelter dog or two to love and care for. Plus my home isn't really that kind of stylish home that would make the perfect backdrop for these larger than life sculptures. So I settle for them making me very happy whenever I pass the gallery windows. And I got a few postcards of them. Also they have some limited lithographies of the characterful dogs, within a less daunting price range. And you should support local artists, in anyway you can.

vegan dinner and moctails, surfers stockholm, sweden,  december 2017 -

Apart from meetings and work I also had the pleasure to meet up with a friend via Twitter ~ Instagram ~ LinkedIn (social media, such a great source for meeting really good, interesting people, whom you can officially stalk to get to know) for vegan dinner at a restaurant I hadn't visited yet but had been on my Yelp~list for ages, Surfers. Nothing to do with surfing (except the interior) but food from the Sichuan province of China. A lot of spices and flavours. And delightful coctails and moctails too. I'm a lunch, brunch, fika kind of gal, not drinks and dinner, but when I on the odd occasion meet for dinner it's really lovely.

vegan dinner and moctails, surfers stockholm, sweden,  december 2017 -

I was going to write a few words on music, marketing, work, photography, Stockholm and Christmas time of the year too. But I do believe I've reached my self~appointed blogpost quota. There's always a next time for that.

I will however touch briefly on the pink vegan meringue~situation, which continues to obfuscate as well as delight me, and honestly, frustrate. If it was possible to just sit down and talk this through, find out more, I'm certain it would make complete and perfect sense. But as things would have it, it's factually impossible. Currently. Well, I said it was complicated in all sorts of ways, didn't I? And it's kind of typically me to find myself in a situation like this, not that I've experienced anything like it before, not at all. It's just the oddness, serendipitiousness, complicatedness of it that seems very me somehow. In the meantime I'm having many fascinating, illuminating conversations about the status with myself over a cup of tea in the company of cats. As one incomprehensibly intellectual naturally does.

Friday, December 01, 2017

hello december

kränku tea calendar 2017 - 40 years jubilee
Kränku tea advent calendar of 2017 - whatever did you do all through December before you found this brilliance?

Feels like pretty much every month this year calls for a "gosh, really gosh, where did the month go??". December first is no exception. I mean, only a few shivering weeks left of this year, how did that happened? How is it even physically possible?

After 2016 being one of my life's worst years, 2017 turned out to have been one of my best. Not without struggles, roadbumps and backlashes, since life isn't meant to be that way. But all and all, a year full of amazing insights and personal growth, great jobs, fantastic people - my tribe! - conversations, laughters. If last year was more about tears than laughter, taking a day at a time, surviving, this year has been more about laughter than tears. Momentum and moving forward. Pieces of the puzzle falling in to place in seemingly serendipitous ways. The best kind of way.

And there's still one lovely month left, if you can see past the glaring consumerism, people's silly self-imposed stress, gluttony and food waste of December, it's a pretty cosy month. When you can light lots of candles, listen to Christmassy music, drink copious amounts of tea and the odd glühwein, eat vegan lussebullar - just realised I haven't posted the vegan recipe of them yet, but it's very similar to this old one, just omit the quark, dairy and egg and use oat milk instead - and just be.

Admittedly the lack of daylight and sun these past few weeks - with global warming there's less snow and with that darker days - with it getting dark at 1 pm already (I kid you not) have turned me into a semi-zombie state. And it's pretty awful. There's only as much as vitamin D supplements and an overall healthy lifestyle can do to beat that. I basically fall asleep in the sofa in front of the TV every evening, completely tied down by a gazillion cats who think I'm the best human heater in the whole wide world. And I'm so darn cold all the time, because even if it's not very low winter temperatures these days (around +/-0 C) there's some crazy clammy nastiness indoors that not even the heat pump can completely beat. I bundle up like the Michelin man and try keeping busy. Dancing helps too.

On the topic of music I've been listening a lot to Cock Robin lately. Had forgot how much I adored them in my late teens. Looking at the videos is quite embarrassing, incomprehensible and daft like videos from the 80-90ies were. Were they even cool back then? And then there's the fashion, the hair styles. Oh dear. But the tunes have aged well I think. The singer's voice is still amazing, the sense of melancholy and sense of urgency is irresistable (even if he looks like he's going to wet his pants any minute. Watch this video for proof of that.) But as a thumb rule, you should never ever watch videos from the 80ies because they always completely destroy the magic of the music.

As it is December I thought I'd make a little summary of how many of the personal and professional goals I did reach this year. On the personal, merely two, but at least the best two. The skin condition and the new recipe every week. The skin condition, which is not back to normal but still so much better. Stress and worry are most probably a big reason behind it all, and with working a lot with that this year it has at least improved conciderably. Also I believe all that sun bathing past summer played a part of improvement. Plus possibly the recent addition of the Dermalogica Ultracalming serum to my skin regime.

And the try new recipes, well I have the vegan food ambassador gig to thank for that of course. Who knew such a thing would appear late in the year and help me with a personal goal? And the three personal goals I haven't ticked, they have been replaced with other things instead. The grief recovery process trumps everything, it has been worth its weight in many chests of gold.

As far as professional goals are concerned I'm happy to report that I've ticked them all. I may not "commute to work every day", but some days I "commute" so much more instead.

Looking forward to setting meaningful goals for next year. It will be fun. Especially when you see great results from previous year.

Last but not least, when someone you haven't known for a long time seems to know you a little bit better than you know yourself. And by that also pushes you outside your comfort zone. How do you react? Of course there isn't one easy for all answer to that. As it falls in the category of pink vegan meringues - which I've come to think of as an analogy for how much humans complicate things - my reaction now is a whirlwind of emotions, bewilderment being one of them. I don't know how it even is possible, as I don't concider myself an open book. Surely not, not even if you read this blog. Nah, obviously I'm an enigma wrapped in a mystery caught in a riddle.

Yet the fact that someone has managed to decipher me, challenge me, unlock things that have apparently been dormant, it does make perfect sense. It has after all been a year of constant revelations. And as one of my best decisions of 2017 has been to trust the process, I'm doing that in this case too. It's not easy to stop being my impatient self, but it is quite liberating. And as I did make a promise to myself last year, one that I'm not about to break, something I have only told one person, it's easier to be patient, intuitive, curious and a dash pious.

It is after all my Latin derived name. Not a name in accord with my personality, but that makes it just a little more... entertaining and easier to emotionally deal with meringue-wise. Which is more... interesting than being boring. Since it's equally important to be both serious and fun, to grow, but I refuse to be boring. Both on the personal and professional arena.

Welcome, dear December, please be as awesome and amazing as you possibly can be.

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

Sunday, October 29, 2017

leaky roof but lucky me

a question of happiness, october 2017 - me myself and i a gazillion years ago
Little Pia, many many many years ago. Much loved, summer tanned and snazzy dressed.

The birthday, which I decided to this year acknowledge in the most unassuming way turned out to be just that. As well as a day of both highs and lows.

Pouring rain (just like last year). Season inauguration of fabulous happy coat II (just like last year). When I got home late afternoon prepared to have a cosy rest of the day in the sofa with some feelgood movies and plenty of vegan snacks I was greeted with a drip drip drip from one of the rooms. A room which I have grand plans for but which is still just a storage room for shoes and lots of stuff of all sorts.

The sight that met me was a leaky roof, wet things and mouldy shoes. Yes, shoes with mould. Fine fine shoes with mould. Needless to say a horrible sight from ceiling to floor. I managed to restore and save all shoes but one pair (only a cheap pair of trainers), but a few of them were basically new and will not look the same alas.

I contacted the insurance company the next day. Turned out my insurance lacks the cover for leaky roofs. Hooray. A friend's brother recommended a roofer so I'm hoping he can have a look as soon as possible and of course that it doesn't look too terrible, will be too costly. That there's at least some quick fix emergency way to mend the leak and that given the cold time of year any possible larger jobs can wait for spring season.

This was just what I needed. Not.

When things like this happens I feel fragile, get the sensation of free falling. And then I get angry at myself for those feelings, because after coming so far in this +1,5 year of course I will fix this problem too. Lived in this house for almost 16 years and been so lucky with not having to deal with any major building issues, it was bound to happen sooner or later. And everything will be alright.

After fretting about the poor roof for a while I got a notification for the sweetest surprise post on LinkedIn - "Happy birthday, Pia, you're a true star! We're so honoured to be working with you!" from my team, the Dream Team. And the other guy added "You're amazing and a joy to work with." Can I say again that I work with the best kind of people now? Yes I can.

And it got me thinking that what is a nasty, costly, leaky roof in the big scheme of things when you're fortunate enough to be working with this kind of people? Leaky roof, but lucky me.

Fingers crossed for a problem solving, productive and overall awesome week to come. A week when it's already time to say goodbye October, hello November. 

Monday, October 23, 2017

hello teamwork, you are kind to me

oh october, 2017 -

Exactly a year ago I had just returned back home from Schwarzwald and an amazing week of growth and insight, where I marvelled, laughed, cried and ate amazing vegan food. I still haven't written a proper post or two about it, but one of these days...

The trip I wanted to take for this year's birthday won't happen. And I'm thinking it's fine to save that for when I have something real to celebrate, some accomplishment, not just the fact that I've survived another year. So I've decided I will spend the day in solitude, acknowledging how far I've come this past 1+ year and mapping out where I want to be in a year from now. Go for a long walk, think and enjoy the amazing colours October offers. Anything but being social with anyone but myself.

Then suddenly forecast says it will be raining cats and dogs (sadly not literally) on Wednesday so now I'm thinking a plethora of vegan snacks and watching feelgood movies in the sofa, covered by cats, all day would be the way to go. Just being kind to myself and anything but birthday-ish.

Because I desperately need to be kind to myself right now. Partly because as much as I love what I'm working with these days, these past few months, I'm exhausted. I've realised that it has been such intense times. A lot of new people to relate too, new working tools, new clients, adjusting to demands and expectations, and in some cases not having enough background information, meetings, pitches, talks, lunches and networking. And being an intro/ambivert those things take a lot of energy, even when it's inspiring and great. Partly because home related issues.

Too much of the good things. Throw in some bad things and hello there exhaustion. Before the weekend I got some news about an upcoming job meeting which got my gut feeling alarm bells chiming loudly. To cut a long story short I'd much rather have a gastroscopy than attend that meeting, but since I'm the only one based in Sweden in the Dream Team, I didn't feel I could say no. I mean, I've grown so much this past 1+ year so of course I could do it, I'm a professional, I'm great, I'm competent, I'm convincing, I'm unlimited. Etc. Even if I also felt, to be honest, I/we were caught up in something that wasn't our issue to deal with.

Then we had a talk today, we the Dream Team, and the guy in England said he will fly over for the meeting "because Pia needs the support." And I was simply blown away by that kind offer or rather matter of fact statement. If I cried a bit out of gratitude and relief afterwards? Of course I did. Have I mentioned that I work with really good people now?

Still have other, potentially heavy things, to deal with on my own. But just the fact that I don't have to deal with that gut feeling alarm bells meeting on my own is just such a relief. United front of competence, strengths that compliment each other and more voices of reason. Just what I wanted but didn't feel I could ask for.

And admittedly I don't like to ask for help. I'm no damsel in distress, without issues when it comes to showing weaknesses. Strong and independent, that's what I am, need to be. But I've come to realise that asking for help is also a sign of strength. That noone knows and can do everything (obviously) on their own all the time. And that our weaknesses is what make us human. And also strong.

But that sometimes strength comes in numbers. That is something I most certainly learnt through the grief recovery process. Not always easy to apply and accept in your daily life, when stress is involved and expectations are confusing though. So someone taking a very practical and sensible approach, when your gut feeling screams beware, is simply very welcomed.

And I wasn't even stressed that someone offered a kind helping hand, I won't even argue the environmental issue about flying, just being grateful that someone was able to read between the lines. I do believe my mind has evolved since I was so stressed out by a drive offer to the station four months ago.

Sometimes you just have to accept a kind offer. And it is after all what teamwork should be about, having eachother's backs. Next time it's my turn to offer help where help is needed, to read between the lines.

oh october, 2017 -

Sunday, October 15, 2017

the shining light

shoe per diem, october 2017 -

I'm afraid I've turned into one of those awful persons that is some kind of positivity beacon, in a sometimes very bleak world. But to be honest it can't be helped, because life right now feels pretty amazing. And as the recent quote "Take responsability for the energy you put out into the world", really stroke a cord in me I'm taking that quite literally.

And while I'm far from a Facebook fan (to but it very mildly, I'd rather use a four letter word here, but let's keep a civil tone) and basically use it for sharing articles about environmental issues, animal rights, feminism and equality plus cute animal videos and never anything really personal. Sharing personal stuff I mostly do face to face, texts or in emails. But guess what, as this past week has been even more of an emotional whirlwind than the one before that, not all without hurdles and stress but overall so awesome, I've posted several updates of unexpected things, conversation and random meetings that has touched me and made me go all warm and fuzzy.

Here goes - I apologize in advance because this might be quite sickly sweet to read, but I'm just amazed, happy and ever so grateful to experience this. Pure magic as far as I'm concerned. And if you who've said and done this happen to read this, thanks again. Gold. -

I've never had a great need of confirmation, a simple thank you as a sign of appreciation will usually do. Even if it's nice to get a little praise now and then. But to actually work with people that not only says thanks regularly but also, you're brilliant, such a star, magic lady, you're fantastic, you're in charge and so forth that's certainly different. And pretty darn lovely. It does make you work even harder to outperform yourself. Or just being yourself with extra oomf.

And it also is an eye opener, because I've come to realise that I've actually been professionally under stimulated for a very long time, with bursts of joy for various projects, but nothing like this. And that I've in parts settled to be happy enough and grateful for those bursts. While I in fact want it all, but haven't been able to find the right context, the right people.

But, lo and behold, I do believe I have now. And not that I want to overuse the word gratitude, but, well... It's nothing short than miraculous that we've clicked so incredibly well in such a short (and incredibly intense) time, compliment eachother so well. Working hard towards a common goal, a colourful (literally) environmental case of David vs Goliath. The raw energy in this teamwork is simply gold worth.

I'm thinking a lot about if you say or write things for the world to see and hear, what you want, and need, they will come (and it doesn't have to be a baseball court). Law of attraction. Things happen when they are meant to. Meetings too. Synchronicity is real. (But I still prefer the synonym serendipity.) And as I think I've touched upon before, most of us live too busy and stressed lives and aren't open enough to actually see how real this is.

And it's only through really devastating things we begin to see things and life for what it really is, can be, should be. And that's magic. We create our own magic, if we are open enough.

This by no means mean that life not will continue to be rough, full of bumps and heartaches, from here on now and then. That's just life. But if we know that magic, the truly good stuff and people, exist too, it's easier to cope and get through. When the going gets tough, the strong get growing.

Back to my amazing week, as I wrote in the last post I wasn't sure if a content project I accepted would be worth it financially vs time put in. I'm still not. But I'm surprised at how great it was to work with a finicky editor. My main flaw in the feedback was that I'm writing in too dry a style, not enough warmth and humour - clearly we're not talking about my blog here

But yes, I know, one of the articles was on such a dry and un-engaging topic, that little lawyer I jumped in and wrote for dear life. But overall, great and not least useful feedback. And as he said, things can be worse than writing in too dry a style, too many writers write in a sloppy, trivial way and obviously can't spell. And that's clearly so much worse than being a dry lawyer at heart.

Next up on the list of heartwarming, little things that happened during the week that was;

I was waiting for the train at the station when a stranger walked up to me (an older gentleman) and said "I just want to say that not many people measure up to you." It was so incredibly touching. I guess it was because of my always colourful outfit. But whatever reason, such a darling thing to do! Shared on Facebook, and I have to say, the concurring compliments keep coming. People  can be so sweet. Love and kindness is in the air.

Dare to compliment. It doesn't cost a thing, but a bit of courage. And it can make someone's day.

And then by the end of the week it was time for the first big meeting with client in the above mentioned passion  project. I was both looking forward to and dreading it a bit, because of hurdles regarding trust. I expected some tough talks on said issue, things that needed to change and future strategy. 

But you know what, it was a brilliant day. Powerful, inspiring, productive and fun. With some people I hadn't met before - remote work only - yet it felt like the most natural thing to finally meet. And I was told by the client that I go by the nick name 'Magic Pia' - I mean, seriously, how lovely is that?! And who knew that something I was part of 13 years ago, another tough time in my life, would cross roads with this work today...

It's a great artisan eco-paint company, truly amazing, high quality product and why story. They deserve every success and the world desperately need their products. I'm just blessed to be working with them, and not least our fantastic little marketing team of three. Fun bit is that the CEO was so inspired by the bobbaloos and Sonny Angels that most always appear when food appears before me, that he wanted them in their product pictures too. Clearly he's a man of impeccable taste. So perhaps that will be a new trend from here on.

Then on Friday evening I got a text from the sales director - who's a really fabulous woman with some unexpected features I learnt about when we drove to lunch, features that made us click even more - saying "I'm completely in love with all your pictures on Instagram! Oh you are so great, have an awesome weekend! Hugs" - you can see how it's not a mystery that I'm feeling all warm and fuzzy after this week, right? That special feeling is all around. And I'm simply incredibly grateful (sorry) happy about it all. 

I think the grief recovery process started a really serious shift in thinking for me. Opened up channels I was only vaguely aware of before that. I will not say the G-word again, but really...

Dearest October, do continue to be this amazing,
I love you something extra special for it this year.

Friday, October 13, 2017

vegan cinnamon buns

vegan cinnamon buns, october 2017 (kanelbullens dag)

Delivering on my promise to share the recipe for the fabulous vegan cinnamon buns I baked for Kanelbullens Dag (Cinnamon Bun Day).

The recipe says it'll make for 40 buns, but I only got 25 and they weren't even that big. But really good just the same.

Plantbased kanelbullar

50 g fresh yeast
5 dl oat milk
150 g dairy free butter, room temperature
0,5 tsp salt
1 dl casting sugar
2 tsp grounded cinnamon (can be omitted, but why go there?)
~ 14 dl wheat flour

Filling:

0,5 - 1 dl icing sugar (found that 0,5 was perfect if you're like me, not too fond of very sweet buns)
2-3 tbsp grounded cinnamon
100 g dairy free butter

pearl sugar or almond/hazelnuts (chopped)

Melt the butter and milk in a pot to 37C. Crumble the yeast into the food processor bowl (or a big bowl if you plan on doing by hand) and pour some of the milk/butter to stir to dissolve the yeast. Add the rest of the liquid, cardamom, sugar and salt. Add almost all of the flour (you'll need some for the baking) and work it until dough is smooth and lovely.

Let the dough rise under a baking cloth in room temperature for about 30 minutes.

Then knead the dough a bit on a floured baking table. Roll the dough with a rolling pin so it is about 1 cm thick and rectangular-ish (you can also cut the dough in two pieces, might be easier to work if you don't have a big table).

Mix the ingredients for the filling and spread it over the rolled dough. Fold the dough into three layers (length wise). Then cut about 15 long shreds of dough (or 30ish if you have used up all the dough and not half). Spin and swirl the shreds (not my forte, but I kind of got how it should be done in the end) and tie them into a bun. Put them on baking sheets on baking paper.

Put the oven temperature on 225 - 250C.

Let the buns rise under a baking cloth for 30 minutes. Brush the buns with water and sprinkle pearl sugar (and/or chopped almond or hazelnuts if you prefer that).

Bake them in the middle of oven for 5-8 minutes.

Best enjoyed freshly baked. But will freeze well too.

And do let me know how your fabulous cinnamon buns turned out!

vegan cinnamon buns, october 2017 (kanelbullens dag)
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