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 So so outdated.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


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)

Sunday, October 08, 2017

this is what i'm made of

the future professional life - book release with hammer & hanborg, sthlm music house, sweden, oct 5, 2017

The week that was, the first of October, my birthday month, has certainly been an emotional rollercoaster - not at all as the devastating one of 2016, I'm needless to say grateful for - but partly from work related stress and anger because of unrealistic expectations and demands from client. But at least I wasn't alone in feeling this. Hopefully we can clear this up, set up a decent structure and move on to (more) greatness this week.

To partly stress mixed with excitement from new project finally starting. Which also got me thinking about how much extra time one generally has to put in to learning new project tools. Project tools and procedures that some seem to think is the most natural thing in the world that *everyone* knows already. It isn't. And even if they're easy enough to learn they initially also take a lot of extra time to get the hang of. A more or less steep learning curve. I've done it before, I will do it again. But to be honest, a lot of the time the technology is really time consuming, not necessarily time saving and efficient, even if that's what we like to think it is. Smart yes, time saving, well...

I'm also thinking that when the technology and (less than well thought through) routines take so much time, that really doesn't bode well from a financial point of view. The budget and compensation level aren't realistic anymore. I'm pretty fab at working fast without losing quality, but sometimes there's only as much as you can do when it comes to that. Partly because of technology, part because of human behaviour out of your control.

And working my way through texts and technology I get this distinct feeling of much ado about nothing. I'm my own worst critic so I really really REALLY look through everything a gazillion times before I hit the submit button. Pretty sure I will still have to do some rework of these initial texts. And since it's not a passion project I'm also pretty sure I don't see it as a long term thing for me, unless I'm able to really work down the time spent on each task it's just not worth it. But still, always grateful for the opportunity to diversify my skills and work.

I also know that in the long run it's good for your development with a bit (or more) resistance. But I believe that resistance and obstacles to work with is much more rewarding if it's a passion project, wouldn't you agree? So I also see this as a good lesson in what I really should spend my time with, work with, and what I shouldn't.

This upcoming week I'll also start another little gig that makes me really happy. I'm going to be food inspirer on Instagram for the great vegan food box from the all organic company Årstiderna (The Seasons). I've found myself in the same ol' rut when it comes to cooking lately, very uninspired in general so I've ended up eating oat porridge for dinner more often than not. It's going to be such fun to be inspired AND inspire others to green, sustainable, healthy, animal friendly and not least very tasty cooking! I tried their vegan food box this past spring and it was lovely, especially one of the dishes was incredibly tasty and easy to make - beetroot quinoa. (I'll share the recipe soon.) You can find the account on Instagram at @veganskamatkassen - hopefully I'll see and inspire you there soon!

I'm constantly fascinated how seemingly vastly different things, happenings and not least people end up being connected in the strangest of ways these days. Or maybe this past year has been one great big eye opener. I've always said I believe in serendipity (or syncronicity, but that's not nearly as lovely a word) and magic and when the time is right things start to make sense. Perhaps this is the amazing time for it now. I keep trusting the process.

In 2013 I also wrote about being in a happy place, everything didn't work out as planned back then. And to be honest I don't think I was this at peace then with my life and how things are, in parts have turned out to be through things out of my control. The soul searching, the hard work, the aha moments this past year, especially these past six months have been exceptional. And the fine fine people I've met in all this, what can I say but wow, an abundance of gratitude for that.

Now, what about the pin above? Ever since I read about the amazing title in 2014, I think it was, it has been my dream job title. Not that I really would like to be employed as it, but if it could be a gig, a project, now that would be quite quite awesome. However I don't believe that true happiness and content at work necessarily come from having a sea of pom pom balls in the office, having a table tennis room, funky design or even free food. Neither do I believe it stems from open-plan offices (quite the opposite, my dear!) or forced team activities, scheduled fika breaks working from an unrealistic notion that everyone is created as an extrovert clone.

I believe that the secret (which shouldn't be a secret these days really) to a happy work environment is to actually see the difference in personalities and needs - and please do get rid of those ridiculous open-plan offices! - to create a happy and productive co-existence for introverts, ambiverts and extroverts where everyone respect the respective needs on a daily basis. We are all responsible for the work place culture, yet so many don't seem to get that. That's where I think the Chief Happiness Officer would do a great job.

the future professional life - book release with hammer & hanborg, sthlm music house, sweden, oct 5, 2017

I'm also willing to take on the role as CLO simultaneously, Chief Listening Officer. I firmly believe the world needs more of those. Too many people tend to talk too much, very few listen. And look where that has gotten us, in so much unsustainable, void of compassion trouble.

All the awesome work title pins I got at a brilliant little book release on the future of the professional life, where I also got to meet the robot Ariel and other neat people.

Must not forget to mention I baked some great vegan cinnamon buns for Cinnamon Bun Day on October 4 - that will also be a recipe I'm going to share soon. I know I'm not sharing as many recipes as I once used to, the reason is not only the lack of inspiration I mentioned above, it just somehow seems a bit trivial when there's so much other amazing stuff going on in my mind and outside right now. But the world do need more easy and tasty plantbased food so I promise I'll share some delicious recipes this week.

I had also set out to write something about the infamous Impostor syndrome in this post. Because it's crazy how no matter obvious competence you have and evidently skilled you are as well as comfortable and confident in your self esteem, the ugly notion of being a fake pops up its head now and then. If you came to my home you would not believe I'm such a perfectionist as I am in work, far from. I'm a bit Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde in that aspect. I find that both liberating and rather annoying. But still, a clean home is a sign of a wasted life, it's one of my favourite quotes for a reason.

But pops its useless head up it does sometimes, that syndrome, even more so recently when people I don't know so well yet, or people I didn't know thought so many amazing things about me, say truly great things about me, even recommend me without hesitation. So again, wow, gratitude. And I don't say this with any fake (slightly pun intended) modesty, I really feel blessed and grateful for this. And I'm getting better at ignoring that pestering syndrome, which obviously has nothing to do with a lack of self esteem. Funny how things are, and how the brain works. But of course, I should know that by now, and it doesn't have to involve the offer of a ride.

"I Got that sunshine in my pocket, got that good soul in my feet" -

bring on week two, sweet October of mine, I'm so ready for your greatness!

Sunday, October 01, 2017

what's your theme song?

October. Already. Where did September go? My birthday month is here. Which this year holds a birthday I'm far from comfortable with. But age is just a number, I know. And the older, and wiser, I get the more comfortable I am with myself, my quirks and fabulastic features. 

And if astrology is anything to go by the next +1 year will be a wild, fun and amazing ride for us Scorpios - and whether you believe in that or not I'm most certainly in a place in my life, after all the sorrow, hard work, introspection and growth I've been through this last 1,5 years, where I'm more open and receptive for amazing things to happen than ever. Bring it on, Universe!

I've never been interested in fitting in - to be honest, aren't we all born to stand out in some way or the other? - and even less so with age. Right now I'm only interested in the finding (keeping) my kind of people mission and making a positive difference for the planet. Which is more important than ever, for us all. And with that does come a very firm statement of who cares about fitting in, it's so much more important to be the best You you can be, find meaning and a purpose, to leave the planet a better place than it was when you entered it. Simple, and difficult sometimes, as that.

Which brings me to the next part of this post, the sentiment I touched on in the last you are unlimited post - "Take responsability for the energy you put out in the world".

I stumbled over this conversation between Marie Forleo and the fantastic Brené Brown - whose TED talk/s I'm sure you've already listened to - and was blown away. 

Because despite being a word-person to the bone even I sometimes have trouble putting my feelings into words. This talk however puts a lot of the way I think, feel, live into beautiful, inspiring words. It made me laugh and cry. A friend said she felt a strong affirmation of herself and her life from listening to it. And yes, I agree wholeheartedly.

It's a 36 minutes video you really should listen to, you will be a better human being for it. And then start having those meaningful conversations!

I've just ordered the book "Braving the Wilderness" too, really looking forward to delve into it and explore new dimensions.

Which brings me to the last part of this post, the theme song. You who, like me, watched and loved Ally McBeal know what I'm talking about. That special tune that lifts you, make you feel strong, capable, brave, confident and irresistable. What's your theme song that lift and urge you on?

Mine has been Proud for some years now, it just encapsulate so much of what I want to be and do. It fills me with a strong sense of all the above feelings, every time. (Also the Cape Town video is lovely.)

I dance to it a lot - albeit the dancing under the stars days are most likely over for this year alas - but my absolute favourite dance tune right now is without a doubt Can't stop this feeling (similar to Happy some years ago). It just makes it impossible to sit still, I dance until I'm breathless and like nobody's watching. But for, as always, bewildered cats.

And that sums things up for me and my life right now, things and actions to be proud of is a work in progress but I can't stop this feeling of wonder, gratitude and happiness in general. It's such a lovely lovely lovely feeling to be in.

I keep trusting the process.

PS October 1st is also World Vegetarian Day and the start of World Vegetarian Month, that's most certainly something I'm proud of having been for over 30 years. Even more proud of being 99% vegan for these last couple of years of course. Naturally aiming for 100%. DS

Sunday, September 24, 2017

you are unlimited

Ever since I began gulping down tea pot after tea pot like there was no tomorrow back in high school, accompanied by philosophical discussions about life - 

because that's what the Humaniora students did. Well, at least us who actually thought a lot did, which to be honest, looking back, the majority of my class mates probably didn't. I loved high school, I just  didn't have much in common with most of my class mates though. But then again I've never been interested in having a gazillion superficial friends when I can have a few close and important ones. And that I had, hence the philosophical discussions over lots of tea

I've known that in tea is wisdom.

It's even better when that fact is proven by the tea's equivalent to fortune cookies - Yogi tea quotes.

These above and below ones I got recently and they both struck a special cord for me. 

Because you see, I've been spending the majority of these past few weeks working hard on a special work project - yes it has finally begun! -, which has left me in different measures exhilarated, stressed, amazed, confused and dash annoyed. I guess this is what agile teamwork is, which is great in a way - especially when our different skills seemingly blend together so very well, that's the amazed part, because I don't know these people and they don't know me yet and still, smooth working... - but I also think there's a need for more structure.

Things like, can we please schedule the online meetings and the most important update phone calls a few days ahead. If possible, when possible. And since I'm obviously the last one onboard I don't have the full story of the project and its background, beginning to grasp it obviously after these intense weeks, but still, the lawyer and (semi)control freak would have liked to be a *bit* more in the loop before I got started.

On the other important hand though, and here's the exhilarating part, I've learnt so much during these weeks only. Thrown headfirst into a project with no clear roles or really specific tasks as such I've done so much more than I thought I signed up for or was suppose to do. 

Simply because a) it's such a worthy cause (brand), b) I always approach things as a great opportunity to learn new things (and practice old ones) even if there might be initial kinks and c) when there seemingly aren't any specific roles I might as well do the most of it, enjoy the headfirst situation and get to work. 

Because you know what, the upside of slightly hazy areas of responsibilities is that noone can really object to who's getting things done, as long as it's within the brief and with the mutual goal in mind. This part we're working on now is only a first step of many in a long project. It will hopefully get a sign off this week so we can move on to the next. 

Going above and beyond what I intitially thought would be my role, well it has been fun, really fun. Somewhere down the line it will pay off in different ways, opportunities, karma etc. And when I was feeling stressed and confused a few days in to the project I got this tea quote telling me I'm unlimited and yes, yes of course I am! And since I am a Jill of many trades, why not expand on that?

For me this experience so far has also been a real tangible test on that thing I have such difficulties doing, the one thing I've been blog talking about for years now, but also the one thing that has been coming much easier for me to do ever since the grief recovery process. To trust the process. And the gut feeling. To breath, relax and let my inner (semi) control freak have an extended holiday on some tropical island far far away.

And even if I'm well-used in working with overseas clients and remote work we've then basically worked via emails and Skype. This time there have been other project management tools as well as more phone calls in 2 weeks than I've probably had in the last 2 years - you know, I the odd phoney... And since our little team are situated in Finland, Sweden and England respectively we communicate in some delightful blend of Swedish and English. Which has actually added to the fun.

The curious thing is that when I began writing this post I thought I was going to write about how much more we needed structure, specific areas of responsabilities, what do we expect from eachother, to be able to perform better, avoid misunderstandings and unnecessary stress. I still partly think that would help, but at the same time it has been a fascinating and unusual ride of trust. And a more positive experience and full of learning in a reasonably short amount of time than I ever thought it would be. Looking forward to whatever will be next.

And then the first few weeks in September there was a sudden, unexpected influx of various new job/clients opportunites. Even if I well know by now that over 50% of them always fall through in general, for various reasons, I got a bit flustered. Because what if many of them would lead to something more substantial than just a thought and initial meeting, and that they paid enough and/or were interesting enough, which would I have to chose to decline? And could I really afford to not say yes (both from a financially and the FearOfMissingOut point of view)? 

Or should I just see the next 6 months as a gritty working period, adding to my portolio of experiences and building financial stability? And the silver lining is of course, for a free spirit like me, that I mostly work from home - proud place of awesome pink office - and can usually set my own work schedule just as long as I meet the deadlines.

But as a part of my new trust the process stand that has so far worked out for the best, things partly fell through as usual, partly will begin shortly and more later this autumn. Things happen when they are meant to. Life is much better enjoyed when you bear that in mind. 

Which, again, is not the same as just sit back relax and wait for things to happen. Be active in a way that your comfortable with, and do step out of your comfort zone regularly, and take responsability for the energy you put out into the world - which will be the topic of my next post, the wise words doesn't come from me, but more of that next time.

Not only over these past few weeks, but over these past few months I've been grateful for so many things, for so many experiences, for so many people that have suddenly come into my life and changed me and my path forever. And when I feel flustered, disappointed, even deflated at times, I always remember all those things I'm grateful for. What has truly been the worst 1,5 years of my life has also been one of the most evolving and yes magical even, 1,5 years of my life. Especially these past six months. Which brings me to this second quote I got a few days after the above one.

Grateful. Always.

Friday, September 08, 2017

happy 12th blogoversary

The Blog, this blog, turns 12 today. 

After a both emotionally and physically exhausting week, mostly in a good way but not only, I alas don't feel very witty or capable of writing something profound about the blog journey of 12 years.

But I will say as much as it has been a true haven during both ups and downs in my life. Not least in my most challenging, heartbreaking as well developing, insightful and healing last one and a half year of growth.

When I look back on my post from the first few years I admittedly sometimes shudder of embarrassment, the way I wrote then and in parts how I looked at the world, the topics I chose, it was a very different me. That said I let them be were they are, available to be read, a testament of 12 years of development and finding my voice, both as a human being and in writing style. 

My blogoversary was spent with a lovely LinkedIn-lunch, a possible new client getting in touch, an unexpected meet cute of the doggie kind and not least a cup of tea and a perfect cinnamon bun contemplating 12 years of blogging. Who knew this would be where I'd find myself after a decade plus?

And of course, thank you, dear readers, who keep coming back for more, and sometimes leave those kind and heartfelt comments. I treasure them all.

Happy 12th Blogoversary to me, may it feel meaningful for many more years to come!

Sunday, September 03, 2017

the b project

First, let's have a cup of coffee. Or contemplate having a cup of coffee. Or in this case muse over a picture of a cup of coffee. Specifically the above picture of a cup of excellent oat latte that looks like it has been one third drunk.

Which it hasn't. Not the littlest sip has been taken from it yet. The one third gone was partly spilled when I tried to put the cup down on the table at the same time as my backpack slid down my shoulder. The rest of it spilled right before this picture.

Because what isn't visible - but would have made an excellent cautionary video - is that the outdoor seating at this cafe is partly pretty unsafe. My chair fell backwards from the elevated veranda when I prepared to take the picture, and I managed to grab on to the table in a very awkward position while flashing an uncomfortable amount of my underwear to the good people of Stockholm. I was hanging on there for some very long seconds before I decided that we. would. not. fall. down on street level the chair and I.

Had this happened some years ago I would probably have been so embarassed I would have avoided the cafe for years. Now I'm just glad I survived. And was a source of a hearty laugh. Which certainly is one of the perks of growing older and wiser, embarassing things just aren't that embarassing anymore. Grey hair still is a nuisance though.

Someone called this a Bridget Jones-moment, which I think perfectly illustrates it. I'm still waiting for my Mark Darcy to appear though.

Once again, this wasn't really what I was going to write about, but the arm in the picture with a delightful bracelet belongs to the B-project partner. B as in B personality, specifically the bit that focus on us not being morning people but often night owls. And the introvert/ambivert traits. 

We've talked about creating something really lovely with this, having mulled over the perfect name for the project and suddenly it just came to me the other day. Eureka! In fact it's such a brilliant name for us who are really nerdy about word plays that I would like to shout it from the roof tops, but I won't even mention it in blog because the project is still in early planning stage. Let's just say I'm a bit giddy over it. It's not a big project per se, but I think it will be a lovely, social and fun project. For B people.

I'm currently giddy over quite a few things really. Several great job opportunities/clients (new and old). Like the great meeting I had a month ago, things finally began to happen this past week, but it's still pretty unstructured so I'm looking forward to straightening out question marks and start working, creating a bit of magic, getting to know people and learning new things. It will be great to have natural sounding boards while still being trusted to do my thing. Can it actually be that I have found my tribe? Time will tell.

This weekend I'm preparing a proposal for a very neat and unexpected communication project - thank you again, LinkedIn! - which I had a very nice meeting about last week. Fingers crossed.

It also looks like I'm going to continue with the career coaching part time this autumn too, but this time as a consultant not subconsultant which will mean a more reasonable payment. Plus I have so many new contacts and leads from this spring that a lot of ground work is already done, by myself. Since it was a job that gave me so many warm and fuzzy feelings and fueled my soul it felt like it was too soon to let it go, I'm grateful if we're able to work the details out in a mutual beneficial way.

And in October one of my old clients from 2015 probably will return in a new shape, that will be fun. It's all about cats, dogs, wildlife projects and nature, so right up my alley that too.

I'm really looking forward to doing a work schedule for my autumn.

When things keep slowly falling in place like this, with different pieces in the work puzzle coming together, I can't help but remembering a question someone asked me earlier this year when I sent out an SOS for a part time job - "Do you really want that part time job or would you be happier with having your schedule as full of clients as you want instead?"

It isn't a question with an obvious answer. 

I do miss working with likeminded others with a shared vision and common goals, but that doesn't mean I have to or even want to work with them side by side part day in part day out. Just a touch down and a chat now and then would be perfect.

I love having overseas clients but I wouldn't want my work schedule filled with them because that would basically be like working in an office just doing it from home. With no offline touchdown ever.

The brain exercise and constant creativity flow that comes from having a varied set of clients and assignments, meeting different people on a regular basis, owning my days and never having to feel confined by the restrictions of a physical workplace, that is simply gold worth in my world. (That it will be worth its financial stability weight in gold is obviously also the ultimate goal.) 

And I'm honestly not sure that would be possible to have as an employee. That you feel the job is as challenging, exciting and evolving in the long run as running your own business. Free spirit me talking. Ambivert me.

Then again, if something truly irresistable would turn up, who knows? 

For now, I'm just really stoked about my work autumn. And grateful for this past summer of completions and new beginnings - which I do hope will turn into a glorious Indian summer of course. Not at all ready to say bye to summer dresses, bare legs and sandals just yet. Or outdoor coffees.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...