Thursday, May 23, 2013

Less than three for more than three!

What is that cryptical blog entry title you might wonder. Well, "Less than three = <3 = heart/love for more than three (years)", which is the case with me and Mr Banjodjango. Three years. I can't believe how fast time flies. I love you I love you I love you.

The Great Gatsby Premiere Party

Hellu dearies!

Remember I told you about attending the Great Gatsby Premiere Party here in Sweden? Well, I totally did not manage to take any good photos. But lucky for me the beautiful Jessica Silversaga did! I wore a lovely 20s flapper dress in blue lace that I found at a flea market and it was a ridiculous steal. Some minor tending to a little hole, but apart from that it was in perfect condition. With it I wore my most expensive impulse shopping item ever: my golden Gucci Stilettos. My hair was a mess, but good news for messy curls is: the "invisible" hairnet (aka the hair-colored thin hairnet).

One piece of input to the event coordinators: Why were you so adamant about not mixing in some swing music from the era with the modern thump-thump-thump?! You wanted a 20s themed party with a Gatsby-esque flair. We were basically offering to give you a free dance performance with dancing from the era if only you would have let the (very willing) DJs play something else than main stream disco music. Such a pity.

Anyway, all in all, it was a really good party, and there was plenty of Moët & Chandon to be had. Yum yum yum.

Were any of you there? Did you enjoy yourselves? Wouldn't you have just loved to see some swing dancing as well as the great burlesque performances by the Blackbird Burlesque Cabaret who were there performing and enticing the audience? Sad I got no photos...

Why are you still here? Head on over to peruse Jessicas photos!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

On past lives, changing lives and moving your body

Many years ago, in a faraway reality I tended a bloggy-wog called ”Spark-SDFHG – the (mis?)adventures of one trying to live by the rules of ‘hurtigheten’”. It is long-ago taken down and is now only readable by myself as a kind of reminder of the past and the person I was in another chapter in my life. That is not to say that each chapter prompts a reinvention, but let’s face it, we all try to better ourselves from time to time, moving along the road of life with little inkling as to when the next bold turn will come.

The other day I was reading a Swedish blog where the blogger has recently found a sort of holy grail by the means of exercise and some of her readers have had the audacity to criticize her for “not being the same anymore” just because she happens to write a little bit more about how great it feels for her to move her body, and little bit less (but by no means excluding) about vintage thrifting, DIY and cooking. I believe that this is the same response that Fleur got when she found her totally unexpected love for running (which I, by the way, think is RAD and I’m SOOO jealous I never seem to get over that “ough-I-hate-this-so-much-hurdle” and into runner’s high) and shared that aspect of her life on her blog.

Why is it so hard to come to terms about the fact that there are real people behind the words you read? People who are also travelling along the road of life and meeting unexpected twists and turns and interests and holy grails along the way. Are you the same person you were five years ago? I’m certainly not. Why would you expect that of a blogger that you happen to follow? If you want to read something that is static, read an encyclopedia (I’m not bashing down on encyclopedias here, I love them and have been known to read them cover to cover, for the fun of it).

All this talk of exercise and of changing interests made me think of my old blog. About something I named “the Hurtigheten Regime”. Because, I for one, was inspired by UnderbaraClara and her writing about how she found her way back to exercising and how great it makes her feel. And not to mention how much she manages to get done thanks to the great amount of energy and focus that exercise gives. I used to feel that too. Somewhere along the road I dropped off. But I’m willing to stretch myself uncomfortably for a while to get there because it is so worth it; that is really what hurtigheten is all about.

Question is, will you stick around for it?

Friday, May 17, 2013


I am old. Or at least I feel old when I no longer am up to speed on the lingo the kids are using these days. I only learnt this weekend what YOLO means. I feel like that mother made famous on the interwebs for thinking LOL means “Lots of Love” and thus wrote LOL in text message about a close relative’s death. (LOL, just to be clear, means “Laughing out loud” and is the product of chatty youngsters wanting to express as much as possible in as few letters as possible (because typing out full words is too much of an effort and totally grown-up-boring-like; yes, I was that kid).

Anyway, having learnt now what YOLO means (after having felt totally like a loser for not being able to make it out myself) I am eager to live by it so that I too can allow myself that extra cookie because YOLO! Or buy those super expensive but SO pretty sunglasses because YOLO! Or those Manhattan heel fully fashioned stockings because….you get it right?

Ok, no, that was lies. I haven’t got the money put away for that yet, but I do have a massage appointment at 11, because YOLO!

ps. Yesterday we went donned our best flapper outfits and headed to the Premier Party of The Great Gatsby at the Grand Hôtel in Stockholm. I honestly have not had that much Moët & Chandon in one evening, ever. Not even on new years. It was, needless to say, FANTABULISTIC. Were any of you there? Will you go see the movie?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Tie-sty dinner with friends

Last weekend was Sugar Hill Weekend in Stockholm. It is an amazing Full Weekend Event with music, shopping, dancing, performances etc from the 1920-1950s era (with focus on the 1930-1940s). My friends Madelin, Josefin and Sandra organized it and it took place in a fantastic venue called Södra Teatern which used to be just a theatre for a long time, then happened on bad times and was used as a food storing facility (yeah, I KNOW, right?!) and have now been turned into a fantastic stage for international music and performing arts.

Christopher and I took the chance to clean out our wardrobes (make space for more) to sell at the vintage market at Sugar Hill and after the market we headed out to dinner at a close by Italian restaurant. If you think we're particularly handsome in the photo above it must be because of our vintage ties (Christopher's a collector and kindly lended both Åsa and me a tie each; Lars had is own.) I'd gladly wear ties more often, it's just difficult finding good button down shirts for them, in good ladies sizes. The search goes on!

Ta ta!

Staycation when summmer came

Oh dear, I love staycationing. Who says you have to go somewhere to vacation? I love Stockholm, I love our apartment, and I love slow mornings when the sun rounds the corner of the house and the rays land on our bed as we slowly slowly wake up. It's the best.

For the full four days of vacation I was planning to harvest a bunch of dandelion leaves (to make Kimchi), and a heap of nettles and ground elder leaves to blanche and freeze in little cubes.* Did I manange to do any of that? No. Instead I lounged on the balcony, went on a mini road trip that planted us in a strange industrial area and to the place abandoned bikes go to die (or in a best case scenario get a second life) and spent time with my darlin' and our friends. We barbecued for the first time this year (Chuck steak, bacon wrapped asparagus, roasted red bell peppers and grilled garlic, oh maan, delish!) and had one too many waffles/pancakes at Sandra's birthday pancake-bonanza. We had deliscious fika (several times!). We met Madelin's new kittens (O - MY - GOSH!! Cuteness overload!). We biked in the sunset I also repotted some of my plants and have moved out almost all the crops that need to be outside to the balcony. We watched several bad movies (I have a thing for 80s movies. I think they are my favorite genre, really) and generally staycationed real good.

Now I'm back at work, busy as ever but with a super important steering group meeting behind me where I got approval for our project plan go ahead! YAY!

How was your weekend?

*I'm planning on doing a post on edible weeds, if that would be interesting at all. It is my newest obsession! Free yummies for all!

**Photos are all from either my or Christopher's Instagram (he's @banjodjango)

Friday, May 3, 2013

Post-film funny walks

May 1st is Labour Day in Sweden. It's a national holiday here and we were luckily granted with amazing sunshine and fair weather.

Miriam, Christopher, Mira (who took the great photo above) and I went and saw the 40's classic "Swing it, Magistern!" at the Stockholm Cinemathéque. We are all great fans of the movie’s shining star Alice ”Babs” Nilsson who was a famous jazz singer in the mid-1900s. It is a fabulous little film, made in 1940, and despite having seen it before, there were so many new things to notice ranging from amazing clothes to fun and quick dialogue. If you get a chance, go watch it! It really is a darling little gem in Swedish film history of the Swing era.

After the film we walked the avenue down in a silly manner, as one is prone to do.

What did you do on Labour Day?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Mango Frozen Yoghurt (or "On the matter of undeserved compliments")

You know that feeling when people compliment you on your great make up and really it’s just yesterday’s make up that you were too lazy to wash off? Or when your dinner guests ooh and aah over the meaty deliciousness of the consommé when really it’s just a meat bouillon cube dissolved in hot water? Got that feeling? Yeah, that’s a little bit how I feel about this recipe for homemade mango frozen yoghurt. I’m almost ashamed of how easy it is.

But really it’s so brilliant because it is so simple and you can easily change it around to suit your specific preferences (some like it sweet, some like it tart as hell). The way I do it is I pair approximately the same about of Greek style yoghurt* with frozen mango (cut in small cubes), add a dollop of Lyle’s Golden syrup and if I’m lucky a little splash of full cream and then I mix it with my wand mixer until smooth, and voilà! Creamy, delicious, easy and totally fulfilling homemade mango frozen yoghurt. I added some vanilla powder for good measure, but really it’s equally good without. Now go and experiment with other frozen fruit and berries!

Mango Frozen Yoghurt (serves two frozen yoghurt-craving people or approximately one recently dumped health-conscious person (this is totally legitimate comfort food & healthier than Ben&Jerry's))

3 deciliters greek style yoghurt, the 10% kind (If you want to opt for a low fat option, just go drink water instead, I’m dead serious. Live a little!)
3 deciliters frozen mango (cubed, they usually come that way in the frozen section)
1 tablespoon dollop of Lyle’s Golden Syrup (or other amber colored syrup. Maple syrup probably works just as well, if you like that maple-y flavor!)
2-3 tablespoons of full cream (See comment for yoghurt)
(1 sprinkle of vanilla powder, optional!)

1 fairly narrow bowl with high edges
1 wand mixer (you could obviously do this recipe in a normal food processor as well!)
1 rubber spatula
2 serving bowls
2 spoons

Cooking instructions:
1. Pour all ingredients into bowl.

2. Mix with wand mixer until smooth.

3. Use rubber spatula to get all the frozen yoghurt into serving bowls.

(3,5. Lick remaining youghurt off the rubber spatula)

4. EAT!

(If for some reason you don't want to eat it straight away: chuck it in the freezer and eat it later (it'll go pretty hard though) or place it in the refrigerator and drink it like it smoothie later!)

Will you make this recipe? Have any ideas for other fruit, berries or something else all-togehter to make it with instead of mango? Let me know in the comments section! I'd love to get inspired by ya'll!

*On the matter of Greek Style Yoghurt: In Sweden we have Greek style and Turkish style 10% yoghurt and of those two the Greek one is better for this recipe. But if you don't have those two options to choose from what you want to look for is a 10% yoghurt that is a little bit "stringy" when you spoon it out of its package (it should be kind of like clotted cream in consistency). If it's too compact it's not the preferable kind, but it still works! 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

My violin story: Callused fingers and chin-rest marks

Photo: George Chamoun; Taken one drunken evening outside Färgfabriken .
I was playing to earn my cab fare to get home.
I started playing the violin at the tender age of five. My first violin teacher was a rather corpulent lady called Barbara whose house smelled of cats (in the bad way). My second violin teacher was Russian and firm but very loving. I stayed with her all through elementary school and middle school, playing concerts, touring, competing, and practicing, practicing, practicing. Success was partly measured in how hard the calluses on my fingertips were and how prominent the tell-tale permanent mark on my neck from where the chin rest would rub against my skin. Those were beautiful times of simple measurable successes.

Photo: unknown? Playing with my former band
 The Goner
And then…high school came…and suddenly, in my quest for self-expression, contextual art, music theatre, fashion design and independent pop & rock, (and let’s be honest: partying, girls&boys, making out, etc) became more interesting than practicing the violin 3-4 hours a day. And so it was that I meandered off the beaten life path of Professional Violinist and through twists and turns in life ended up as an HR Specialist. How’s that for change of domain?

Photo: Janne Tavares
Rehearsal photo from the stage production
Chockdoktrinen (The Chock Doctrine)
based on the book Naomi Klein. 2010.
Luckily for me, those thousands of hours of practicing made a lot of the stuff stick irrevocably, allowing me to still pick up the violin and make pretty noises with it. And further luck has allowed me to play my violin in all kinds of different, unexpected constellations: in theatre, in performance art, on TV-commercials, with bands, etc. My fingers may be slower and not as callused as they used to be, my neck-mark is almost invisible (but only almost), and truthfully, I’m not always entirely on pitch all of the time. But it is truly a gift, as invaluable as ever, to be able to connect with that extra limb of mine, my violin, and make music.