Saturday, March 17, 2018

warm fruit salad with a twist

vegan food at home, january - march 2018 -

Before I continue writing about the cosmo geek week I give you something simple, luxurious and delicious - a warm fruit salad. Use whatever fruit you enjoy, I had bananas, pears and apples in the fridge.

Warm fruit salad with almond paste
4-6 servings

5 small apples
3 pears
2 organic bananas
ca 200 g almond paste
dairy-free butter
lemon juice
unsweetened coconut cream

Put the oven at 175C. Butter a medium sized overware.

Peel and dice the apples and pears. Peel and slice the bananas. Put all the fruit in a bowl. Drizzle some lemon juice over it and mix fruit carefully. Pour the fruit into the ovenware.

Grate the almond paste coarsely. Spread the grated almond paste evenly over the fruit. Add dollops of dairy-free butter on top.

Bake in oven until the almond paste is slightly golden. It'll take about 10 minutes.

Whip the unsweetened coconut cream - it's my new favourite food thing, absolutely delicious! And with a hint of coconut, but no un-natural tang which I find often is the case with soy or oat cream. - and serve with the warm fruit salad.

Enjoy the melt in your mouth deliciousness!

vegan food at home, january - march 2018 - unsweetened coconut milk and coconut cream

PS I get my coconut cream from Swedish brand Garantskafferiet. Extra plus for a fabulous package design. And it's incredibly easy to whip into great consistency, if you just remember to keep it in fridge before you do. Delicious with my darlin' banana pancakes too. DS

Thursday, March 15, 2018

my cosmo geek week, part I

liljevalchs vårsalong, stockholm, sweden, march 2018 -

My intention was to write a long, rambling-ish post about some of the inspirational stuff I've done this past week. My cosmo-geek week. But I realised just now that it'll be a lot longer than I had intended, so I'll make a part I and II of it instead.

Here goes part I -

:: I managed to snap one of those much coveted tickets to the annual Women in Tech Stockholm convention (WIT always takes place on March 8, naturally), this year 1500 tickets were gone in 120 seconds... As you know I shy away from fairs and places that attract a lot of people in general. The introvert me hates it. That I entered and attended countless of cat shows for years and years is in hindsight bewildering, I know.

But I have been known to attend TEDx talks and Geek Girl meetups, and enjoyed myself - if not the "do mingle!" element. I'm a grown up, I can chose myself and if I chose to watch, listen, learn and be inspired 'only', well that's nobody's business but mine. Especially not when I've paid for the tickets. - and this seemed liek a great opportunity for inspiration and learning.

The day before the WIT 2018 there was a sort of kick off breakfast talk at tech giant Tieto. I'm not a morning person, having to leave home at 5.45 am to be sure to get to the venue - the company headquarters are situated really inconventiently - by 7.45ish did not fill me with joy. But I'm so glad I went. The talk was held by IT Woman of the Year 2017, Malin Cronqvist, the founder of charity platform Help to Help.

Which funds scholarships in Tanzania and Uganda via transparent crowdfunding. Which, unlike most major charity organisations, make sure the money get where they're supposed to. A remarkable example - in a country with 56 million people (Tanzania) there are 236 dentists and 20 anaesthsiologists. Whopping numbers of wrong.

The talk was so. very. inspirational. A simple and very hands on idea that can make real change happen. And by empowering women we are empowering societies, countries, the world.

women in tech stockholm, march 8, 2018 -

:: The WIT conference in itself was exhausting, way to much people, not enough breaks and certainly not enough food for such a long day. But also very inspiring, some talks, discussions and interviews were great, others very less so. You can watch all the sessions at the WIT website. But from my personal point of interest view I enjoyed talks from these talented women the most -

Joy Buolamwini, "the poet of code on a mission to show compassion through computation". You should watch her enlightening about bias in algorithms. Who codes matters, how we code matters and why we code matters, to fight misogyni and racism.

A panel discussion about #metoo and the extended misogyni within the tech industry, Swedish hashtag #teknisktfel (technical error).

Computer science professor Danica Cragic, who specialise in robotics and just won the award Tech Woman of the Year 2018.

The breakout session Starting up, Starting over: What startup life is really like.

A message from the (female) mayor of Stockholm, Karin Wanngård, that our fair city is a #awomansplace - "Equality in Sweden isn't perfect, but it might be the best that we have in the world." The website is worth an enlightening visit.

A panel discussion on building sustainable businesses. One participant was the co-founder of Gigafood, an acclaimed plantbased catering and sustainability business.

Inventor and engineer Anna Svensson, the woman behind the world's first integrated solar panels - yup, before Elon Musk - at the company SolTech Energy. 

Helena Samsioe, co-founder of Globhe, drone delivery and drone data on demand.

Then I left a bit early, which was a relief after 8 intense hours. And with me home I got loads of inspiration.

:: Part II of my cosmo-geek week will be about the above sweet, endearing and tear inducing sculpture called "Kerstin shall save all the animals" which is part of the annual spring salon since 1921 at art museum Liljevalchs. And quite a few other favourites I got at the exhibition too, how about pieces with though-provoking names like German philosophers with cats, the bulldog Rolf (made from old nylon stockings), 365 days of yoga, Rabbit with carrot (crocheted), The Introvert House, The pig mother, I wish I was beautiful as a swan, could fly and wear red high heels?

:: It will also be about my first, belated meetup with my new friend I met via the integration project Kompis Sverige (Buddy Sweden), it took me 2 years to get a proper match.

:: About an unexpected compliment from a ticket collector.

:: And about the fact that my obsession with fondness for bobbaloos has, for various reasons, turned into an obsession with fondness for the Japanese collector doll and goodluck charm Sonny Angel.

that moment when one if my outfits has turned in to a building, march 14, 2018

:: For now, let's end this post by contemplating that moment, upon arriving at a job meeting, and you're met by a wallpaper that looks like "one of your outfits has turned into a building" - not my words but they perfectly captured the situation. Needless to say I'd love to have a dress in that exact same colour and pattern like that green, tpriped wallpaper.

Friday, March 09, 2018

organic vegan food inspiration, part 2

årstiderna organic vegan food box, food ambassador sept-dec 2017 -

Have had what someone brilliantly called a cosmo-geek week. Loads of inspiration from strong, capable women and too much people for my poor intro/ambivert brain and personality. I'll write more about that when I've rested the brain and collected my thoughts.

For now I'm so very grateful for Friday, followed by blissful caturday. I'm suspecting next week will be fun and hectic too, so I'm putting my very snooze on all weekend. My only sadness is that there are no more episodes of Younger available. And that the foodstore hadn't gotten the delivery of peanut doodles (which is my new snack of choice).

I'll cook something nice from whatever I have in the fridge and freezer. And look forward to another fabulastic week of the vegan food ambassador gig. Here are the wonderful dishes I've cooked since I posted about the falafel. Some definitely more memorable than others. The recipes can as usual be found on the Årstiderna website or in the app, but in Swedish. So if something tickles your tastebuds please let me know and I'd be happy to translate the recipe.

The photo above is of a delicious sweet potato soup with curry, lime and coconutmilk - the sweet potato and pumpkin soups are two of my favourite dishes for the boxes, perfect comfort food packed with flavour - topped with a tomato salad with lemon grass and roasted pumpkin seeds, served with toasted pita bread. A fantastic meal with lots of texture!

årstiderna organic vegan food box, food ambassador sept-dec 2017 -

Wholemeal noodle salad with broccoli, carrot, cucumber, coriander, cashewnuts and a spicy tamari sauce. Basic but good.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, food ambassador sept-dec 2017 -

Spicy white beans cream - which then has become a new and simple favourite of mine, it's like hummus but with your favourite white beans instead - fried zucchini, tomato salad and grilled pita bread with za'tar spicing. Lovely flavours and textures.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, food ambassador sept-dec 2017 -

Potato-leek soup with roasted pumpkin seeds served with sourdough baguettes. Basic but good.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, food ambassador sept-dec 2017 -

Tartlets with asparagus, mungbeans and broccoli. Served with a lovely salad of point cabbage, apple and pomegranate. Great flavours, amazing textures.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, food ambassador sept-dec 2017 -

Spicy stew with potato, chickpeas and chili-tomato salad. Basic but nice.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, food ambassador sept-dec 2017 -

Mexi-bowl with quinoa, black beans, point cabbage, avocado and tomatoes. Basic but good.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, food ambassador, jan-march 2018 -

Red curry stew with broccoli, carrot, grean beans in coconut milk served with wholemeal rice. Basic but good.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, food ambassador, jan-march 2018 -

Fried rice with turmeric, oyster mushroom, broccoli, chard and cashewnuts.Lovely, the mushroom added extra oomf.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, food ambassador, jan-march 2018 -

Peas-pumpkin hummus - oh my goodness... - with oven-baked aubergine and toasted wholemeal pitabread. Amazing and delicious.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, food ambassador, jan-march 2018 -

årstiderna organic vegan food box, food ambassador, jan-march 2018 -

Noodle salad with carrot, cucumber, roman lettuce, green beans, tahini sauce and gomashio salt. Very basic, but I like the touch with gomashio salt.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, food ambassador, jan-march 2018 -

Seitan-sausages in bun served with cucumber salad and asian cabbage salad with sesame seeds. It's nice with those rare dishes you don't have to cook a lot to get, a pretty basic dish but the asian salad is mmm. Sesame seed oil and seeds make everything taste better.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, food ambassador, jan-march 2018 -

Beetroot risotto with roasted hazelnuts and parsley-cabbage salad. Very nice, but I have to say the one I usually make is better, creamier.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, food ambassador, jan-march 2018 -

Curry stew with chickpeas, sweet potato, carrot, tomato in coconutmilk. Basic but nice.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, food ambassador, jan-march 2018 -

Latkes - potato-Jerusalem artichoke rösti - with hummus and fried kale. Lovely, but for the kale.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, food ambassador, jan-march 2018 -

Celery cream with grilled spring onion, fried kale and roasted buckwheat. Lovely but for the kale. Roasted buckwheat, what a clever thing!

No matter how I've tried I really don't like kale. I can only have it in a smoothie, but it's rubbery and nasty in anything else I've tried, cooking myself or eating out. I don't care if it's a super plant, it's like eating weed to me. Sorry, kale, we will never be friends. I know your intentions are great, but you are not for me.

kale and zigne, october 2017

Saturday, March 03, 2018

dreams are

luddkolt’s british shorthair, february 2018 -

Was woken up last night at 4.55 - yes really - by a very intense, emotional dream. Which rarely happens, I can probably count the times on the fingers of one hand. But this was a kind of aha-moment that made me cry. Which also made me think about the saying that "Dreams are the answers of tomorrow's questions." Let's just say I really do hope this one was.

:: I've had a new routine since a year or so, every full moon (weather permitted) I have a little private ritual (which suddenly isn't quite as private, sharing this here) under it. Of giving thanks for things I'm grateful for and wishing for things important. Plus hopefully absorbing some positive energy from that bright, yellow bulb in the sky.

When doing this on March 1, which was absolutely freezing amidst all the snow and nothing remotely like dancing under a summer starlit sky, I suddenly heard an insisting meow. I thought it was one of my furries who were annoyed I wouldn't let them out in the garden, but it turned out it was the not-my-cat - which I will tell you about in another post, but in short, she's been sauntering the garden for many years when my cats aren't out, inspecting the premises from a safe distance up on the garden shed when I'm home and finally this summer she decided it was her home away from home too apparently. Ie playing queen of cats, eating, insisting to come inside, cuddles and chats. She's obviously well cared for and smells of some nice after shave, but I have no idea where she lives. - making a surprise visit late at night. I always talk out load to the moon and she had apparently heard me, how about that for cute serendipity?

:: The half February/half March has week has been a pretty good one. First the dishes in the organic, vegan food box have been a string of green, sparkling pearls this week. See, it's usually one or two dishes that shine and a couple that are nice, but not really memorable. But this week, oh my, so delicious all of them. Food post coming soon.

:: Then I offered a solution, or leastway a new start, for the hurtful ex-project mess. At least I have then done everything I can possibly do, and still acknowledging the hurt and let down. Life is short and this was something I really have enjoyed and had high hopes for. The least thing I can do, without losing my pride, is to say, let's talk about the future.

Which resulted in a really positive phone call from one of my ex-team guys at least. And I liked the "please don't lose hope of this" - and I won't, when I remember the first meeting and how natural the collaboration felt, I still believe in it. It was just the first project that went so much more crazy awry than I suppose anyone of us could have expected. So everything is just on pause now.

And quite possibly the team constellation will never be what it was. If the complete silence and unwillingness to talk things through from one person is anything to go by. But I have to be okey with that. What was meaningful to me might not have been as meaningful to others. And I suppose there's sooner or later exception to the rule of being a good judge of character. So I settle for being grateful for the joy that was, and the overall important life as well as work lesson this project has been.

:: A friend who reads this blog recently said 'I'm impressed that you're writing so open-heartedly about things.' - and I was 'You think it's free-spoken?' 'Duh'. I know I've touched on this before, that I don't feel I can write quite as openly as I once did. But I guess I still do, even if I obviously leave out a lot of matters. I just think authenticity is important. I'm sure some people can identify themselves in what I write, whilst others can't. If they even read this, that is, and what they make of it, who knows.

:: Quite a few positive, unexpected work related things appeared by the end of the week. Will hopefully know more next week. On a year when I've decided to be more brave I've decided to be more open for jobs I hadn't really contemplated before too. Still waiting for the Chief Happiness Officer offer though...

pink hornrimmed glasses, january 2018

:: I've taken my second pair of glasses for some rides during the week. I think I prefer the green hornrimmed ones, but pink are always great too. Slightly smaller glass than the green ones since I hope I'll be able to get some sunglass clip-ons for them later on. Two for the price of one.

:: The fact that 90% of Swedes seem to dress in drab, depressing black, especially during autumn and winter - in a country that's in desperate need of light, inspiration and cheerful things half of the year - is just awful. The more I see all these dull people afraid of anything colourful, the more I'm adamant to go the other way. Or, well, continue to dress the way I've always done I suppose. I've just decided, even though I hate posting selfies and outfits in general, to actually do it more regularly on Instagram to inspire all those belonging to the 90% to try wear more colours. It does wonder for the mood, plus make other people happy too.

Some of the outfits to inspire might find their way to this blog too, who knows. It will be a great way for me to thrift in my own wardrobe, to mix and match new/old pieces. It'll be fun.

vegan breakfast - brunch, greasy spoon, stockholm, sweden, 2018 -

:: Ended the week with having a really lovely vegan brunch with a friend. I've been wanting to try that full English vegan for some time now. I've enjoyed so many of them over the years on our Britain and Scotland travels, but I still rarely cook them at home for lunch or dinner (bit too much for breakfast for a Swede who enjoys her tea and sandwich or soygurth with muesli, you know). The Stockholm hipster version of it was delicious. Teamed up with a turmeric latte, that happened to match my outfit. Like one does, now and then. And you can't have too much turmeric in your life.

Will now continue to spend my caturday, weekend, as it's best spent in freezing temperatures like this. And hope and wish for March to continue to show it's benevolent side. And the question to what a dream has already answered.

vegan breakfast - brunch, greasy spoon, stockholm, sweden, 2018 -

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

the organic cotton cat dress

organic cotton cat dress, people tree, february 2018

Granted the days for wearing flimsy, pretty dresses currently seem awfully far away -

it has been so cold for the past week, heaps of snow and freezing winds and there doesn't seem to be an end to it anytime soon. Apparently we haven't *enjoyed* this type of snow and weather since 1987... -

but I've missed out on the fabulastic PeopleTree cat dresses for so many years I felt I had to snatch one up asap, being the not so crazy cat lady I am.

organic cotton cat dress, people tree, february 2018

It's darling! Organic jersey cotton. Not as roomy as the lovely owl dress, ideally I would have liked it to be given we aren't all flat chested. And it lacks pockets alas. But still really cute. Have many comfy, colourful cardigans to add to the outfit. Looking forward to gentler weather lots, not least for feline dress reasons.

organic cotton cat dress, people tree, february 2018

Gaeltarra Ireland cardigan rediscovered, February 2018 - thrifting in your own closet is awesome ❤️

If I team the dress with colourful stockings I might even chose a less colourful cardigan. Like the one I happened to thrift in my own wardrobe recently. I got this grey Gaeltarra Ireland cardigan in Dublin 2003/04, wore it lots back then but have lost sight of it for years. Thought I had given it away to charity by mistake, but I found it when I did that big cleansing a couple of years ago. Wasn't until recently I was reminded that it would be nice to wear it again too. With it's quirky design of holes, not created by moths.

clothes, january 2016 -

My February begun with me losing my old cosy, faux fur favourite mittens on the train. And I haven't been able to find them despite visiting the lost and found office several times. It makes me really sad, like no other mittens they've been such reliable friends when winter days are freezing. But the month ended with welcoming a fantastic cat dress.

Much of the professional month has been about the issue of my clouded heart, it has been a tough learning lesson, both professionally and on a personal level. But I do believe it ended on a light and hopeful note professionally. Did what I'd realised I must do to try and salvage the situation, followed by a good phone call. And now welcoming a new month in a better mood than I had thought I would only a few days ago.

Plus I have a fabulastic cat dress. And super soft hair.

Thank you, February, 
you have been a tough teacher, 
but with glimmers of sweetness.
Oh, March, you are much welcome 
to bring kindness and awesomeness galore!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

trying to illuminate my clouded heart

a tree of ❤️ lights, jakobsberg, stockholm suburb, sweden, february 2018

Almost four years ago I swore I would never feel so passionate about a brand that rejection, no matter how sweetly put, would break my heart. And even if a brand love story for 15 years isn't really comparable to these intense five plus months, this was a case of actually hard working with it for all these months. Add the fact that it wasn't a sweetly put rejection, but a pretty harsh dumping. - Not because we didn't do a great job, quite the opposite, but because of internal strifes and mismanagement.

I've been thinking a lot about the hip hype of being passionate about your work. It has really gotten to a ridiculous point when you read job ads these days. If you're passionate to that extent about every little paper clip, morning meeting and Excel sheet you will burn out in no time. And what's wrong with feeling reasonably detached from those things but still being adamant to do a great job? One doesn't rule out the other. Really. To rest your passion at work and save it for what really matters? How about having a pretty boring job that pays the bills and keep your other passions alive?

As soon as you feel passion you also open up to being really hurt. Be it in work, love, interests. Passions are scary.

But then again, better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all. A life without love and strong feelings would be a very poor life, as far as I'm concerned.

And when you are amidst them, at work, that feeling is pretty unbeatable. The passionate energy, the creativity, the ideas and when you share it with other people, you are unstoppable.

I've worked with clients whose businesses I've been neutral to, it has been a job, nothing more, nothing less, it has paid the bills. I've also worked with clients whose businesses I've shared the passion for. The latter has been so much more energizing and fun. But I also know I've been absorbed, engulfed, it's easy to get tunnel vision and disregard warning bells.

So while licking my wounds from all of this mess I've been contemplating that perhaps I need to simply look for clients and work that are more of the neutral kind for me. That never means I don't strive to do a great job, just that I'm able to keep a healthy distance to my job and leave the passion out of it. To rest my weary mind and heart a bit.

But then I thought about my quest of finding my kind of people, and how important a quest that is. And how essential it is that all of us do our bit to make this world a better place, and how passions do play a big part in that.

I was also reminded about this paragraph in the seance message - "Time is important and the older you get the more important it is. It passes quickly, just as life. Fill it with things you are really passionate about and disregard the rest. Difficult sometimes, but you will feel much better afterwards." Continue to burn, baby, burn.

So maybe I just need to work on not being as engulfed, channel my inner lawyer, close my eyes to tunnel vision, and stay strong and vocal when the warning bells chime. Simply demand, not just suggest, clear communication and straight talk. And not least, put everything to (digital) paper.

Having a tad distance to the hurt, the answer to what I need to do now came to me the other day. Now I know what the future Pia would thank me for, which I didn't know then. And the interesting thing is that I hadn't even mulled it over intensely, suddenly the answer was just there and available to pick. The brain, a wondrous thing.

As I briefly touched on recently, my career coaching gig has been really hard work for eight weeks, but 2/3 of it is pretty much done now. And fingers really tightly crossed the last third part will be this upcoming week.

Last week we had a lovely meeting full of laughters, about a possible internship with a company (one of Sweden's largest general dealers). When I gave them my business cards, and they oh and ah:ed over them, my mentee suddenly said "Well, Pia is a celebrity in Stockholm!". On which we laughed even more. It was such a sweet and unexpected thing to say.

And I have no idea where he had gotten that notion. Just because I'm reasonably easily googleable I would not in any single way call myself a celebrity. The mere word gives me shivers of unpleasantness and shallowness. But perhaps it was a confusion of tongues and he just meant he's grateful for all my hard work on his behalf. That kind of star status I can live with, and be proud of.

I'm thinking I should keep all those unexpected sweet things people say now and then written down in a special book, to look in when life give me lemons and I'm in no mood for lemonade, lemon pie or G&T. The "not many people can measure up to you" and "... one gets happy by looking at you." episodes definitely will be scribbled down in that book. And now my newly acquired celebrity status.

Plus someone recently said she had fallen in love with me the first time we met, I wore my darlin' owl dress, in a work situation. Not in the love-love sense of the word but just being very inspired and happy. It's so good and heart-warming to be reminded, now and then, from friends, family, acquaintances and strangers alike, that you do a pretty decent job of inspire and lift moods just by being who you are. Remember, dare to compliment and be grateful for the compliments you get.

Three short things before I sign off on this rambling post -

luddkolt’s british shorthair, february 2018 -

:: Someone suggested on Instagram, brilliantly so, that I should post a Swedish saying once per week and illustrate it with a cat picture. - It happened when I posted the above photo to illustrate "To have a fox behind one's ear" ie to be cunning. But surely having a cat on your back must mean you're even smarter? - Oh I will, simply too great a challenge to pass, wouldn't you agree?

:: Four months ago I was surprised by my own feelings and thought of "This is how it feels to finally have come home." when I met a person for the first time. I hope I will be able, and brave enough, to actually say and admit that to the person in question one day. I did say I would be braver in 2018, right? Right.

fresh organic turmeric, december 2017

:: With my vegan food ambassador gig I've come to adore fresh turmeric. I still find it tricky to find in the super market, so I relish it whenever there is loads of it in the food box. Negative, your hands and nails get really yellow and you can easily be mistaken for a serious nicotinist. But the positive, the flavour, colour and not least all the fantastic health benefits (much like fresh ginger). Dried turmeric is great too, but I prefer the fresh version which you grate in stews, risottos, soups and alike. (I actually grate it over soy sausages I fry too.) If you haven't tried it you should, it'll bring colour, flavour and health to every dish. Just don't go overboard if it's a dish with mild flavours, it can be a bit overpowering.

Happy cooking and a hearty week!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

vegan haircare products

vegan haircare, 2018 - maria nila

I don't know about you, but I'm a tad bit tired of thinking, writing, talking about the sadness and hurt over the project and team situation that went amuck. So from inside my head to literally outside we go - this will simply be a post about vegan haircare products, the good, the bad but never the ugly inside.

paul mitchell hair care revisited ❤️, august 2017 - and snoopervisor zigne

I used to use a lot of Paul Mitchell products, not really sure why I stopped. Because they were darlin', the Awapuhi shampoo, the carrot Detangler and the apple scented Super Sculpt gel were my favourites. As they've changed the design and the content isn't really obvious anymore it was a bit tricky to find the right gel - less than clever people at hair salons had no idea what I was talking about and instead tried to sell other brands... But Google was my friend in this case and I found it. Hooray.

And once I opened the bottles in the shower and used the products it was like coming home. It's so obvious high quality products, the Awapuhi shampoo has a delicious scent and the Detangler is still one of few conditioners that works well on my hair. I always end up looking like Ronia Robbersdaughter anyway, but for a while there's sleek softness and less bristle. The apple gel helps to tame too. Classic animal friendly products still going strong.

vegan skin/haircare -

Had the chance to try this vegan hair care range from Swedish brand disp. last year. First of all, the design of the bottles looks very cheap and outdated to me. The prices however is nothing but cheap. Hydrating shampoo and Conditioner plus a Healing mist. The scent of them all is very strong, luckily it's amazing, think fruit salad and exotic flowers with a dash of sweets shop. The shampoo is alright, but I wouldn't buy it again, for that price it needs to be great. The conditioner is rubbish, turned my hair into dry steel wool.

vegan skin/haircare -

I was really sceptical about the Healing mist, seems like a pretty superfluous product (but I guess you might need it after that conditioner experience...) to me. But guess what, it's lovely. Smells great, obviously, tames the wisps and makes them soft. I will definitely buy this product again, as I know the interior is something quite different from the ugly exterior.

Last but definitely not least there's the Swedish vegan brand Maria Nila - "Animals fill our lives with joy and laughter, and should therefore never be a part of a beautyproduct." They also climate compensate their packaging and plant a tree in Africa for every bottle sold. I'm happy to say that care for animals and the environment is matched by the content in the pretty bottles. Just with the Paul Mitchell products you can tell it's high quality from the first lovely scented dollop.

I thought the True Soft-series would be good for my hair and it really has been. The Head & Hair Heal masque I got only because the True Soft one wasn't available, and it's great. Even though the scent is a bit too after shave-ish for me. Next time I'll go all True Soft.

Funny thing is that it actually does make wonder for the softness of hair. Was talking with a friend about patronizing behaviour and she illustrated it with patting me on my head - and going a surprised "Gosh, how soft your hair is!" Where upon my reply naturally was "Yes, of course, True soft it is."

I'm pretty certain I can thank the fabulous soft haircare products for the recent few great job meetings I've had - I and my super soft hair, irresistable we are.

What are your favourite animal friendly hair care products?

Saturday, February 17, 2018


årstiderna organic vegan food box, january - february 2018 -

Did promise happy things, positive news or just plain silly matters, didn't I?

So let's start. Monday to Friday-ish - 

:: This week's amazingly colourful organic vegan food box made my heart sing! Add delicious, healthy and kind to the gorgeousness, there is truly only guilt-free happiness in plantbased food. I'll show you all the wonderful (with few exceptions) dishes I've cooked lately (as food ambassador on Instagram) soon. Still adore my little assignment.

fru marias bak, älvsjö, stockholm, sweden, february 2018

:: On Tuesday was Fat Tuesday = the importance of having a decent semla. Alas, no baking my own this year, but if you want to here's a decent recipe (vegan if you chose dairy-free butter and plantbased milk of course). I had mine at Fru Maria's Bak, it was lovely, but for the cow's cream. I've finally reached the stage where I'm pretty disgusted by the taste, constant notion of where it comes from, the vast cruelty behind it plus my tummy can't really deal with it anymore. 

Even if I've eaten 98% vegan for the last few years now I do believe I've reached the point where I really need to stick to the 100%. Both for conscience and health reasons. And it certainly isn't a sacrifice, it's a joy and you're just spreading more kindness in the world.

tulips, february 2018

:: I had a really good talk with a person who has been considerably more bruised and awfully treated by this mess, than I. And during that conversation she said so many sweet, kind and caring things - some of which made be blush, laugh and cry tears of relief afterwards, since she actually understood me - had I only got a tiny portion of that care and understanding, instead of patronising, from my (ex)team I would have been so grateful and things would have been very different now.

What we talked about and how we talked raised several questions for me, like

  • Do we really communicate so differently, women and men? Or is it just a coincidence when that happens?
  • Is the male ego more fragile than a woman's? Or is that simply an individual thing? 
  • Is it easier for women to have intellectual humility and a growth mindset than it is for men? To admit they've been wrong, misunderstood things, to apologize? To realize that's in fact a strength, not a weakness?
  • The need for straight talk, is it something prefered by women? Is circumscribing and mollycoddling more of a male thing?
Still, I do prefer to think of it as individual traits, that we all are shaped by our experiences, environment and genes, as individuals not by gender in general. But then again, this project has, in hindsight, been quite a social experiment regarding this. And I don't like what it has shown, so far. 

It's so strange to realise that the obvious patterns in this poisionous mess aren't seen by everyone. The master suppression techniques, the breach of labour laws. Where the blame, responsability and empathy should lay but aren't. Who needs a great big scolding and who doesn't. Is it female intuition? Is it a pathos for justice? Is it easier to look in another direction? Fear of conflict? Every man for himself? So many questions, a complete lack of answers and dialogue, only silence.

I said yes. I said no. I was disappointed. Frustrated. Angry. Hurt. My professional pride was steamrolled. I also promised to be braver in 2018. I said what needed to be said. Fortitude. Still, what broke my heart most in all this is how easily the team was divided, by things and people that shouldn't have been able to do that. Yet they did.

But again, grateful for having met them. It was amazing while it lasted. Wish it had continued. Still I'm proud of showing and telling how I felt, and feel. I wouldn't have been true to myself if I hadn't. And that is the most important thing always. It was my little way of braving the wilderness. If that makes me a bit inconvenient, then so be it.

sonny angel, february 2018

:: I've been working very hard on my coaching gig for these past 8 weeks, and I would lie if I didn't say it has been quite frustrating too. But it seems like, touch wood, things are finally on track as per Friday. Such a great way to end the working week. Especially concidering what happened a week ago

It's good to be reminded of the simple thing that at the end of the day, at the end of the week, I want to be able to say that I contributed more than I criticized

I've also come to realize that I'm actually a pretty decent facilitator. And that it is a trait of mine that was never really appreciated or understood in the project, never tapped into and fully made use of. We could have created magic together, with our different strengths. Ah well, it is what it is, their loss and a thorn in my heart. Back to the drawing board of figuring out where I'll contribute best with being myself.

And on fortitude, of course there is a Haevn song with that name. And it's beautiful. Naturally. I will roll into the weekend on that notion. A weekend of healing from the hurt a little bit more. Practise my resilience. And figuring out where I want to go from here.

PS. For me the natural thing would be to sit down face to face and talk this through properly. When the hurt and dust have settled a bit. The whys and hows. Set aside a day for it, don't stress it but focus. Talk and listen. And write things down. Is it possible to sort this out, rebuild the broken trust, move on, set a proper strategy? Phone calls are just poor poor substitutes for that. But the again, I'm the one with a strong preference for straight and clear communication. Noone else seem to be. DS

Sunday, February 11, 2018

talk to me

ågot and i, february 2018

This current and unexpected situation has really made me examined myself too. What I could have done differently over these past months, to better things. And apart from repeating, SCREAMING COMMUNICATION, PLEASE even more, I'm really clueless as to what I could have done. Asked more questions, demanded clarifications on intentions? Written confirmations on everything? Nagging? Such unpleasantry, nah.

Since we are, well, were, a remote team our communication has almost solely been via Slack, Trello, Skype and phone calls. And that puts extra demands on clarity and straight talk. When you can't see people's facial expressions, body language, look them in the eyes, you have to be extra careful about other people's views and feelings, what you can and can't do. You simply have to put in some extra effort with that. For me that's pretty darn basic.

Of course you can't go through life without never ever hurting other people's feelings. Or get hurt by other people. Part of life. Still, we can do our best to be kind, caring and insightful people. And please, never ever assume other people can read your mind.

As someone wise once told me - assume is short for making an ass of you and me.

I'm also thinking that I could have reacted in different ways when my cup finally runneth over. I could have called and demanded answers as to what the f was going on - not my style, hysteria is not my cup of emotional tea. Maybe it should be? Perhaps it clears the air? But it feels so uncomfortable and unproductive to me.

Instead I wrote a Slack message when I noticed they'd already dismissed the strategy, quality, TOV for something quite different before we had talked about it. What use was talking now? This was the last straw, so many different little things here and there have lead up to this. Small things that on their own would have been insignificant, but as a pattern painted an uncomfortable picture of not being able to trust the situation, the person anymore.

There has been so much drama all through this project, I was not aware of the full scope of it when I signed on. Looking back I would probably have done it anyway, because I would not have been able to grasp just how deep down a rabbit hole this would go. Surely we could have constructive meetings and talks about how to move forward in the best way, you know, grown up style? And nb, I'm saying this in a very unpatronizing way here. Ah, maybe I did ass-u-me to much?

I can't help but thinking back on my years working as a lawyer. All the decisions I had to make for other people, trying to get them to compromise, see their opponent's point of view, being yelled at, trying to keep my calm and explain the whys. Leaving that part of my professional life behind has been one of my best decisions in life. Still very happy I took my Master of Law degree, it has helped me in so many ways, made me see things differently, made me more versatile. But working as a lawyer, never again.

Still, sometimes I apparently find myself in some weird maelstrom of unprofessionalism forcing me to channel my inner lawyer. Which is the best way to try and see other people's reasons for acting in certain ways - as the saying goes, two lawyers, five different sides to a coin. But not even that channeling can make me feel less hurt. And it won't turn me in to a mind reader, alas.

Had I not been so involved in this, and hurt by the careless bulldozing, I can objectively see solutions. Steps that would possibly rectify. But those first steps are not mine to take. And not mine to spell out. I've said so so much already on different occasions.

It has been an intense journey and I'm so incredibly tired of feeling like a pawn. The one that's expected to be available when other people find the time in their schedules, because my time is obviously not as valuable. The inconsistencies of what's being said. I just can't be the greater person here, able to look past all this. Getting hurt and then cosset someone else's ego, gosh no. And obviously I'm the only one in the (ex)team who care about all of this anyway, everything communicates and silence is communication in itself.

There's a time for pride, for taking care of oneself's needs, for forgiveness. Life is short and I try to live by "What would the future Pia thank respectively reproach me for doing or not doing?" - but you know what, in this situation I have no idea what she would say.

The weekend has hold playing my theme song "Where the Heart is" countless of times. I also have a new favourite song - Talk to me by Thomas Azier. Smittened by his voice, the mix of 1980ies emo and 1930s decadence dressed in a 21st century costume.

"Talk to me, talk to me,
tell me how you really feel.
Talk to me, talk to me,
tell me what is fake and what is real."

Life would be so much better and distinctively less complicated if people just communicated better, and didn't just bulldozed forward, wouldn't you agree?


PS Next time I need to blog about happy things, positive news or just plain silly matters. Promise. DS

Friday, February 09, 2018

the unexpected let down

blood grapefruit, 2017

Oh how quickly things can change. Unfortunately my cool cat attitude didn't even last a week until I was treated in a very unprofessional and careless way, by someone I still thought was part of The Team.

Even if things changed a lot in the beginning of January. And then the project abruptly came to a halt at the end of the month, I still thought our little team were on the same page. That we would, given the currently very special circumstances, continue to treat eachother with respect and in the loop as much as possible.

And the fact that just being who I am, the way I am, my experiences, my special USP skill set, has been of a unique fit all through this, well, surely my hard work - naturally alongside everyone else's hard work, one of the nicest thing about this project and our fine team has been that our respective strengths and weaknesses have complimented eachother oh so well - and presence will be as valued as it has seemed to be, when we get through the currently bumpier ride than ever?

Turned out I was wrong.

I've tried to keep an open mind, accepted behaviours, the lack of clear communication, for some time now, that there's more than meet the eye, personal issues, stress, we all have bad days and so forth. But my cup runneth over this past week. I can't be expected to be a mind reader, knowing what's going on behind the scenes, in someone else's mind. How they see or not see the future, if they've changed their mind, path, loyalty. And here I am, no longer a cool cat, in this aspect, I'm just a sad, hurt cat. An angry, frustrated cat.

When I began writing about this, it ended up being a very long, cronological post. However I don't think that's very interesting, for anyone but myself. But if you're interested in how the marketing project journey began this September post is a good start.

This week most of the hard work I've put in to set a consistent on brand, high quality and attention to details standard for copy, photos, TOV and strategy in communication and social channels were basically reduced to meaninglessness.

When I pointed that out, in less strong words but nevertheless clearly that enough is enough for me now, I didn't get the least bit of professional courtesy, civil explanation or something like sorry, it wasn't the intention but... You now, how it works in a decent team. Instead I was told that

a) "We can talk, that's what grown-ups do." 

- Don't, just don't, say that to the one and only person who has all along been grown-up and insisted on straight talk, better communication, regular team updates all through the project. Don't say that to the person who has worked with communication all her life. The one who knows the importance of communication, communication, communication.

b) "No need to be upset just because someone does things differently." 

- Words that spring to mind are patronising, and shudder, mansplaining even. And obviously the situation is not that simple. I'm not that childish.

To be honest I can't believe it's the same decent person that seemed to value and appreciate my work, company and input so much. Whom I had such fun with. Now simply acting like a careless bull in a china shop. In a totally unprofessional way. (Although I'm not sure a bull in a china shop can ever be professional.)

These six months have, needless to say, been very intense. We've had such incredible fun, meaningful discussions, banters on fire, cool, quirky plans, silly nicknames, shared goals and a lot of energy, been frustrated and angry together, worked and played together so well.

With our refreshing mix of differences and similarities it was an unexpected friendship I had come to value. I got the impression of a caring, kindred oddball spirit. I mean, the offer to fly over "because Pia needs the support" and we are a team, that was one of the nicest thing someone has ever done for me. But now suddenly, that is simply a not so distant memory. Trust broken.

I also want to mention that trust is created, and earned, by what you say and most of all by what you do. Not by what you think, and don't share. I thought we suffered through this project turned lopsided together, and that we had other grand plans to be realized on the other side of it all.

Everything we do communicates. And to not communicate, that is communication in itself. Patronising and mansplaining speak even louder. I seem to have lost my team, as I've come to value so much, this week. I also seem to have lost a person I appreciated and thought I would work and play with in many more projects to come. And that hurts. A lot.

Perhaps it just wasn't my time to be a cool cat. My tribe is still out there somewhere, that much I know. And I've grown, learnt, changed and become a better person through all of this. I'm forever deeply, deeply grateful for that.

I still believe what's meant to be will be. I will now continue to lick my wounds from this experience for a while. But who knows what fantastic things, opportunities and people who are out there waiting to cross paths with me?

February, can you please, pretty please, show your kind and benevolent side now?
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