Saturday, December 21, 2013

Initial Thoughts Upon Being Back in The United States

The language. 
I feel like I'm eavesdropping on everyone because I CAN ACTUALLY UNDERSTAND WHAT PEOPLE AROUND ME ARE SAYING. I keep reminding myself that though I can comprehend, these are not my conversations and no one needs me to add anything. But it's hard, you know. 

The radio! Driving! 
These are things I have missed. I find myself taking the long way around so I can get in more music time. There is a song by Rihanna and Eminem--something about a monster--that is on every other station, every other song I swear it. There is also some Lady Gaga and (dirty raper--not missing a P) R. Kelly song that I change in protest each time I hear it. I may be checking in on the Top 40 crap, but I'm doing it with a conscience. Also, some radio station's touting itself as giving the "most free money." Is that what listening to the radio's about these days?

Speaking of driving.
People are rampantly TEXTING while doing it. And this is not illegal! I'm sure it just gets worse when everyone's driving around from Christmas party to cocktail spot to other cocktail spot (read: drinking and driving, yo it happens big time here) and texting to keep in touch while on the road. Drunk driving and texting is pretty much about the scariest thing I can think of. Ugh. Shame on youse.

Which reminds me.
The St. Louis accent exists. I have tried to put my finger on what it entails exactly, though it screams to me when I hear it. In discussing with others, however, we determined it's nasal vowels ("hockey" is something more like "hah-kee" with the "hah" straight up your nose), hard D's and T's when they start words, and dropped Gs when they're at the end of a word (goin', runnin'). It all combines in a way that someone described as goose-like. Yep, it's true. St. Louisans sound like geese. Gives new meaning to the term "honkies." Oh, and this number: 44? Lots of locals say "farty far." No joke!

I am tricking out my words and phrases in a most creative and confused way--because I am here with the natives! I had to remind myself to just "say it right" the other day. Because it's probably pretty annoying to be around me and my dancing mouth.

The televisions. 
Why is there a TV bloody everywhere?? We had lunch at a Vietnamese spot today and I found myself lost in the electronic visions above the bar. Boo. Put that shit away. TVs just de-class everything. Someone told me there are even TVs above urinals in some places. I have not seen this myself nor will I be checking. But seriously, you can't whiz without missing a minute of the game?!

Sunday, December 8, 2013


You know, in the past months...

Baby Daisy wonders why my "drool bib" is so dry.

I call this one the "collar prowler."

A snack on the shoulder.

Grandma's vintage locket.

Ol' creepy clown is still creepy as ever.

Mushroom Hunting

We're truly getting into the Swedish swing of things and, come fall, that means mushroom hunting.  We were lucky enough to be invited by the lovely Daniel and Judyta to Tyresta National Park to get our mushroom on.

First, about the park.  It's only about 20 minutes outside of Stockholm, but it feels like you're in the middle of nowhere once you start a-wanderin'.  There was a terrible fire in the park some years ago (it basically sounds like a dumb tourist version of Mrs. O'Leary's cow) so there's a great expanse that's burned out and surreal.  Daniel and JD referred to it as the "dinosaur forest."  It was stunning.

After arriving at Tyresta, our hosts showed us what to look for, handed us baskets, and off we went!  We stuck to chanterelles, so we focused our eyes on spotting those and weeding out the impostors (not poisonous--don't worry).  Mushroom hunting is quite a zen activity.  You wander, getting lost in every little thing on the forest floor.  Sometimes it feels like you're looking at one of those "magic" 3D posters that were so infuriating popular in the '90s.  Things aren't always what they seem--until they are and you've stumbled on a "mushroom village" as we got to call them.  It's like your eyes change focus and suddenly all of these mushrooms pop out where there were none.  The little fellows seem to be quite social, huddling in patches for the most part.  Of course, there were also many loners that did not go unpicked.

We each went our own direction, sometimes staying relatively near to each other--other times, losing ourselves entirely until someone whistled or shouted for a response.  Again, zen.  We rested first for a fika with banana bread and coffee.  Then later to eat our prize meal--hokkaido pumpkin soup supplemented with the day's mushroom catch.  Noms.

And the best part?  Our gracious hosts shared their bounty with us at the end of the day.  So even these nubes went home with full baskets.

No leaning tree shall be unturned, declares B!

The season's must-have accessory: a mushroom basket.

I knew well enough not to pick the gooey bark sludge.  (Though I have eaten similar stuff in China and it's damn good.)

Our crew crossing the bridge in the birch forest.

<3 birch.="" p="">

Our chef, sautéing the mushrooms to be added to the pumpkin soup.

Delicious, delicious pumpkin soup with fresh chanterelles.

The scene from where we stopped to eat in the "dinosaur forest."

The next day, we cleaned all of the mushrooms (with a soft brush) and I got to cooking!

Baked eggs with goat's cheese and chanterelles.  Oh, and bacon on the side.

And for dinner, it was galettes with sautéed mushrooms and garlic.  Yummy!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Minju Kim

This coat.

I mean, right?

This coat stops traffic.  I make all kinds of new friends when I wear it.  Even the Swedes, who do not warm up to outsiders so easily, find themselves crossing streets or shops to ask me where the coat is from.  This woman was snapping photos of me (er, the coat) like crazy at a Marimekko party the other night, and I actually had one iota of a sense of how annoying it would be to go through life like that.  (Poor Kim Kardashi... wait.  NO.)

And do you know where it's from?  H&M.

Yeah, buddy!  H&M.  Over here (and in other selected big cities), H&M has all sorts of edgy and trendy get-ups.  And things that are produced in small runs.  (Ask me about my goat-skin fringed leather jacket made in Turkey...) Like this coat.  There were only four of them in all of Sweden.  How's that for exclusive?  I'm certain there were less than 1000 made.  F-A-N-C-E.

Anyway, the designer is Minju Kim and she won the H&M design award this year.  Her collection was sold in selected H&M stores, as well as in Opening Ceremony in the US.  I will post more pics from the  other pieces I bought from her collection (stay tuned for the "monster hug cape") as I wear 'em, but for now you can see more here.  God, it's like she was designing for me.

Back to the coat... real quick, the pink skirt-y part in the back zips off so it can be a relatively less-kooky item, made up of only two mis-matched wool blend jacquard fabrics.  I know... AND it's convertible??  This coat is tops.


Shots from the past couple of months.

If I were guaranteed an open elevator every day, there would be way more of these shots.  

Great vintage print on a blouse from Melora.

One day I looked down and this was the scene.

And another day, it was this.

This shirt would be at the top of my list simply for being made of sequins.  But if those sequins are in the pattern of some awesome candy brands?!?  You're right, it's genius.   

St. Sebastian-inspired tights from the lovely French brand Les Queues de Sardines.  (By the way, THESE.)

Staying Warm in Stockholm

Cochino knows all the tricks.

Blocking out the draft on a furry rug.

Burying yourself under the blankets.

Staying in linear formation.

Using the lamp for heat.

Drinking with friends.

Keeping cozy with one eye open.

Sunday, November 24, 2013


It's 3:06 pm and the sun is setting.  But I really don't mind.  I've still got beef with Stockholm, sure (the disproportionate ratio of full-body checks to utterances of ursäkta and the overpriced food and drink for starters) but I've really mellowed.  You know why?  Because we've met some really swell people in the past week.  People we jive with, people doing cool stuff, people including us in things, people who you want to stick around and have another drink with, people who make you feel creative because they are creative.  I think we're on the cusp of something here.  It feels like some of these people are gonna end up our super-awesome homedogs.  And everybody needs some homedogs, amiright?  I don't know why the universe waited until last week to throw ALL of the best people in Stockholm our way, but I'll take it.  I'm gonna try to ride out this warm and fuzzy new-friendship feeling as long as I can, though I guess it'll just get warmer and fuzzier if some of these new groupings become old ones.  Anyway... thanks, universe.


Homemade yums.

Berry tart with oat crust.

Throwing Kanye the bones.

Cashew and garam masala granola.

Just like grandma used to make--but now gluten-free!

Local shapes.

Sweet potato, sausage, and quinoa shepherd's pie.

'Naner pancakes.

Chocolate chip cookies with hemp seeds.

Mozzarella and olive "eyeballs" for Halloween.

Merengue-y goodness.  (Disclaimer:  store-bought.)

Berbere-spiced kale stew with cornbread muffins.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


Inspired by a plate at the swell Mary Celeste in Paris, this mess is some spicy ålg (moose) ragu over polenta.  

It tasted much better than it looked.  That or I've got to start getting out the fancy camera to better photograph this food.  Yes, I think so.

Another one that should have warranted the fancy cams.

I found the cutest local Swedish pears (pretty sure they're of the seckel variety), which were just about egg-sized.  I baked 'em with walnut oil and maple syrup and served 'em with toasted walnuts and Turkish yogurt.

I think baked fruit is gonna be my new go-to dessert.

One Outfit, Four Photos

I know I've worn this top before, but whatever.  It's that good.

Top H&M, pants old UO samples, jacket Les Fées de Bengale (RIP), necklace vintage, shoes I forget...

Sainte Jean de Montmartre

Turns out I prefer the other church in the Montmartre area.

Spare yourself the throngs of tourists and spend a little time in Sainte Jean de Montmartre instead.  The mosaic work is wonderful and there was just enough stuff crumbling or peeling to make me appreciate it all the more.