Thursday, March 30, 2017

March Books

March is the month of expectation. The month has felt so long, mostly because I can't wait for a more springlike weather and some sunshine, but also because I've been sick for a couple of weeks. Not like full on sick, but just not feeling 100%. It's getting better though.

Anyway, I was supposed to document my thoughts on the books that I read this March.


I was in a mood for something light and fluffy and picked up Sophie Kinsella's latest book "My (not so) Perfect Life. Kinsella is best known for the Shopaholic series, which I loved way back when. This book was a super quick read. The story is simple and quite predictable, but I didn't mind, because I didn't pick up this book hoping for anything deep and complicated. It was fun chicklit. 


Fredrick Backman's "A Man Called Ove" has been a best-seller for a while. I've been hearing about this book for maybe a year, and been intrigued. It's by a Swedish writer, and became a spectacular success. The book is about a man, Ove, who is the type of man (serious, responsible, rule-follower, stubborn, old fashioned) that is a somewhat common type in the older generation is Scandinavia. I compared him much to my own father, actually. Not the same of course, but there was surprising amount of similarity. The book was quite emotional, and funny. In the end it was about emerging from grief and depression, hope, and your purpose in life. If I had one complaint about the book, it was the age of Ove. The author tells us that he is in his late fifties. I think the character would have felt more authentic if he was older, more like in his seventies. 


Jukka Viikilän "Akvarelleja Engelin Kaupungista" sai kaunokirjallisuuden Finlandia palkinnon viime vuonna. Odotin kirjalta siis paljon, mutta petyin kun se ei täyttänytkään odotuksiani. Edellinen lukemani vuonna 2014 Finlandia palkinnon saanut kirja, "He Eivät Tiedä Mitä Tekevät", oli mielestäni loistava. Viikilän kirjaa en ymmärtänyt ollenkaan. Se oli unenomainen ja runollinen, mutta ei hyvällä tavalla. Mielestäni kirja oli jotenkin kikkaileva ja teennäinen. Olin toivonut oppivani Helsingin historiaa ja siirtyväni Engelin aikakauteen sitä lukiessani, mutta ehkä en vaan päässyt kirjaan kunnolla sisälle. Se hyvä tässä kirjassa oli että se oli lyhyt. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Recently

Celebrated a friend's birthday with a girls' dinner in this outfit. 
Had a great dinner at a Mexican Restaurant Besito. #fringes

Woke up many mornings with this cutie pie next to me in the bed. 
She stopped coming to my bed a year or so ago, and now she's been back. #lovingit


Had lunch with this cutie pie on another occasion. #minniemouse

Said lunch involved two of these for me. It was a fun lunch. #afternooncrash

Received a package with birthday present for the 9-year old and goodies for the rest of us, and this card, which is obviously a picture of our family as cats. #kitties

Decided to take better care of my skin. Proceeded to put on a this sheet mask and scare everyone. #fridaythe13th

Celebrated a friend's kid's birthday and had these two beauties with me. #teenagersarethebest

Spent a snow day working, shoveling and creating a snow sculpture. 
Sooo much fun making this. #middlefinger

The family spent snow day sculpting clay. That was a lot of fun too. #sculptors

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Fempowerment

This year the International Women's Day is getting more exposure in the US, and it's all thanks to Trump, and women being up in arms about equal rights because of him. There was a movement to stay home from work today, although I'm not sure how widespread that was. I did not stay home, but I did wear red for support. Most of my colleagues seemed to be at work too.

Anyway, since I work in the financial industry, I was really happy to hear about what State Street Global Asset Management did to draw attention to the issue and put pressure on firms to include more women in their boards. There was a number of news articles out about this, but this piece from
Fortune is a good one.

SSGA sponsored a piece of guerrilla art in downtown Manhattan, a little bronze statue of a girl, placed opposite the charging bull on Broadway. The girl is staring down the bull in a power pose. A brilliant move by SSGA to highlight an important issue in a very creative way.

And since I work close to the site of the bull and the girl, I of course went to see it today. There was quite a crowd around it, taking pictures and checking out the little girl.



Now if only these large asset managers would put their money behind this as well, and stop investing money in companies that don't have at least one woman in their boards. It is a better business and investing decision as well - there is a ton of research that proves that companies with more diverse boards provide better returns and are more profitable in the long run.

There is still a long way to go to true equality, but I'm so very happy that this movement has taken foot.

Happy International Women's Day!

Friday, March 3, 2017

The Knit Scarf

I may have mentioned that I love to knit. I'm not a very skilled knitter, and knit only the simplest of things, usually scarves. My motive in knitting is to enjoy the repetitive process, keep my hands busy, and let my mind relax. Sometimes I actually finish something that I start, like this little scarf. It only took me a few months to make. But it was a fun process. I'm already itching to start another one in a different color.



I found instructions for this scarf on this Finnish blog: Nonnu Neuloja 


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Long Island Children's Museum

My kids love going to the Long Island Children's Museum and are always as excited to go there even though we've been there a few times. It's a great place for a rainy day, or if you just need to spend some quality time together. Last week we went to the LICM theater for the first time and the girls really enjoyed the play, Princess Frog, which was a musical show based on the Italian fairy tale "The Prince who Married a Frog". After the show the girls ran straight into their favorite room in the museum, the bubble room, where you can actually stand inside a soap bubble.







Scream

Mona Lisa

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

February's Book - Americanah

In February I finished only one book and it was a good one. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Americanah. It gets four and a half stars on Amazon, and has been a best seller since it came out in 2014. It's the first book I read from this author and I was very impressed. She has a nice clean writing style and a lot of very insightful social and race commentary. The book is a love story and a story of immigration and return to the homeland. Adichie is Nigerian, highly educated in the U.S., and writes about African people and culture. For me it was somewhat eyeopening to read this book, and I'm almost ashamed to say that I was so ignorant about current day Africa that it changed my view of it a little. We only hear about the catastrophes, genocides, starvation, and wars, and not enough about the every day life of Africans. I will definitely read more of her books to educate myself, and expect it to be a fun and rewarding educational experience. She has also emerged as a speaker for women's rights, delivering the TED talk (which I've yet to see - but will watch soon, with my 14-year old daughter) "We should all be feminists", the title which was famously taken for the Dior t-shirt, and parts of which were used  for a Beyonce song. I will definitely be interestedly following her career to see what she does or writes next.


Monday, February 27, 2017

Happy Monday

Is Monday anyone's favorite day? It's certainly not mine. Yes it's the start of a new week and an opportunity to start over. But it's usually just so dreary and boring, and too far from Friday. Today I decided to make my Monday a little bit better. I was tired from being up half the night watching the Oscars - Can you BELIEVE that snafu with the best film award?? So embarrassing and unfortunate, and kind of exciting at the same time, although I was really disappointed that La La Land didn't win best picture. Anyway, I wanted to have a little bit fun today, so I forced myself to get out at lunch and went to the new Eataly downtown. I've been there once before, for a dinner with a friend, but this time I went alone to explore. And I have to say it was just the mood boost I needed. I made a promise to start going there every Monday :-)

This time I took so long exploring, that I took the food back and ate at my desk at work, but next time I'll eat over there. 

Some cookies for the kiddos at home, and a yummy Italian Olive oil hand lotion for the office for me. 

New favorite spot - so happy this is close to my office!