While in New York this past weekend we stayed at The Chelsea to celebrate my 30th birthday and it was amazing. We stayed in Room 822. All I can say is there is nothing else like it…
I had dinner at Djuret in Gamla Stan with my friend Candice on Tuesday night. Djuret means “The Animal” in Swedish and the restaurant’s concept is to serve meat from only one type of animal each week. It’s a more sustainable and humane way to serve meat, but certainly not a place for vegetarians. We had a traditional Swedish Goose Dinner for the first time, including Swedish “Black Soup.” Which I later found out is actually blood soup. Sneaky Swedes…
One aspect of Swedish culture that I have become all too familiar with is Stambyte. Stambyte is a grueling process to modernize old building in which all of the plumbing is completely ripped out and replaced. Which means that bathrooms and kitchens are completely non-functioning… because they are demolished. It also means that your home is unlivable during the entire process and that everything you own must be packed up and moved out because of the dust from the demolition. Oh, and it can take anywhere from three to six months, but no one can say for sure until everything is ripped out.
So… guess who spent the past three months living at Henrik’s mother’s house? Luckily, I survived and am happy to report that we are finally back in our apartment in Stockholm and we don’t have to worry about it anymore. At least not for the next 30 years…
Most Swedish food I quite enjoy, but recently I experienced something so horribly disgusting that the smell still lingers every time I think of it. Surströmming is fermented herring, sold in cans, with an overwhelming smell that is so bad it has to be eaten outdoors. As surströmming is quite a traditional and ceremonious dish, I did try it. But that is enough for me, thank you very much.
I saw De Ofrivilliga (Involuntary) by Swedish director Ruben Östlund last night. After 6 months in Sweden I could definitely pick up on the subtleties of the uncomfortable yet very realistic Swedish dialogue in the film. And seeing as the film is a study of peer pressure in Swedish society, I love the unconventional way in which it was shot: framing each scene as if you are there, but slightly distanced, like a passive participant in the situation… who does nothing.
- Kayla: Auntie Sarah, I don't want you to go back to Sweden.
- Me: I know, honey. But I'll be home for Christmas and I'll see you then.
- Kayla: Hmm... will you bring me a present?
- Me: If you are good...
- Kayla: Well, Barbies or Polly Pockets - okay?
We’re leaving for the country house today, driving down to Västervik (three hours south of Stockholm). The house is situated on a peninsula that jets out into the Baltic Sea and looks out onto the Swedish archipelago. It is heaven to us in the summer and for the rest of July we will enjoy a whole lot of absolutely nothing… ah, can’t wait. See you back in Stockholm in August!
Fun night at Berlin STHLM in Söder with Candice and Emily.
Berlin is one of my faves for dinner and drinks. There are only a handful of tables and they don’t take reservations, so you have to be a bit lucky to get a table. But once there, you can relax and order small plates and wine all night long while the bar crowds up behind you. The vibe reminds me a bit of Les Enfants Terribles in LES - cozy and laid back but always lively.
And hopefully it helped our case for trying to convince Candice to move down to Söder…
Gilda is one of my favorite cafes, just steps from our apt in SOFO area of Södermalm near Nytorget. The place is so adorable and girly - I want to move in. Plus, the coffee is great and the lovely mini pastries and chocolate croissants are to die for!
Yesterday was a gloomy, rainy day in Stockholm - which served as the perfect opportunity to get things done around the apt - like finally hanging these photographs by our friend Nicho Södling, a talented Swedish fashion and lifestyle photographer. ”Vanity of Man” is his first showing and we fell in love with these pieces.
You can read more about Nicho and “Vanity of Man” in the press release below:
Vanity of Man
Fashion from nothing: unique fashion portraits of people from tribes of the Omo river delta in soutwestern Ethiopia by photographer Nicho Södling.
Time flies, fashion changes, trends come and go. Only our human vanity remains.
Is that really so?
Well, the accute vanity and passionate pre-occupation with personal looks and appaearances was the single most powerful impression that struck Swedish fashion and lifestyle photographer Nicho Södling when he traveled in the remote, previously isolated Omo delta in Southwestern Ethiopia, near the Sudanese border, visiting the tribes of Bena, Karo, Hamer, Surma, Besheda and Mursi - people whose contact with the outside world has been sparse and whose lifestyles in many ways remain much the same as during the Stone Age.
Nicho, whose father is Ethiopian, was taken by how, despite the tremendous cultural differences between these tribespeople and his own Swedish contemporaries, the similarities were even much more apparent - not least in the pure vanity and eagerness to express status and cultural belonging through looks and fashion. In fact, these people, who have very little, seemed if not more obsessed with fashion and looks than ourselves, who have it all. Certainly, their creativity and skills in expressing themselves through their appearances were much greater. No stylist, hair stylist, make-up or tattoo artist could come close to matching the stunning power and beauty of these looks. Our “urban tribes” all appear quite stale, tame and pathetic in comparison.
Nicho Södling has conducted two extensive photographic expeditions through the vast Omo delta, shooting a volumnious suite of portraits of tribespeople. Mostly photographed in classic manner against a white backdrop, all on mid-format celluloid film, his portraits really capture the energy, elegance, pride, urgency, pain and glamour of these looks, allowing the outrageous personal expressions to speak for themselves.
The exhibition at Abectita corsettfabrik konstmuseum in Borås is the first time that Nicho Södling’s unique suite of portraits is shown in public, in a series of 52 prints, many in large and some in monumental formats.
Sorry for another long silence. I’ve had a string of weird health problems over the past couple of months - nothing too serious, but enough to distract me from everyday life.
First, my right eye swelled up like a tennis ball. For no reason. There was no pain or bruising - I just woke up one day looking like a cyclops. Henrik and I spent all of midsummer’s eve at the eye hospital waiting to see a doctor. 9 hours later we were called to the exam room… and of course the swelling had gone down by the time we saw the doctor. Apparently I had suffered a severe allergic reaction to something, although I have no idea what it was.
A couple weeks later I came down with a bad of case of strep throat. And then the next day with viral meningitis (a painful infection of the brain)! I even had to have a spinal tap, which certainly was not my most pleasant experience in Sweden. But now I am feeling better and ready to enjoy the Swedish summer - and hopefully stay healthy!