perjantai 30. joulukuuta 2011


I was now going to write about what I'm planning to do next year. But I figured it would be nice to recap what I've done in 2011. It is after all the year of the Rabbit. And today (it's 03.22am, 31.12.11) is the last day of 2011. I'm gonna go to the movies with my BFF. We're gonna see Tintin (me again) and right after that the new Sherlock Holmes movie. Later we'll go have dinner and then it's nightclub time =) BOUNCEBOUNCEBOUNCE! (I love that song).

In 2011 the first 'outrageous' thing I did was dye my hair blonde. I had been a honey blonde when I was a teenager, but this time it was different. I have build a certain look and reputation of myself in my mind (and hopefully it comes across), and I was afraid that by swapping my brown hair to blonde I'd lose all my attitude and credibility and become the 'dumb blonde'. People would look at me differently and think that I'm relying purely on looks rather than on intelligence. It's a horrible stereotype, but even I think like that occasionally. I was a little prejudice against blondes when I was brunette. But I got to admit, the telly and celebrities make it seem like blondes really are stupid. Imagine one person (in this case a blonde) ruins it for everybody --_-- 
But I wanted to try out how blonde hair would suit me, after my Tinker Bell halloween costume had been a success. So I began a honey blonde again, and have been lightening my hair since. I'm never going like platinum blonde (YUK! Those people are not even real blondes, more like hello pornstar and cheap orange tan) but I keep it light and natural.

In February I began my last semester in College, I mean it was my 3rd year and 2dn semester. I started working on my Independent Studies 'Mind Machine', which is still going and evolving. I spend most of the winter working on the look and theme of 'Mind Machine'. In short I finally began to believe in my own authenticity and painting style instead of trying to copy other artists or ignoring my own needs as an artist. One of my tutors especially was very encouraging and he helped me to realize my own talent. 
I also got my very first tattoo =) I had been planning getting one 6-8 months and finally I found the image and the spot to ink it onto. I'll show you the tattoo and write about my experience on getting the first tattoo little later. I booked the time 3 weeks earlier and when the big day came (24.02), I was so scared. I was like excited scary, but even so I was shaking. I had a friend coming with me, she had gotten her first tattoo at the same parlou too. Everything went well and I love my tattoo =)

A month later in March I cut my hair really short xD I had had short hair before (Sailor Saturn style), and a pixie cut the year before, but this was something else. I'm really gonna miss Gemma at Wicked Hair in Worcester. She really knew her stuff and gave me really good hair advices. I left the salon with this ultra cool hair (the right side was left longer) <3  

During spring break (late March- early April) I went to London with my boyfriend. My little sister and her boyfriend came in the next day and we showed them around (Westfield mostly). On April Fool's day mom and dad came to London as well. We spend the whole day together, having japanese food at Toku, shopping on Regent st. and Fortnum & Mason. We ended our daytrip at Harrods. In the evening we headed to Worcester via train. This was the first time mom and dad came to see me in the UK (2,5y living in the UK). I was so happy to spend the whole weekend with my family <3 My BF left on saturday evening and mom and dad left the next morning. So my little sister and her boyfriend came to bunk in my room (uni halls) for the sun-mon night. This was one of the most happiest times I had this year.

A little after this trip, my boyfriend and I broke up. This was the second time. He had his issues and I wasn't keen on meeting his requests. He is still very much in my life, but I could never imagine getting back with him again. 

By May I had made 70 A3 painting for 'Mind Machine'. And the hand-in was May 5th. I went to celebrate with my friends and had my very first shot of Tequila xP
Some where in April and May I had become obsessed with Naruto O_o
I am still very very very obsessed with Naruto, manga and anime series. I'm a Kakashi girl (squeal), but I find Naruto as the most interesting and deepest manga/anime character of all time! Smile no jutsu!

 Before Uni was out RJOkami helped me with my small scale installation project (ceramics course) which I had randomly arranged on our new city campus' yard. Yeah we were kinda playing it on a grey sunday afternoon (right after the Eurovisions). She also came with me to my year group's final art show 'Shift' =) We spend an entire semester and a course building our art show, in the end it turned out rather good. It was nice to see all our hard work pay up. And it was only a week away till I would move back to Helsinki.                                                                             

During the last weekend of May, I was packing all my stuff etc when Nina from the Yoke and Zoom, from the Movement gallery contacted me. She was interested in vieweing 'Mind Machine' at her gallery. We met and discussed about my work and their gallery etc and agreed that we'd show paintings from 'Mind Machine' when I'd come back to Worcester in November to graduate.
I was ecstatic O_O I never imagined I would get a show straight out of college! I am very grateful for that opportunity. On May 30th I moved back to Helsinki.

Basically I was working (waitressing, part-time) the whole summer. I also spend a great deal of time designing and building my own website. It took me a long long time to learn how to use Dreamweaver CS5. Thank God for Timothy as createthenet on Youtube! 
The summer was hot, just the way I like it <3 and I was happy to be back in Helsinki. I began to develop 'Mind Machine' further and I changed its initial theme during this time.

Late August I went to see Batman Live World Tour in London at the O2 arena. My BF and I spend 3 days in London =) I believe that some day I'm going to be living in London..

On September my little sister went back to Dundee with her BF. Their second year. Hence I got our room to myself. Our parents have a small appartment (our home) so we have shared our room for like...almost 15 years. We are close so no problem there xP
Since I'm a freelancer artist, there hasn't been much art related jobs or stuff going on in my life yet. I've just been paiting and researching and reading.
In late September my friend from Germany came to Helsinki. We spend a fun saturday night out with her and her friends =D

Almost a month later, in October, I finally published my website. I managed to solve all the final problems and got FutureQuest as my host. Pheewwff it took me a loooong time, but I couldn't be happier that I did everything myself =D Kudos for doing things youself!
I also celebrated my birthday in late October. In college I had costume Bday parties. 1st year it was 'Clowns, Jokers, Jesters, Harleyquins etc', 2dn year '21, no costumes' and 3rd year 'Cliché Vampires' xP This year I just went to have Japanese with a few close friend. No costume, well I was wearing a crown and a sash that said 'Birthday Girl'. xD

It was our graduation in November. I went to Worcester on Tuesday the 1st to arrange my show, pick up work from the studio etc. It was so good to see my friends again (we live all around Finland, so this was like the last time we would be really gathering for months, for years even). I had such a hangover on wednesday morning X_X I had booked a room for myself and I had 3h to have a shower, get myself ready, have breakfast and collect my bones to check out. URGH!
Mom and Dad came later that day when I was invigilating the show (and this is why I'll never drink past midnight ever again). Evening followed by more pubbing. =D
My graduation was on thursday afternoon =) I went to Wicked Hair in the morning (unfortunately no Gemma) to get my hair done. It rained a bit when I made my way to campus to pick up my robe and our tickets. Unfortunately my little sister and her BF couldn't come =( but it was nice to have mom and dad there <3 They were very excited. People were like gushing over how the hat and the robes reminded them of Harry Potter. I didn't think so, until I was inside the Worcester Cathedral and we were called up on the stage to receive our degree certificates =^_^= Very HP guys! -> Me threw da hat!
At the reception I met with my friends and my tutor, it was truly a wonderful ceremony <3 After a quick change we went to view my show. It was a joint show with my two peers called 'The Graduate'. Mom and dad seemed very proud of my work. Dad was very dazed and he later admitted that it had been such a wonderful day that it'd take him time to fully process it xP Then we went to ASK to have dinner. It was funny, I found them later at the same pub I was with my friends xD Before they left, dad brought me mom's leftover pitcher of ''Marzipan'', amaretto, southern comfort, rum and something else. Boys drink everything, but even my friends found it way too sweet xDD I will remember this day 4ever! <3

On friday noon we set out to London. We had an a-may-zaahh hotel-appartment reserved right next to Trafalga sq. O_O It was a nice sunny day to take the train from Worcester to London. We even had little time in the morning to walk around Worcester city centre =) In London though, my parents were very tired and the new Japanese restaurant I had looked up for us, didn't open until 6pm (we were hunry at 4pm). On our way to a Chinese restaurant, mom tripped and scratched her knee pretty badly, she had just scratched the same knee on the previous week. =( Not a good start for our weekend. We winded up in Bella Italia. To me our hotel was just a stone thrown away from Leicester and Piccadilly, so we agreed that mom and dad would go back to Citadines and I'd go shopping. To be honest, I felt like at home in London. I just felt myself sigh in pleasure thinking 'I'm in London again'.

We had a really nice time in London. And this time mom and dad got a good look at London =) In April we were just hanging in Piccadilly, but this time we went to Covent Garden and just walked around and explored. In the evening we went to see the Queen Musical 'We Will Rock You'. I had already seen it in 2009, and I liked it very much back then. Mom was soo excited xDD She and I were clapping and waving during the song and just having fun xP But dad had no idea where he had ended up and kept fidgeting in his seat --_-- He was happy when the show was over and we went to the Sherlock Holmes pub/rest. It was next to Citadines. as well.
Later I discovered that RJ had been at the musical as well, she was sitting near the front, and we were sitting at the back xD

On sunday evening we flew back to Helsinki. Next time I go to London, I'll certainly stay at Citadines, that's how nice that appartment hotel was =) AND so close to everything! I won't be forgetting that week soon.

Later in November I started this blog xP

On December 3rd we hosted a graduation reception for the family at our cabin in the country (1,5h drive from Helsinki). It was a raging success and people kept texting mom even on the next day =) We had a fantastic buffet and plenty of wine and beer etc alcohol and sodas. People really seemed to enjoy themselves and it was nice that they'd take time out of their lives to come to our cabin in the middle of nowhere and on a saturday afternoon no less . I wasn't expecting to get any presents, but I did =^_^= It was a very nice day. I rarely see my family, including my cousins.

So ever since I moved back to Helsinki I've been mostly waitressing or painting. My little sister is back in home for another 2 weeks ^_^ We spend our christmas in the cabin. Unfortunately there was no snow. But we had a lovely time there. We gave mom and dad our Uni hoodies, dad got Worcs. and mom Dundee's xP It feels good to have the whole family back together.

2011 has been eventful, more or less. For me, I feel like it has been quite successfull and fun year =D

Here is to 2012, let it be even more successful and fun than 2011. After all, in January 23rd it begans my year, the year of the Dragon. I'm excited about 2012!! (there is still a few days left of the year of the Rabbit. Bunnies!!) <3 <3

To 2012, Happy New Year everyone!! H.M


torstai 15. joulukuuta 2011

Top 10 Obsessions

Because it's 9 days until Christmas, I figured I wouldn't want to talk about something as depressing as Fur farming and Animal testing when it's so close to the happiest day of the year. I like the fact that on Christmas we can pretend that everything is alright in the world, just this once. On Christmas I allow myself to think that the world is a lovely place and every one is having a jolly time (instead of thinking how awful people can be and what awful things are happening right now on our planet).
Christmas gives me this feeling that makes me excited and happy =) I like to buy presents for my family and friends (though this year I shopped mostly online), it's that anticipation 'will they like this? I like this! I hope they'll like this!' =^_^=
Unfortunately, because we don't have any snow here, I'm not on that Christmas mood yet. Too bad we don't have any snow here in Helsinki =/ nor frost. Just rain --_-- but atleast the city is filled with Christmas lights =) It looks nice. So anyway I'm giving you this fun list I did, about things that I'm obsessed to.

This idea is originally my good friend RjOkami's =D
When she made her list a year ago, I found it so a-may-zaah and interesting that I thought about putting together my own 'Top 10 Obsessions' list, on Facebook. I never got around to do it, until now, here >=) Have fun at deciphering my obsessions (U decide if they tell a lot about me or not).

Nr. 10. F.R.I.E.N.D.S
Uh, well I just had to put this here because basically I was obsessed with F.R.I.E.N.D.S for a whole decade. After viewing almost every single episode day after day, it became a full time background noise in my (and my little sister's, we share a room) room. When we had memorized most of the dialogue and plot, we really didn't need to watch it anymore. I'd draw or write while 'watching' F.R.I.E.N.D.S. I do love this show very much though. If I haven't got anything else to 'watch' or listen to, I'll put on F.R.I.E.N.D.S. This show is so funny and clever (though it stopped being clever after season 6). Chandler is my favourite character. And my favourite episode is season 4 episode 12 "The One With The Embryos", where Joey and Chandler have a 'friends' quiz against Monica and Rachel. (Random note: I wish I knew my friends just as well, to arrange a quiz like that!)

Nr. 9. Taking pictures.
I am a camera nazi, I know xP I just loove love loove taking pictures. It's my way of capturing events, moments and things. I may see something interesting and the only way to really preserve it, I reckon, is to take a picture of it (it lasts longer). This way I can always go back to that event or scene and find something new about it (unless it's a picture of me and my pals drunk xP). I'll tell you secret, I'm not really into live-sketching. I take pictures, I go home and sketch the scene/thing from the photo. It's a habbit I have. I suppose I see photography as one way to document my life. (Random note: I'm a fckng good photographer, not like I'm a professional but I can take beautiful pictures).

Nr. 8. Collecting Fashion magazines.
I don't know how many people know this, but I'm obsessed with collecting Fashion magazines, foreign, fashion magazines. Especially Vogues. It first started when I saw an interesting dialogue on 'Death Proof'. Funny enough my dad went to Italy soon (for work) and I asked him to bring me Italian Vogue. I think this was 2007 or 2008. Ever since, I have been collecting Vogues (Italian, French, British, Spanish, German, Russian, American, Australian and Singapore <- my Vogues). I'm still very drawn to Vogues because of the monthly collections. The shoots are (mostly) very inspiring, drawing inspiration from a variety of themes, mixed with high fashion. I collect ELLE magazines as well, but only if there's interesting article or celebrity interview. Of course Italian Vogue is the elite (the pic above is Italian Vogue April 2008, and I have that Vogue xP). (Random note: On my lap top, I have a folder called 'Vogue caps'. I take pictures of inspiring or interesting images I see on Vogues or ELLEs and then I download them onto my lap top. This way I have a certain source for inspiration, I'll just need see to that folder).

Nr. 7. Movies.
Yup I love going to the movies and I love watching movies. Like with F.R.I.E.N.D.S, I use movies as a background noise. Any movie I have seen more than twice will do. If I'm painting I tend to 'watch' Black Swan after midnight. Recently I have been 'watching' Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Bad Teacher and Showgirls a lot. My favourite movie genre is action, I especially enjoy fast chase scenes where the characters drive fast and shout at each other x'D I also like Jackie Chan fighting scenes. I'm very drawn to the dirty-comedy genre. Like the humour they have in FSM, Bad Teacher and 40 Year Old Virgin makes me chuckle (lots of swearing and dirty talking...). My favourite movies..too many but here's a few: Black Swan, Labyrinth, Fiddler on the Roof, Die Hard and Silence of the Lambs.

Nr. 6. Music.
I couldn't imagine my life without music. I may use movies as a background noise at home, but when I'm on the go I like to listen to music. I'd probably panic if I left my hot pink Ipod at home (unlikely) or if it ran out of battery X_x I need to be on the move to fully experience the music and its beat and sound. I love listening to music the most when I'm on a bus or in a car. It's so relaxing when we're driving to our cabin and I can listen to music and see the scenary pass me by. Music gives me inspiration as well (I daydream a lot when I'm listening to music). My Favourite singers: David Bowie, Lady Gaga, Ayumi Hamasaki, Rihanna and J-Pop (among others).

Nr. 5. Bunnies.
I like all things bunny, anything with a bunny in it will do <3 I have had a bunny fever for too long. I really really really want to have a bunny <3 But because I'm in between places, I cannot adopt one (or two). 6 years ago we had a lovely boy bunny, Kaneli (Cinnamon). We adopted him from an animal shelter. He was abandoned in a forest and found by a college girl, who then kept him a year. She left him in the shelter where we found him and adopted him a week later =D He was with us for 5 years. Bunnies have great personalities, and rabbit specialists say that some rabbits could well enough lead a pack of dogs xD Kaneli certainly had potential for that, he was quite headstrong. Rabbits are extremely kawaii desu nee!! (I mean look at the pic with the mommy bunny with her babies! =3) Have you ever heard a rabbit talk? I have! =^_^=

Nr. 4. "Cleanliness".
This is a tricky one. At home I'm not freaking out by the fact that 4 people are sitting on the toilet seat and  I don't know whether they put toiletpaper on the public toiletseats before sitting down. Or do they have like 'shoe' socks and indoor socks. I  freaked out about this stuff when I was living in Uni halls. I had my own bathroom and everytime I had visitors for a sleepover, I forced them to wear different, clean socks in my bathroom, and wear the other socks whilst walking in my room, they also wore different socks in my bed (we had carpet floors, and it was a Uni hall, you do the math!). At my parents house I can't monitor that, but I won't tolerate people who sit on my clean, nice bed, unless it's a daily cover they're sitting on! Hand hygiene is also very important to me. People who come to my place wash their hands.

Nr. 3. Chocolate.
I eat chocolate daily. I freak out a little if I realise that I haven't got any chocolate for tomorrow. It's my guilty pleasure. However, I'm not just talking about any chocolate. Cadbury's is shit, Hersey's is shit and Marabou is tolerable, but nothing can compare to Belgian choco *_* confectionary choco's from Belgium are a-may-zaaah!! So are Maxim's chocos. Hands down, Finland has a really awesome choco/candy/bakery company working for us, Fazer (join my 'I Love Fazer' group on Fbible!). My fav. Fazer choco used to be Milk choco filled with these mint balls O_o they used to sell that flavour in huuuge bars in Silja cruise line when I was little. But they took it off the market in 2005. After that I have liked their milk choco coffee flavour, milk choco liquorice flavour and now a new addition salty cashew flavour. (Random note: I really hate raisin-nut choco and I eat dark choco very rarely.)

Nr. 2. Workingout.
I started workingout regularly in 2009. Before that I practised Savate 2 times a week in winter-spring 2008. Now I do Turbo Fire, Insanity and Brazil Butt Lift (<- yeah this one sounds soooo cool). See my earlier entry on my workout programs. It's an addiction. I freak out a little if I know that I won't have time to workout at least 1,5h per week (my job is so draining). I'm happy if I can workout for 1,5h, 4 days a week, but unfortunately my current situtation won't allow me that. I get to work out 2 times a week, if I'm lucky. Anyways it's the high I get after I'm done =D The sore muscles in the morning makes me happy cause then I know I actually did something yesterday. Plus, in order to eat as much choco as I eat, and still stay fit, I have to workout regularly.

and the most 'obscure' obsession I have is...

Nr. 1. Makeups.

The pic above is all the makeups I use regularly, and I mean regularly. On your right we have MAC pigments, in the middle we have brushes, eyepencils and lipsticks and glosses, on our left I got my pallets, foundations, primer powder and foundation brushes. Yeah I'm a makeup junkie. Putting on makeup is my way of expressing myself (and my artistic impulses). For me, putting on makeup is like painting a painting =) I love the colours and textures and the variety of different looks I can create with them excites me =) People probably think I'm really shallow and vain (true) for being such a makeup piggy, but I don't care >=) I love my makeups. I'm a makeup junkie and a collector. (Random note: Xsparkage is my favourite makeup tutor on YouTube!).

Well  there you have it folks. I'm clearly obsessed.

Have a Happy Christmas you all! =^_^=


sunnuntai 11. joulukuuta 2011

'Meat Free'. Personal view on Vegetarianism, how You can be 'meat free' 101 and Livestock's long shadow.

 "Many years ago, I was fishing, and as I was reeling in the poor fish, I realized, I am killing him—all for the passing pleasure it brings me. And something inside me clicked. I realized as I watched him fight for breath, that his life was as important to him as mine is to me." Paul McCartney for PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals)

I feel like Paul every time I think about animals who have been slaughtered either for food or for fun. Why can't people understand that to animals their lives are just as precious as our lives are to us?
Hi you (pardon me but this will be a long entry), I have been a Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian for almost 4 years (9th of March is when I went 'meat free'). The last piece of meat I ate was salmon sushi in a Japanese restaurant in Vienna. It was 8th of March 2008.

There are two stories of why I became a lacto-ovo vegetarian. The first story includes the idea and influence and the second story is the 'pushed-over-the-edge' moment. I believe only my little sister (and possibly her boyfriend) know both stories and the real reason why I became a vegetarian. But I only circle the 2dn story around. People don't really get it when I tell them the real reason. However the second story is equally important and when I say I became a vegetarian for animal rights, it's 100% true. To make a long story short, my family and I were in Vienna celebrating my mom's birthday. Her good friend had invited us over for dinner. She served large junks of cooked chicken. They were practically swimming in some sort of juice and still had their bones and muscles intact. I had to swallow really hard to keep my vomit down the entire dinner. Ergo I had my last piece of meat that night, when we went to have sushi.

My trip to vegetarianism began a long time ago though. At the age of 12 I ditched red meat. It was the year of Mad Cow Disease, and it scared me so much that I decided to never eat cow's meat again. I was never a fan of fish, so the only fish I really ate was fish sticks. So until I was 19, I just ate chicken and occasionally pork and turkey. Even back then, I could never eat like huge junks of meat. It had to be chopped down to small pieces and if I found those weird bits or chances, it'd make me wanna puke.
It's pretty common that people become vegetarians or vegans suddenly. One may learn something nasty which pushes them over the edge, or one has been battling whether or not to go meat free. Mine was clearly a transition and I couldn't be more happier with my decision to ban the meat industry from my life 4ever.

                                                        Pamela Anderson for PETA

Personal view.

I personally have been enjoying being a vegetarian very much. Of course it was difficult at first to figure out which foods would give me as much nutrition as possible and which foods I'd be happy to eat for the rest of my life basically. Later in the 101 section I'll explain what I ate when I started and what I'm eating now. To me eating meat again isn't an option. And this isn't like I'm forcing myself not to eat meat again. I don't want to eat meat ever again and when I quit, it was a decision I made myself. Not once have I been like 'god I miss meat'. Every now and then I'd like to eat prociutto so bad. I used to eat it with croissants. Couple of people have asked me 'why don't you? You don't have to tell anybody'. But that's not how I see vegetarianism works. Even if nobody knew, I would. Then for the rest of my life I'd feel guilty about eating the meat of an innocent pig. Besides, prociutto is very salty so I'm convinced that it was the salt that I so liked back then.

I recently heard a horror story from one of my part-time colleagues. She was a vegetarian for a very long time until her dad managed to bully her into eating meat again. I didn't say anything but to me, her father is a dick you hear me, a dick!!! Of course my parents were confused and worried when I started, (it took them long time to adjust to the fact that I wasn't eating meat again) but they didn't bully me back then, in fact they have never bullied me with meat. They never tried to sneak meat into my food (apparently some people do that, that makes me really really sick). If my parents would do something like that to me, I'm sorry but I would have to cut them out of my life. If someone as close to me as my parents would betray me like that, I wouldn't want to have anything to do with them anymore. However I am a very fiesty person, and I don't care what other people say or think about me. So if someone would try to bully me into eating meat again, I'd just call them an asshole and tell them to fuck off. I'm never eating meat again.

To me, what that colleague did just clarifies the line between wannabe vegetarians and real vegetarians. I appreciate and respect those who take time off from eating meat. Even if it is just for 2 weeks or a month it shows that they must be thinking about the benefits of vegetarianism. Although, I wish that all those 'part-time' vegetarians would do it for the animals' sake. My cousin from Austria, doesn't eat meat during lent. I was very impressed when I met her in Vienna in 2008, and she told us that she wasn't eating meat because she was fasting. I felt very proud of her. But she's only 'a part time' and she does it because of her religion. None the less, she saves about 8 animals if she's 'meat free' for a month. I have saved about 400 animals soon =)
Most new vegetarians can find eating out difficult. After all, not many regular restaurants offer a variety of vegetarian dishes. I don't care about food that much (I have a massive sweet tooth so I care much more about sweets and desserts), so eating out has never been a problem for me. I just eat something little like chips or a salad. Japanese restaurants usually have a good veggie sushi variety. I can understand that some vegetarians can find it bothersome to go out with meat eaters because the vegetarian variety is often very small (or perhaps having to watch people eat meat hurts. Some times I get that feeling too). However my friends are very considerate and they always let me know where we are going out to eat, so I can check out the menu and see if it would actually be better to eat a big meal at home and then have just a little something at the restaurant (^_^ quite often my friends let me pick out the place). To those who find this frustrating, I encourage you to hang in there. Make a pack with your friends, that you get to choose the place to eat every now and then. When your friend is having a dinner party or a regular party, ask them to include a few vegetarian dishes/snacks. What I still need to do, for ex. is to host a vegetarian dinner party =D This way one can introduce a lite yet delicious diet to one's friends. I bet the overweight meat eaters would be interested to know that by ditching meat, they'd lose a few kilos within a week. Seriously vegetarian food has far less fat and calories than meat alone. I suppose it's a given to say how much healthier and beneficial vegetarian food is compared to meat.

Up till now, I wasn't very aware of people eating meat. I wasn't really paying any attention to it because I didn't want to be one of those 'preachy' people who preach about their life style or religion. I know it's annoying and quite frequently upsetting when someone starts preaching about your chosen life style and what might wrong with it. All my friends eat meat. I only know a few 'part-time' vegetarians. I choose to ignore the fact that when we go out, they are eating animals. I'd most likely eventually lose my mind if I saw it like that. But all that changed this week. I saw a horrible short 'document' on fur farms, and I snapped. I kept crying for 2 days. I'll be talking about animal testing and fur farms later. I know I can't tell people to stop eating meat, but I can encourage them to come to a vegetarian/vegan restaurant with me, or try my restaurant's burgers with soypatties. I'm hoping that this entry arouses people's curiosity to try being a vegetarian for a while. PETA has a lovely program that encourages meat eaters to try being a vegan for 30 days. I totally support this program and I'm so hoping that atleast one of my friends will take up the challenge.

Vegetarianism 101.

For those who don't know anything about vegetarianism, there are several paths you can take to become a vegetarian. My way is Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian, it means that I can use dairy, egg and honey products, but as Phoebe in F.R.I.E.N.D.S said "No food with a face". Hence L.O.V's don't use any meat products. No --__-- we don't eat fish either. That's the most common question I get when people learn that I'm a vegetarian. Tossers! I thought the meaning of  'vegetarian' was common knowledge. Obviously not. Other options are Lacto-Vegetarian (dairy products) or Ovo-Vegetarian (egg products). Vegan, I reckon, is the most extreme way of being meat free. Being a Vegan means excluding all animal products, eggs, dairy, and honey. Most Vegans don't even eat plants that have their own roots, such as carrots and potatoes. I have considered of becoming a Vegan, but chocolate and ice-cream are still holding me back. Perhaps one day I'll snap totally and go Vegan =)

When I became a L.O.V I was most concerned about my nutritional needs. Funny story, a new colleague I met in summer had become vegetarian 2 weeks ago. She didn't wanna tell her reasons, which is cool, but then I asked her 'What protein source do you use'. She just looked at me dumbfounded and asked me to clarify. 'Are you eating, tofu, soy beans, soy mince or quinoa?'. She said she just eats the soyburger patties at work O_O Now, it's OK if you have no idea what you should eat when you become a vegetarian, but indifference is not an excuse. If you do not know where to get all the essential nutrients, you are going to be in big trouble soon. Disregarding your nutritional needs will cause your body and the nervous system in your brains severe damage in a long run. Below is my simple 101 guide to vegetarianism.
First step: Research. and (<- Finnish Peta) offer great guides to what you need to know about vegetarianism and how to make the best of eating vegetables and soy products. First thing I did was ask my vegetarian flatmate about her food routine. She became a vegetarian when she was 8 years old. She stressed about the importance of tofu and soy beans, and for the longest time, I ate soy beans. Now I eat tofu or quinoa. (see cooking instructions after this section). There, soy beans, tofu, soy mince or quinoa is your nr. 1 protein source (do not neglect this group!). I use all of them regularly, except soy beans, I have had enough of them after eating them 2 years solid. Even if you have figured out all the important foods you must eat, you still need to take several supplements. Calcium & Vitamin D supplements. Cheese and dairy products are good, but even if I eat yogurt and cheese daily, I'm still taking Cal. & D supplements daily. Iron rich foods you might wanna include to your diet: Oat, Apricots, boiled Lentils, Hazelnuts, Almonds and Cashew nuts and soy beans. Also you should take Iron supplements as well (again I do too). But the most important supplement you need to take, which my indifferent colleague doesn't care about, is B12. It's a vitamin with a key role in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system, and for the formation of blood. Soy products are probably the highest source of B12, however it's still not enough to keep a vegetarian's brains and nervous system going, hence take B12 supplements. I cannot stress enough how important it is to take these supplements daily. Vitamin C is also important, expecially to Finns. We don't get that much sunlight. For vitamin C, oranges and orange juice are a good call. I drink a lot of orange juice in the winter.
Second step: Tasting.
For the first 6 months I kept experimenting with different vegetables. I ate cabbage, eggplant and sunflower seeds. I ate a lot of lettuce and salads with peppers, carrot, sprouts, tomatos and cucumber. I also switched from white bread to whole grain bread. Now I eat Finnish dark rye bread all the time. Dairy procucts are good source of calcium and vitamin D. What you really need is patience to figure out what you like and what works for you. If your family/care taker/partner/friends are really supportive, you can have veggie nights together and make and sample different veggie dishes. I mostly did the 'figuring out' all by myself, but at one point mom and dad were reading various Asian vegetarian cousine cook books =)
Third step: Adjusting.
I did a lot of research when I became L.O.V. I had to make sure I could survive as a vegetarian (and to assure my mom that I would be fine). I encourage you to feel out vegetarianism by trying out different veggie foods and vegetables. Read different vegetarian cousine cook books (India and Asia cook books have good recipes). The internet is also packed with vegetarian recipes =) My first ever home made veggie dish was Ratatouille xD But I didn't like it. Because my food buds are very simple, I mostly eat salads and frozen food. Sometimes I make veggie curry with tofu or veggies and tofu in pasta sauce. I don't eat pasta or spaghetti, but I do like mushroom risotto. In my parents cabin we sometimes have like Asian themed dinner. My mom makes this mean peanut sauce, we dip noodles in it ^_^ My dad makes mean veggie lasagne <3. At work we have massive salads (goat cheese, tofu, gaucha bread and so on) and massive burgers (notice our restaurant can make all our burgers with soypatties, just need to switch sauces that have meat ingridients in them). So I'm well fed at work =)
Most grocery stores sell soy products such as: tofu sausages, soypatties, soy and sesame seed nuggets etc. Soy sticks are my favourites ^_^ they are easy to prepare and they taste good with sweet chili sauce. I have had tofu sausages too and they were good, but rather greasy. Try making lasagne with soy mince and serve it to your meat eating friends. Trust me, they'll like it =D

My soy product cooking guides:
-Soy beans are tricky to prepare. If prepared wrong, they become quite poisonous. *Prepare the whole bag in one go. In Finland many local grocery stores sell soy beans, but for ex. in England, I had to buy soybeans from health stores. Pour the beans into a large pot and fill to the top with clear cold water. Let them soak up to 12h. Then boil them 9h-10h in mild temperature. You can tell when they are ready by tasting them. They should be easy to bite on, and yet remain a bit crunchy.*
-Tofu is ready to eat, in Finland we have hard tofu and soft tofu. I use hard tofu when I'm making for. ex. veggie-curry.
-I was recently introduced to Quinoa. This grain-like crop actually beats soybeans in its protein content, set of essential amino acids, dietary fiber, phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. *Put water to boil. Wash quinoa in hot water, when the water is boiling pour in. Let it boil for 15min.*
-Soy mince is easy to cook as well. *Put water to boil. Pour in soy mince and let it boil for 10-15min.*

Livestock's Long Shadow and enviromental issues.

If you are still hesitant if becoming a vegetarian is a good thing, let me pitch you a few facts of the harms the meat industry is causing. Livestock's Long Shadow is a UN report which you can read at, or you can google it. I'm just quoting it here but basically we should all be aware of these facts --__-- seriously if you didn't already know all this once you've finished reading, you seriously need to read your high school geography books again, this is basic knowledge.

"The livestock industry is one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global." Just think about this for a second. How much crop we need to grow to feed the livestock. How much fresh water we need to supply the livestock's needs. How much space the livestock requires and lets be frank, most of the livestock live in horrible and dismal premises. According to PETA, a vegetarian saves up to 100 animals per year, imagine how many animals a meat eater EATS per year >_< What I make out of this is basically that all the vegetation, pasture and clear water we could be giving to people to use, is going to the livestock and then into meat eater's mouths (I was good in this kind of geography, I still remember all of this, even if it has been almost 5 years). Imagine this, when eating a piece of stake one is actually eating around 7kg of grain and drinking 9085 litre of water. That much of our precious resources is used in the making of a piece of stake. Someone has to keep up the energy in the mills and premises and slaughter houses and transport the animals. All this trouble and harm just by eating meat, any meat.
And it goes on, "The findings of this report suggest that it should be a major policy focus when dealing with problems of land degradation, climate change and air pollution, water shortage and water pollution, and loss of biodiversity." We all should be aware that the livestock industry causes much more greenhouse gas emissions than the private car alone. The report says that it causes 18% more than that of transport. (You'd think you'll be saving the planet just by recycling and turning of the lights).
According to PETA's letter to Al Gore a change to a vegan diet is the single biggest change an individual could make to counter the effects of climate change. I agree 100%. Even if I'm not a vegan I know I'm much closer to 'saving the planet' than any meat eater. Naturally I'm not a saint, the vegetables and soy beans (tofu is made of soy beans) I eat are grown somewhere and I can't be sure that they are grown with enviromental friendly techniques and in enviromental friendly premises.

The West takes great pride in their infallible education system. And yet we are still so very uneducated when it comes to keeping our planer well and save. This report considered the observations made in the US. I can only imagine what goes down in China and South America. Atleast in the West attention is paid to the production of the livestock. People are slowly becoming aware of where their meat is coming from and how it was 'raised' (we have free ranged chicken and happy chicken's eggs). However you are still eating something that had a face and a beating heart once. Meaning that we should know what is ethical and what is not. To me, killing a living creature for food is unethical. All the vegans and vegetarians can agree with me on this one. We know that eating meat is bullshit because we can survive perfectly well without it. We are happy an well. Every single one of my friends (and myself) have received higher education. My friends are either college graduates or college students. Hence we should know better. We should know what goes down in the livestock industry.

I really don't want to go into too much detail of how those animals wind up on one's plate. I'm a sensitive person and I just might flip tonight if I keep doing research on what goes on in slaughterhouses and how to slain animals. I'll just give you this, how they kill cattle (I have no idea how those people who slain animals live with themselves day after day):
  1. Cattle are rendered unconscious by applying an electric shock of 300 volts and 2 amps to the back of the head, effectively stunning the animal or by use of a captive bolt pistol to the front of the cow's head. Swine can be rendered unconscious by CO2/inert gas stunning. (This step is prohibited under strict application of Halal and Kashrut codes.)
  2. Animals are hung upside down by both of their hind legs on the processing line.
  3. The carodit artery and jugular vein are severed with a knife, blood drains, causing death through exsanguination.
  4. The head is removed, as well as front and rear feet. Prior to hide removal, care is taken to cut around the digestive tract to prevent fecal contamination later in the process.
  5. The hide/skin is removed by down pullers, side pullers and fisting off the pelt (sheep and goats). Hides can also be removed by laying the carcase on a cradle and skinning with a knife.
  6. The internal organs are removed and inspected for internal parasites and signs of disease. The viscera are separated for inspection from the heart and lungs, referred to as the "pluck." Livers are separated for inspection, tongues are dropped or removed from the head, and the head is sent down the line on the head hooks or head racks for inspection of the lymph nodes for signs of systemic disease.
You still want to eat animals after this?

The livestock industry is causing massive harm to the enviroment and kills around 300 million animals (EU) per year. Imagine that, 300 million animals and every single one's destiny is to wind up on people's plates. Imagine that.
This is a tricky subject because as much enviromental harm and personal health issues the livestock industry causes, it also emplyes a lot of people. Again I don't know how these people live with themselves, but I suppose every one of us has to pay our dues. I have already had very heated conversations with my best friend, and he (a meat eater) thinks that if livestock and meat was taken away completely, it would be a disaster. Thousands, even millions of people would lose their jobs and what would happen to all those animals. Well obviously that is a transitions as well and it would have to be done slowly.

I hope you found this entry on vegetarianism insightful and hopefully helpful as well. I wish you good luck with your new animal and enviromental friendly diet. And to you who are still eating meat, care to take up PETA's 30 day vegan challenge?  =^_^=