30 March 2014

Home Sweet Home

I had the most awesome week in Lapland, but still it's so good to be back home. Yesterday we enjoyed the last few hours at Levi as well as possible. Our train left from Rovaniemi at 9 pm so we had some spare time in the morning. After cleaning up our cabin, me and dad went to the slopes as it was such a nice day, and I actually changed from snowboarding to skiing.
Tired from all the outdoor entertainment the journey went by pretty fast and as soon as we got to the train it didn't take long for all of us to fall asleep. Thats a good thing, as this morning we had to wake up at 5:30 am. And as the night between Saturday and Sunday was the time to change from winter time to summer time, 5:30 am was actually 4:30 am to us. Confusing, I know and I kept waking up thinking if we are yet in Tampere or not. The train continued it way to Helsinki, so we could have overslept and found ourselves from Helsinki instead. 
As we got home at around 7 am, I didn't feel like sleeping at all so I figured to do a massive spring cleaning in my room. How convenient and very like me to be cleaning at 7 am after just 6 hours of sleep. Anyways, now my room looks so much better as I finally took those ugly boxes and part of my winter clothes to storage. The rest of the day will be spent lounging in fresh sheets, mentally preparing to return work tomorrow and also visiting grandma and grandpa.

26 March 2014

Perfect day in Lapland

Today I had an awesome day. Even though I had to start it a bit later than I wanted. Last night all the others from our group went to see J. Karjalainen perform at the Hullu Poro Areena(local night club), so they had a pretty slow morning as you would assume. The sun was shining yet again, so I decided to walk to the "mainslopes" and enjoy a few hours of snowboarding just by myself. You never know how the weather will turn out the next day, so I do not like to waste any sunny moments on the slopes. I hate snowboarding when its foggy, as the visibility is so bad and you just have to guess what kind of bumps and humps will be on your way..
At the G2 World Cup-slope there was a military skiing competition, so I checked that out. I also had a pretty nice view... ;-D

In the afternoon I changed my gears from snowboarding to cross-country skiing. Because of the lack of snow in the south, I haven't been able to ski at all during this winter so for this week I have been enjoying it more than ever! I didn't even remember how fun it is to challenge yourself to conquer those steep uphills and push your limit a little further. So far I'm counting at 10k+10k+15k so altogether 35km. On Friday I still have the "final leg"; Levikierros around the fell which is about 18 km.

Right after skin 15km I enjoyed a nice, relaxing sauna session while the sun was setting behind the cabin next door. After all that, now I feel pretty relaxed but still full of energy. I had an awesome day! I would not mind spending more of my winter days like this, but I guess you have to experience the "boring" every-day life to really appreciate these kind of holidays.

25 March 2014

Shoppings :-)

Aright, lets get to the fun part of our trip. And by that I mean shopping! In my teenage years I had sort of a shopping addiction. It got so bad that basically all my mum had to freeze my credit card and control my bank account so that I just would have too much money at one time, hehe.. :-D Anyways, as I grew up it really hit me how much and stupidly I had been just spending money without earning it. Of course now I earn my own money by working, so I don't feel any regrets when buying something that I like. But that whole shopping-over-my-assets definitely made me be a lot more considerate, if I really need those things I'm about to buy. But sometimes its just fun to splurge into something you wouldn't necessarily need but want, and I think thats completely fine. OK, enough for that and now lets get to the part where I will make excuses how I really needed all the 24 kilos of stuff I took home from LA.

Before our trip, I made this little sketch of a shopping list trying to control me swiping the credit card too often. To be completely honest, when we got there I did not remember making this list at all. So its actually pretty interesting to see if I have even purchased the things that I was looking for, or did I just go crazy for the low price tags and everything so pink and pretty.. :-D
  • My list starts with an A. Being the oh-so-lovely Diego bag from Alexander Wang
    • I did end up buying an Alexander Wang bag but not the one I particularly and desperately was looking for. I wanted it in black with gunmetal hardware. But some stores didn't even know that combination existed.. Finally after running trough literally like five ten different stores just for this bag, at Neiman Marcus I tried on the same bag but in Ink(so very dark navy blue) with silver studs. And I kind of fell for it. Its a very dark navy so in some lighting it almost seems like black. Im so happy I decided to go for this color, as I already have a bag black and to be honest, navy blue goes SO well with my clothes and jackets, better than I thought. And to justify my love for this bag, I have been wearing it non-stop since I got it so for 3,5 weeks now(but don't even have a proper pick of it just yet..) :-)
  • Wallet 
    • Check! I bought this yellow beauty from Neiman Marcus at the 3rd street promenade in Santa Monica. So pretty and bright and has loads of cards space.
  • New sunglasses 
    • I was really looking to buy a pair of Celine or Tom Ford sunglasses, some chunky ones as I have seen on a super stylish Youtuber Arielle Cristiana. But somehow I didn't fancy them that much as strolling trough the stores. I did buy a cheap pair of slightly cat-eyed sunnies from Gap though.
  • Make-up
    • Long story short I bought a Benefit 15-hour primer(which is awesome!), Lancome mascara, Beauty Blender, Eos lip balms, Benefit eyeshadow pallet and eyebrow kit,  four new brushes, Kat Von D liquid eyeliner and some other small cosmetics like nail polish and lipsticks.. Comestics is so much cheaper in the US than in Finland, so as there is a Lancome mascara for $20 dollar, for which I would pay like 40€ in Finland, there is no denying it, I will buy it.
  • Victoria's secret
    • Pretty in pink - how could I resist! All that pink made me go crazy and I ended up spending way too much money at VS. But for me, the quality of the products is really good and for example the bras fit perfect, so I always stock up while I have the chance.
  • Vans, Jeffrey Campbell, Nike
    • I bought four pairs of shoes. A pair of Nike's, pair of Sketchers(yap, you read it right!) and two pairs of Converse. I was really wanting a pair of classic black Vans Era, but you can't have all at once!
  • Sports clothes and new trainers
    • Even though I was thinking of buying new running shoes, as I had bought so many shoes already I decided not to. Instead, I bought loads of new sports clothes. They are so cheap in the US especially when converted to euros so I had to.
  • Basics; t-shirts, tops, longsleeves
    • Clothing wise, i don't think I bought that much. I wasn't really in the mood for buying clothes, but of course I did find something. For example my new absolute favorite cardi from Urban Outfitters and the cutest dress from Topshop. And a t-shirt from T by Alexander Wang. Its so soft and perfect.

24 March 2014

Sunny day in the slopes of Levi

Today the weather really treated us well. The morning started up as bit more cloudy and foggy, but quite soon we got a clear sky and sunshine. So the perfect weather for skiing and enjoying the day! Even though we have been here quite a few times, the view from top of the hill on a sunny day is always forth the travel up here :-)

Spring Break @Levi

On Friday we had to leave vey early from work, meaning like at 3pm or so. That is because we had some exciting plans and places to be at. It was time to leave for our yearly spring vacation to the norther part of Finland, Lapland. On Saturday morning our train arrived to the very cold(or so it seemed) station of Rovaniemi, the place where Santa lives ;-) We started off our holiday with an awesome and filling breakfast at the Sokos Hotel Vaakuna, worth every 12€. And so we headed to our final destination, Levi.

When us kids were smaller(and we had a bigger family car), we used to drive all the way from Pirkkala to Levi. It took us like 12 very slow hours, even though sometimes we stayed the night in Oulu to visit our second cousins'. And every time we saw the welcoming bridge of Levi, that was the best sight and feeling ever after spending too many hours in a car with your annoying sisters and nothing to do. I don't think our parents would handle the drive with us anymore so we just have to settle for taking the train.
We rented a nice little cabin with another family and are staying here until next Saturday. So far we have enjoyed all the snow, I went skiing with dad and we also had our first day of downhill skiing/snowboarding.
My new jacket!
Our dinner plan was to this super atmospheric place called Kammi. It was a little cottage, in the middle there was a fireplace and a buffet. The food they served was basically just reindeer meat and some salmon too, so I had my own special food served to the table. Needless to say, all the other people in our party enjoyed the food very much and we left the restaurant with veeery full tummies.
Now we are off to the slopes again, hopefully having a great day snowboarding :-)

21 March 2014

Gorgeous views from up high

When we started to come closer to our destination after crossing the ocean there were some amazing views available. Luckily I had the window seat so I managed to snap a few pics. First was Greenland, then it started to turn into snowy hills and finally to fields and some snowy hill tops. Just before LA there were also these huge areas of those typical American neighborhoods you see in movies and tv-shows.

20 March 2014

28.2.-1.3.2014 // Last two days of LA

Friday was our second last day in LA and we already felt like we had seen it all. Of course there would have been more places to visit, but nothing that we were too keen on. Also, the weather was not treating us well and there was a storm warning for the whole weekend. So we decided to sleep in, go for a late breakfast(pancakes!!) and enjoy the gorgeous neighborhood we were staying at. The Manhattan Beach area became my absolute favorite. It was laid-back but at the same time very elegant. I would not complain if I would living there someday!
At some point it started to rain more, so we drove to the nearby shopping center (probably the only one we hadn't yet checked out..). Even though I was not in the mood for shopping(neither had I any money left) we tried to find some souvenirs and random stuff such as nail polish, American sweets and so on. Basically we were just pointlessly going around. Because of the weather we didn't want to drive anywhere far or do anything super outdoorsy so we just had to entertain ourselves in the area. We didn't figure anything better to do in the rain so we went back to the hotel, I started packing and desperately tried to watch a few episodes of Big bang theory(in the end failing as the Wi-fi was not strong enough for streaming).
Finnish cosmetics in CA, whoaa!
Me packing - Mom packing
The final day of enjoying the fresh and warm air started off excellent with the oh-so-perfect Uncle Bill's pancakes, for the third time during one week!! That's how good they were. This time we tried something a little different and have to say it ended up being more like a brunch rather than a breakfast. The weather was still quite chilly, windy and a bit rainy but good enough for us to  go down to the pier to see the huge waves and just the whole atmosphere in there. As there was no plan for the day, we just walked around and randomly popped into a few local stores. Thinking, what could we actually do for a couple of hours I remembered that we still hadn't visited Venice beach. Our intention was to visit Venice and Santa Monica on the same day but somehow we kind of just forgot.
The whole pier was shaking every time a wave hit those poles 
Venice beach was such a hip place. The area did not look very appealing in the big picture but the closer you got, the cooler all looked. For example, when we first drove trough the Abbot Kinney Blvd, I was not interested at all. There were a few places that looked interesting but thats it. Somehow mom got me convinced and so we parked and started to explore the area a bit better. I mean, as if I would have had anything better ideas for activities.. 
After actually seeing the stores, cafes and local boutiques up close I realized how awesome places there were. For example this one stationary/craft store sold the most amazing postcard, I could have bought all of them. There was also a super cool looking barbershop and a super cute outdoor shop selling all kinds of stuff from plants to clothes and accessories. We stopped by at a restaurant I could have even eaten at, it looked super yummy but was not particularly hungry so we just bought lemonade and continued our way. 
There was a pole in the middle of the street - providing hand sanitiser
Around the Venice beach area there was a lot of young people and even all the old people were such hipsters. We didn't go to the actual beach, as there was weren't any good parking abilities but to be honest it didn't look that exciting. A lot of druggies and homeless people, no thanks. I prefer to leave with a positive image of the place on my mind.

During our stay I also wanted to try out the highly hyped(mainly by Kim Kardashian, lol..) In 'n out fast-food place. Well, turned out they only had three things on their menu and none of them was vegetarian-friendly so I just made mum eat the burger and I ate the fries. She said that it wasn't anything to great, but sadly I can not give my opinion. The drive-trough line was huge though! One of the employees was walking around and taking orders so that they could get the line moving. Never seen anything like that before. I mean, the cars went around the building and even on the big street.
At around five we were ready to return the car and head over to the airport. Before checking-in we had to do a bit of adjusting with our bags. When we left Finland, our bags were together about 27 kilos. At LAX, my bag was 25 kg  and mom's 23 kg I think. We even had to switch some of my stuff to hers and finally managed to make mine a bit more acceptable weight-wise. My check-in was tagged with a very HEAVY!-note, lol.

To me, the flight back was pretty exhausting. I tried to stay awake for most of the time so that I could more easily fall asleep at home, so I just watched some movies and tried to entertain myself. I sat next to a french guy who only went to the bathroom once during the whole 10h flight!! And the guy sitting next to him didn't move at all. Crazy people. Luckily I had the aisle seat so I walked around for a bit and stretch whenever I wanted.

The bestest dad had driven all the way to pick us up so that we wouldn't have to stay over in Helsinki or so, as we did have to go to work just the next day.

All in all, we had an awesome holiday. I really liked the LA area and people in there. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to combine beach holiday with some more action than just laying on your towel for 10 hours a day. There was definitely something to do for everyone, whether you like to do sports, just go sightseeing, enjoy the sun and the beaches or try out some amazing restaurants! There is no other option for me than to return there someday and who knows, maybe even live there!