Tuesday, 31 January 2017

resolutions check, January

OK, so here's the first post where I'm going to check in on how I'm doing on my New Years resolutions! I'll only cover the "ten specific things" from this post plus the three additions I made later, the others are to vague to summarize this early on. So, how have I done so far?

  • Paint my toenails often. Because looking down on brightly colored toes makes me happy.
    turns out you really don't have to paint especially often, since polish on the toenails stay forever! But yeah, I have totally had happy toenails all month
  • Run 10K, once. Like without stopping for a rest
    well, I'm on my way, sort off. I have started running a little bit, but the longest so far has been 3,1 km. It's a start, though!
  • Take an online photo course and start to use my camera on "manual" setting
    Haven't started yet, but one of my university courses I'm doing this semester focuses a lot on image editing and Photoshop, so at least I know I will improve in that field.
  • Bake my own bread, at least once
    Not yet!
  • Find one really good friend in Brunei
    I'm slowly getting to know more people, but I haven't got a bestie here yet
  • Take 60 kg in bench press
    Status 45 kg with max 5 repetitions. I haven't tried max weight yet, but I feel confident the 60 kg goal is within reach by the end of this year.
  • Make one new proper friend via Instagram or a blog
    No news here!
  • Start an online portfolio
    Not yet.
  • Grow my hair long and learn how to make a Dutch braid.
    Haha, well I haven't cut it so it's longer than it was on January 1st! Haven't tried a Dutch braid yet though...
  • Read 20 books, 5 of them non-fictional
    I've finished one fictional book this month.
  • Be nicer to my skin: use lotion on my dry hands and legs on a daily basis and develop some kind of skin-care routine for my little face. Plus use at least SPF20 on my face, every day
    Eh, the spf thing I haven't done. I'm honestly not outside that much! But I think I'm getting a bit better at the lotion thing.
  • Only eat good candy, not boring candy. And enjoy it. 
    Mmmm. I still have Swedish candy I bought and received as Christmas gifts when I was home in December so yes...
  • Try to reduce my screen time a little bit.
    Maybe a bit yes! Party because I've kept myself busy with various projects at home, plus reading course literature, but also because our internet connection has been very unstable the past weeks!

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

just stuff

Hello. Here's a perky selfie I took this morning in the bedroom mirror, before I realized this was going to be an annoying day.

Look at that confident victory sign and cocky posture, in spite of a wrinkly shirt and chipped nail polish... Oh if I only knew...

Our internet connection has been properly shitty for the past two weeks. And well, I can totally survive without internet, especially since I can use the 3G on my phone for emergencies (like reading and writing blog posts, checking Instagram and using messenger) but doing the work for my courses is almost impossible. "Luckily" I have a lot of course literature to read while waiting for a better connection, but I have video tutorials to watch, programs to down load, assignments to deliver... It's stressing me out. And it's making me annoyed! 

I also have the infuriating problem (possible also based on the crappy internet connection) that my Runtastic app has frozen in some kind of updating mode and won't start. I can't even delete it to download it again. And since I'm obsessed with tracking things I'm not even going to try running without it. A run not tracked is a run not run, as I use to say. I've been trying to solve the issue for two days now but nothing works. Stupid poop app!

Sunday, 22 January 2017

my creative challenge #1 DIY Wall planters, painted pots and other things

OK, so time to summarize how creative I've been the first weeks of 2017!

The month started a bit slow, I mostly spent time cleaning up in our office to prepare for the new semester. Not very creative work but nice to get it done. But then this past week I really got started with a few projects, mainly for our bathroom and office. I haven't been painting or drawing much, hope to change that for the next update.

Fabric in a frame:
I found this frame in a thrift shop over a year ago. It was brown then and didn't have any glass in it, but I saw the potential and spray painted it gold. I then actually used it to display the seating arrangements at our wedding party! Combined with a piece of tropical fabric I bought in Sweden this summer it turned in to a very nice decoration for the office.

Small chest of drawers makeover:
I believe I've had this piece since I first moved away from home. Back in... 2009 (?) I decorated it with pages from an old Norwegian book I thrifted, but I've never really been a fan of the grey frame. I've been pretty fed up with the look of it for years and now I finally got around to fix it up into something a bit more neutral. I had scrape the paper off and then sand it all down, but it still looks a quite uneven if you take a close look. But I don't really mind, it's better now than it was before. White spray paint for the frame, leftover window-frame paint for the drawers and black spray paint for the

Updating a flower pot
It's hard to find nice flower pots here! Most people seem to use just the faux terracotta ones. I didn't bring that many pots from Norway and I want loads of plants inside now so I guess I'll just have to make do with the red-brown plastic ones. Booo. I didn't at all like the look of the big pot standing on top of the shelf in our bathroom so I decided to give it a makeover! Acrylic paint for the win!

DIY bathroom wall planter: 
Another plant related thing! I'm going to make a full post about this because I'm so happy with how easy this was and how good it turned out, but here's a sneak peek.

I have a few ongoing paintings that I want to finish before I start something new. After giving this one some love on Thursday I can feel much more optimistic about the outcome than I did before.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

I have read: miss peregrines home for peculiar children

By Ransom Riggs

You might have seen that this book have recently become a movie? I actually finished reading it on the flight back home from Sweden a few weeks ago, and the second I closed the covers I started watching the film on the in-flight entertainment system! There were some pretty major character and plot deviations from the book, but I still enjoyed it. I really like Eva Green.

Anyway. This is the story about a boy and his enigmatic - and maybe crazy - grandfather. The boy, Jake, travels with his dad to an island in Wales (I think?) to try and solve a little bit of the mysteries that his grandfathers left behind, and there he meets miss Peregrine, the headmistress of a home for children, and the somewhat odd inhabitants of this home. It's a story about monsters, mysteries and time loops. It's a little bit confusing at times, but I like the concept. The story is obviously written with a bunch of old photos, showed in the book,  as inspiration. All these photos has something mystical or weird in them and they make an important part of the book. I can imagine the writer looking through these photos and trying to imagine the story behind them.

OK, so the main reason I bought this book way back when was that it's so pretty... The typography and design matches the black and white photos, and the time travel theme so well.

Finishing this book took me so. bloody. long!  Read this post and be chocked. By the fact that I started reading this book in 2013 (!!!) and that Hugo was so frickin cute.

I have no idea why I didn't just finish this book back when I started. Because I liked it, mostly! I like the idea of using old photographs as inspiration for content and characters, and the story was in many ways right up my alley. But I guess it might have been a combination of a few just a tiny bit slow passages and me just not being in the mood for reading. There is apparently one or maybe even two more books in this series but I'm not sure when, if ever, I'll read them. If I do I hope it wont take me 3 years to finish them. 

Thursday, 19 January 2017

so, what about this blog?

Sometimes I wonder if I should try to grow this blog a bit. Like, when it comes to followers I mean. At this point I don't think it's realistic that I will post more frequent, but sometimes I think it would be nicer if more people read what I actually post.


I haven't told that many people that I have this blog. My closest friends and family, sure, but I haven't connected my blog to Facebook or my Instagram-account. The reason is that I don't really want people that I know just a little bit to read it. Either I want it to be my best friends or complete strangers. I can't really explain why, and since I now have been blogging for almost eight years I guess I should just get over it. Because is it really worth it, spending as much time as I do here, if only people I know read it? People who - probably -  already know what I'm doing via other social media?

Then again, this is my diary. Although a very cleaned up version of one. I keep it mostly for my own benefit. I can do whatever I want here, and that feels good. Inviting more people here opens up for judgement and trolls, and if that happened I would probably just quit blogging. I know many of the choices I've made in my life would annoy people and well, I'm not sure if I'm comfortable dealing with that.

But then there's also that thing about every new follower, comment or save - it makes me so happy! I sometimes giggle in front of the computer when I notice them. I guess I get a comment maybe once a month. It's is so rare and so nice. The few comments I get are actually usually from "strangers" rather than friends, since the latter usually send a message if they want to react to something I have written. 

So. Do I have any plans? Well, sort of. I haven't decided what to do about "advertising" my blog more. I probably wont. But I do want to blog regularly this year, because I like it and blogging some times gives me an excuse to do things, just to have something to blog about, rather than just watch Netflix for a day. I will continue with the same varied content; travels, cats, movies, books, life in Brunei, but I will maybe try to write a little bit more about what I'm doing on a more professional level, as well. Here are a few other goals I have this year:
  • blog at least 3-4 times a week
  • come up with a few recurring topics/blog posts
  • try to get even better at interacting with other "small" bloggers and maybe even find a blog-friend
  • start posting better photos. Right now the majority of the photos on this blog comes from my iPhone. I want to change that.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

my creative challenge

When I grew up, people always told me I was creative. I liked to draw and write, not all the time or anything, but a bit more than most people, I guess. That was one of the reasons I thought becoming an architect would be a good idea. But, somehow, working with architecture and interior design for the past eight years have made me less creative. Don't get me wrong, I was good at my work. But the longer I was working the more I ended up doing more of project management and client contact work than the really creative stuff. I started giving the creative tasks to my colleagues because I believed they were better at it. I never felt I had the time to just sit down, sketch, try out different solutions and play around with new ideas. Well, at least that's what it felt like. I got really good feedback on the work that I did, so it wasn't all that bad, but I've been dreaming for a while now about just playing around and see what I can come up with, see what ideas are hiding in my head. And doing it without being too restricted by time, rules, regulations, budget and other people's ideas. You now, reality for an architect. That has led me to come up with two plans for this year.

The first is one I had planned even before we moved here, and that is to start a portfolio of "made up" projects I will make based on different people I know. Dream-houses for my friends, sort of. Having worked mostly with interior solutions and exclusively with corporate projects for the past six years I long to get in to private housing, villas as well as apartments. That's what I was most inspired by when I studied and if I ever work as an architect again that's what I want to do. So I need to get back on to that horse!

My second plan has nothing to do with architecture and more to do with creativity. I want to set aside a few hours every week to work on whatever. I want to try new painting and drawing techniques, take an online course in photography or maybe build a new shelf for the kitchen. Preferably this is something I do with my hands and not only digital work. To keep up motivation and maybe to force myself to actually do stuff I plan to have a recurring biweekly post here to show what I've been up to. In many ways this blog is just diary, but it sometimes helps me to get stuff done just knowing I want to have something to post. The idea of a summary post I stole from Alicia's blog, one of the blogs I've started following recently that gives me inspiration to be more creative. The first biweekly creativity summary will show up here on Sunday. 

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

the day I bought a pomegranate

It's time to talk a little bit about food! I wanted to share some deliciousness I managed to make the other day. The idea was based on a warm salad my mom made while I was back home over Christmas, and since it was so tasty I wanted to make something similar.

This is what you do:

  • Get bulgur or quinoa (I used a mix of both) and boil according to instructions 
  • Rinse some beans from a can, this time I used black beans, but I guess any kind would do 
  • While you wait for the grains to be done and the beans to dry off a bit you chop up something you like the taste of. I chose peaches and pomegranate this time, but I've also used used bell peppers and avocado before
  • Add some walnuts for crunchiness and haloumi for salty yumminess. You could also use feta cheese. That too is yum

As you can tell from this very unstructured explanation this is a recipe that is easy to change and mix up, just start with grains and some beans to make it a bit filling and then use whatever you have at home.  I'm glad I can add this vegetarian, easy and tasty dish to my weekday dinner repertoire. 

As a bonus I had some leftover seeds from the pomegranate when this was done, so I ended up making a really tasty smoothie bowl as well. In that I used maybe half a cup of pomegranate seeds, one frozen banana, about a cup of frozen strawberries, some almond milk and a dash of orange juice. Topped with half a banana, some more seeds and chopped hazel nuts. Soooo good!

Monday, 16 January 2017

the spring semester

A new semester means new challenges... I am going to continue studying even this year. I've learned a few lessons from the fall semester and have decided to take twice the amount of courses to keep busy while also try to get better at keeping my working hours. I could have spent a lot more time on the courses I took last year, but my discipline wasn't awesome, plus two long trips in the middle of the semester made it hard to keep a nice workflow. 

This year I have already made a schedule for how much time I want to spend studying, that I hope to keep. I have chosen four courses within graphic design and image processing. A normal semestr in Sweden equals 30 credits and these courses will end up at a total of 37,5 credits so it might be a bit much. Depending on what other activities I'll end up doing I might have to drop a course, but as they are not all overlapping in time I hope to manage.

Besides studying this semester I have some vaguer plans on keeping up my architectual skills and working on my creativity. I have a few more or less "real" projects to work on, helping out my cousins with a summer house extension and possibly doing some "project managing" for some people here in Brunei, but I mostly plan to just do stuff I think is fun. I want to develop my skills in the software I usually work in - Revit - and will probably dive in to some tutorials. Plus I'm planning to start designing my own, and maybe someone else's- dream house. When I studied to become an architect what I most enjoyed was working on housing projects, but I have never really done that in my professional life. So now I'll have a go at that, even though the projects will not be real. 

All in all I think I have an exiting, and maybe a bit too ambitious, semester ahead of me. Wish me luck!

Friday, 13 January 2017

resolutions, first amendments

Yeah, so one the loooong flight back home from Sweden last week I came up with a few more goals for this year, to add to the ones in this post. So in addition to those, here are three more:

  • Be nicer to my skin: use lotion on my dry hands and legs on a daily basis and develop some kind of skin-care routine for my little face. Plus use at least SPF20 on my face, every day
  • Only eat good candy, not boring candy. And enjoy it. This will be easy the first weeks since I have brought so much from Sweden, but later in the year it will be trickier 
  • Try to reduce my screen time a little bit. Don't know how yet, I'll get back to this
I have also decided that I'm going to "check in" on these goals once a month, because it's fun but also because it might make it easier to remember what I wanted with this year. First time I'll make a control of my resolution resolve will be by the end of January. 

Thursday, 12 January 2017

my career so far and thoughts about the future

A while ago I found the second photo in this post  in a drawer and it made me reminisce the times before I started working.
Me and my super cute friend and class mate Linnea in front of Le Corbusiers Villa Savoy, on a study trip in 2004 
In 2007 I finished my masters in architecture, moved back from a year studying in Germany and got my first job. I was lucky, I think I was only job hunting for about a month before getting the job, I don't even really remember being unemployed. It was at a small firm, only me, my boss and one other architect about ten or fifteen years older than me. In many ways it was the perfect first job as I got to try a lot of things and didn't just end up being a CAD monkey (someone just drawing things for a more senior architect) as I think was the case for some of my classmates. But the office also felt little bit too isolated from the rest of the world for someone just taking their first step in to the business and I wasn't disappoint when I had to give my notice as me and Andreas decided to move to Norway. 

a Master of Architecture, 2007
After our first time living in a new country (Germany) I had learned a few things and as soon as the move to Norway was confirmed I applied for a course at the university in Stavanger. I knew I didn't just want to sit at home not having any friends, while job hunting. So for the first nine months in Norway I studied art and architectural history, and met some very nice people. One if them is still a really good friend of mine (hei Kristine!). The day after I had my final exam in the course I started my new job in Stavanger. Again I was pretty lucky and never had to just sit around and wait. 

I worked at the same place for the rest of my time in Norway, about six years. It's a little bit complicated to describe what I did, I was employed as an architect, but the firm was an interior architect firm, and during my time there I only designed one building from inside and out. I mostly worked with projects where the volume, structure and facade was set by another architect firm and then I - together with my clients and after a lot of analysis and many workshops - designed the plan layout, the solutions, materials and to some extent, the decor. So I guess I was working somewhere in between an architect and an interior architect. Or more accurately, as an interior architect but with an architects point of view. And there are more differences there than most of you would guess, FYI.


Now I am in many ways back where I started. Because I have no. friggin. idea. about what I'm going to do next. Oh. For the next few years I most likely will not work, because of visa reasons, but also because it's apparently almost impossible for a "dependent" (that's what I am, someone who follows a family member with a job in the move) to find a job here. My main plan is to study, and so far that has been great, inspiring and fun. But in what direction should I go? I haven't been exactly sure I want to continue working as an architect for the past few years. Should I try to change careers?  In that case, to what? Something design-y, still? Or should I try to change direction within my field and spend my time now focusing on learning stuff and networking to make that solution more plausible? 

I really don't know. But. Luckily there's no real stress. I've decided that I can have at least the first year here just figuring things out and enjoying being able to try things out. And that's such a huge luxury. 

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

short update

Hi there, bloggy.
I'm just dropping in to tell you that I'm busy getting back in to my normal routines and finishing the final project of one of my courses from last year. The course ends this week and then at least one of my new ones start on Monday... The whole of this week will mostly just be about remembering what it is like to have a schedule again and finding out more about what will happen this semester. But I do have a few ideas about blog-posts as well, so hang in there, I'll be back soon.

Friday, 6 January 2017

my new years resolutions for 2016, how did it go?

When I wrote down my new years resolutions for this year I knew we were moving to Brunei but hadn't told you guys yet. So I knew it would be a weird year. But let's see if I did what I had planned:

Three experiences I want to have during 2016
  • getting married yep, check
  • visit a country in Asia  hehe, eh well I moved to one and have visited three others
  • go to Herräng Dance camp, again.  yass! Just sad my dear Alis couldn't make it this year
Three new skills I want to learn
  • how to sit in lotus position - Sukhasana, nooope
  • learn the Tranky Do (an authentic jazz routine)! nope,  but parts of it!
  • learn how to tap! eh, no. But I've practiced a bit. Not as much as I had planned though

Three new habits to aim for
  • stop snoozing,  weeell maybe that has improved a bit, lately
  • eat less meat. yes especially lately, there can be quite a few meat-free days in a week now
  • eat breakfast, regularly. yup, at least since we moved

Three health-related things I should do
  • figure out what to do with my cross-eyedness. eh, well, not really. I did try to put Botox in one of my eye-muscles, and I have new glasses that works better but it still seems I just have to learn how to live with it.
  • get my back back in order.  after 8 months of pain my back suddenly stopped hurting in April this year. Oh the relief I felt!
  • go on a checkup at a OB/GYN yes, check!

Three fun things I want to do more often
  • read (actually read, not listen to) books. yes, absolutely, especially since I quit my job
  • dance lindy hop, blues and tap, at any given opportunity. yes, I have. 
  • go on walks with my friends.  well, before we moved I went on a lot of nice walks with Emma and Tuulikki. Since the move I go on a few walks every now and then but mostly to catch Pokémons.

Three creative things I want to start doing again in 2016
  • blog more! I actually think it's fun, but 2015 was a really lazy year, blog wise. I hope to remedy that in 2016. 2013 and 2014 were strong blog-years for me, and at least 2016 was better than 2015! Since the move I've been better at updating, right?
  • paint. Both with acrylic paint that I've tried quite a lot before, but also with water colors that I think is really tricky. Maybe also draw... No, there hasn't been pretty much any painting. I'm starting to get back in to it a bit now though, I think.
  • taking more pictures with my DSLR, and make photo-books and albums our cameras have been pretty well used during our trips, but I still would like to get better at documenting our everyday life in a more professional way. Maybe I'll take a course this year? I have made two albums though, on from our wedding and one about the first 6 months here.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

I'm having a go with Promarkers

One of my goals with the time I'm going to spend here in Brunei is to work on my drawing skills. I used to draw a lot when I was a child but ever since I started working I felt a huge lack of inspiration and pretty much stopped all together... I'm ok with drawing, not close to being a pro, but I enjoy it and sometimes I'm even satisfied with the results of what I do. There are a few techniques I want to try and play around with, and using Promarkers is one of them. I've seen what amazing stuff Anna and Bokkei have done and it is really inspiring. So I wanted to have a go. I don't pretend I'll get anywhere close to their skill, these two girls are professionals, but it just looks like so much fun, and it is a media I've never really tried before. When it comes to what to draw I've always been drawn to portraits, so I'm going to start with that. My plan is to find photos that I like, preferably portrait of people I admire, and try to draw them, in my own way. This below are a few my first attempts so far. They are all inspired by (copied) photos of women I follow on Instagram. The first of them is the super talented and beautiful artist Mab Graves...

Don't you think that first sketch look like Owen Wilson by the way?!

... and the other is Amanda/Haus of Mandy Meow another cool and beautiful girl. 

I'm struggling with the eyes, they both look a bit cross eyed... But since I'm cross eyed myself  I guess I could just see that as my own personal touch..  otherwise I liked working with the pens and I feel like I want to keep trying. It is really hard to get even surfaces and I feel like there are a lot of colors I don't have... Mostly it just feels really good to work with my hands again and not just sit in front of the computer all the time. I'm going to continue collecting inspiring photos I find and keep practicing. 

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

I have read: Spelreglerna

By Jonas karlsson

This book is actually in Swedish, but it feels weird to change language for just one post do I'll just do this in English even tho they this book isn't available in other languages as far as I know...

This a collection of short novels with different themes but with one thing in common: in all of them there is something off. Like, the world is our real world but one premiss has changed that makes the story more or less absurd and surreal. One of the rules has changed and suddenly the game is a completely different one and you feel lost. Like what if you suddenly got a bill in the mail, where you are instructed to pay for all of the emotions and experiences you have felt in your life. 

I didn't know Jonas karlsson as a writer before reading this book. In Sweden he is more well known as an actor. I've always liked him in that capacity and I think it was while watching an interview with him on tv that I found out he also writes. 

Sunday, 1 January 2017


I rather like New Years resolutions. I think it's completely natural to want to get a fresh start after a few weeks of celebrations, festivities and time with family and friends. It's often during a holiday that I get the time to reflect on what I want my everyday life to be like. And after some time off it's obviously easier to feel energized to start something new. So don't be judgy now. 

After the awesome weirdness that was a large part of my 2016 I want some normality. Now it's time to figure out how what my new daily life will look like. So that's the major resolution for this year, coming up with - and stick to - routines that will make life in Brunei feel like a normal, satisfying and meaningful every day life.

OK. So that's all well and good. But how will I do that? I'm thinking something along these lines:

In 2017 I want to

... set and apply "working hours" for studies and projects during the weekdays

... establish a proper daily routine when it comes to food and physical activity

... make room for creativity, actually schedule time for it

... try to get better at networking IRL and try to find more people to hang out with, regularly

... frequently be in contact with friends and family back home

... by the end of the year, have set some goals for my professional future

All of these things are important and good. And quite tricky. They are also not super easy to just check off by the end of 2017. Did I make room for creativity? Did I schedule time for it? depends on what I think is sufficent time, I guess. So this year I also have a few very concrete things that I can qualify and say "yes" or "no" to. I like that. Plus, I love listing things.

10 specific things I want to do in 2017:

  • Paint my toenails often. Because looking down on brightly colored toes makes me happy.
  • Run 10K, once. Like without stopping for a rest
  • Take an online photo course and start to use my camera on "manual" setting
  • Bake my own bread, at least once
  • Find one really good friend in Brunei
  • Take 60 kg in bench press 
  • Make one new proper friend via Instagram or a blog
  • Start an online portfolio 
  • Grow my hair long and learn how to make a Dutch braid. 
  • Read 20 books, 5 of them non-fictional