Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Random Tuesdays 10/30/2012

Red eft in Southern Vermont in 2006

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween Party - Toddler Style!

We had our annual Halloween party for the toddlers yesterday and I thought I'd share some photos. I absolutely love Halloween and dressed up this year as well. I was a cat and our lil man was Robin Hood. Husband declined to dress up :)

Little man's grandma send him some decorations from Nebraska

And some decorations were handmade by the uncrafty blogger :)

These were originally gift bags, but creative husband gave them a new life

We had already eaten, when we realized we should've taken a photo before hand...

Wishing Everyone a Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

U.S Presidential Elections: who do you side with?

I was curious who do I side with in the U.S presidential elections, even though I can't vote, so I tried iSideWith.Com. The results were a bit surprising on the candidate side, not so much on the party side.

Jill Stein it is, although the Democrats are clearly my party, according to this site. I was a bit surprised to find out I side 64% with the Libertarian Party, but I think it's because I believe in civil liberties. Jill Stein probably went ahead of Barack Obama since I'm very strong on women's rights. I'm a very pro-equality person and I think it shows in my results.

Any of my readers surprised with my results? :) I don't expect anyone else to be as candid as I am with their results, but if you do choose to share them with me, I'd love to hear them!  

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Random Tuesdays 10/23/2012

Near Walden, Northern Colorado in 2009. Would love to live near such a view!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

I get so emotional, baby

I cried the whole last half of last Sunday's episode of Downton Abbey. If you follow the series 3rd season, you know why. But me crying over a tv show or a movie is more of a rule than an exception. And I don't only cry for sad stories, I cry for the happy ones too.

For example, Oscar night is usually a cry fest for me. I start crying when someone cries happy tears or if they're just sooo happy. I remember as a kid, when Anna Paquin won an Oscar, I cried so much that I scared my dog, poor puppy. I cried at the movie theater during all three parts of Lord of the Ring trilogy. Most recently, I cried during the Hunger Games. I watched it again on dvd the other day...and I cried again.

I don't know why I'm this emotional when it comes to fiction, but I think it's the visual part, since I rarely cry when I read a book. I've never been a complete cry baby in real life, with the exception of weddings and funerals.  I cry happy tears at weddings, if I know the couple well, but also if it's just such a lovely wedding. Embarrassingly, I cry at funerals even if I've never met the deceased person. I think it's just the atmosphere, the sadness is so overwhelming. Tears already form in my eyes if I think of something really happy or really sad.

I also laugh uncontrollably. I just can't stop sometimes, I laugh so much I get tears in my eyes. It has gotten me removed from class at school a couple of times and I've gotten several weird looks in my life time. Laughing is contagious, and I get affected really easily. I tell bad jokes and I never seem to be able to finish them, because usually I start laughing myself half way through. I've heard many times I have a weird sense of humor, but I'm okay with that. I don't laugh at other people, I laugh with them...or by myself in some cases :) Sometimes a funny memory makes me chuckle while I'm sitting on the bus - alone. I think husband says I'm at times borderline hysterical when I start laughing at something. But I swear, it's *that* funny :)

I often wish I wasn't so emotional. I think in this day and age it's the people that can keep their cool that do well. I'm a very see through person, I can't even imagine lying to anyone, I'd probably confess before I'd finish the sentence. I get hurt easily when I find out someone has lied to me or spoken ill things of me. I get upset, when I for example hear what lies Romney spills out. I hate injustice, it infuriates me to tears at times. 
I sometimes wish I didn't care so much. Caring just a little bit less would do just fine.

But I'm extremely glad that I'm such a caring and happy person. I know I'm exceedingly silly, but at least husband never complains I'm boring, although I'm sure he thinks I talk too much :) I'm not an emotional roller coaster though, I'm just plain emotional. The funny thing is that while I was pregnant, I was less emotional! Things didn't bother me as much, really, nothing bothered me, I was just blissfully happy. Maybe it was because my pregnancy was such a complicated one, that the smaller annoying things in my life lost their meaning. I was just focusing on the happiest surprise I've ever had :)

Anyone else feel like they're equally emotional? How do you keep yourselves in check? :)

Yup, that sums me up pretty nicely:)
photos from weheartit.com

Thursday, October 18, 2012

What's in a name?

When we were choosing names for our lil man, I did a lot of research on names. I looked up websites, where people had written about their experiences being named so and so, had they been bullied, did people often misspell their name etc. I started my search for the perfect name from one of the top 100 America's baby names sites. I chose all the names that would be pronounced about the same in both Finnish and English. Then I checked that they didn't mean anything funny and I also checked the initials. I didn't want our child to be ridiculed, because his parents made a bad choice naming him. I tried to be really careful, although I know there is a great chance that at some point our lil man tells us that he hates the name :) Luckily he has three names to choose from! 

The reason why I was being very careful was, of course, the fact that I have a name that got made fun of. Not too much, but enough to make me double-check things before naming my child :) The people who joked about my name, probably felt it was harmless teasing. No one ever aggressively bullied me and the joking around ended pretty soon after elementary school. While in general I like my name, I wanted to make sure my son doesn't have to face as many jokes made about his name. When my parents chose my name, they obviously knew it was an "edible" name in English, but they didn't think it would matter. My dad actually loved the name even before I was even born. He named his first sailboat that. So later, I got named after my dad's sailboat haha.

(Even though I made a huge effort to find a good name for our lil man, I met someone whose dog had the exact same name. I think lil man won't mind though :)

After moving to the U.S to go to college, my former Finnish last name (I now have my husband's American one) became the interesting factor about my name. People would often presume things based on my names, or wonder where the name came from. For example, once when I was at a doctor's office, the nurse who called me in looked really surprised, even speechless. She apologized and said she was really dumbfounded when she saw me, because based on my name she had expected an Asian patient. The doctor himself asked me if I had some Italian heritage, since my last name sounded Italian to him. When I told him it was a fairly common Finnish last name, he asked me if I'd ever been to Finland. Well, maybe a couple of times :)

My first name also got some attention. My dorm roommate in Nebraska assumed I was African American based on my first name. It was a bit of a surprise to her when she finally met the blonde Finnish girl :) We'd never talked before we moved in, because my roommate had been busy all summer riding horses and hadn't checked her email. Luckily we got on great!

A while back, Finn For Life posted about "pseudo-names" in her blog. She wrote about how foreign people order coffee from Starbucks and give the cashier a pseudo-name, which the cashier can easily write down. A bunch of my foreign friends did this in the U.S. Some of my Indian friends shortened their long names in to T.J or Mac. Other friends of mine made up entirely new names to themselves, that sounded bit like the original version. For example the Finnish name Jaakko became Jake etc. I also know that some foreign people Americanize their names when they get U.S citizenship, since getting jobs and dealing with everyday issues is easier if you don't have to spell your long name several times before it's written down correctly. During my work placement class in Nebraska, the instructor recommended this Americanization to some of us. She said she wished she didn't have to, but she thought some of us would have better chance of getting an interview, if the company knew how to pronounce our names easily. 

Have any of you ever had trouble with your names when abroad? Have people guessed where you're from based on your name and gotten it all wrong? I'd love to hear your stories :)

pics from weheartit.com

Hope everyone is having a fabulous week!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Random Tuesdays 10/16/2012

Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum in Cheyenne, Wyoming in 2009.
Mabel Strickland sure was one tough lady!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Lip Balms

I have superdry lips and have to constantly apply lip balm, if I want my lips to look like less like the Grand Canyon. Needless to say I've gone through quite the array of different lip balms and am always looking for new ones.

Here's my current collection:

From the left:  Rosebud Perfume Co's Brambleberry Rose, Rosebud Salve and Strawberry Lip Balm with Rose & Co's Zam-Buk Herbal Balm. Weleda's Everon Lip Balm, Burt's Bees Nourishing Lip Balm with Mango Butter and The Body's Shop's Vitamin E Lip Care. On the right Fig & Rouge's Sweet Geranium, Aloe & Mint, Rambling Rose and Coco Vanilla Organic Balms. 

Rosebud's balms are all pretty much the same, with just different flavors and scents. The original Rosebud Salve might be a bit more vaseline-like than the others. Brambleberry Rose's scent is my favorite of these. Zam-Buk is also similar, but it's green and has a herbal/pine scent. All of these work in pretty much same way, since they're petroleum jelly based.

The Body Shop's Vitamin E Lip Care is my oldest favorite, I've used it for I don't know how long! I love it, it fixes irritated lips and gives them a subtle shine. It's also easy to use, since it's in a stick form. I've also used a ton of different lip butters and sticks from The Body Shop, but Vitamin E remains my favorite. My other favorite is Burt's Bees Nourishing Lip Balm with Mango Butter and I also like their Honey Lip Balm. I'm not so much a fan of their original Beeswax Lip Balm, it's bit too minty for me. Weleda's Everon Lip Balm was an emergency purchase once, and while it does it's job just fine, if not great. I'm just not a big fan of the scent.

The Fig & Rouge's Organic Balms are a new acquisition. I ordered them from Lookfantastic.com, since they had 4 for the price of 3 deal. I'd never before ordered from Lookfantastic, but decided to give it a try since they do offer free shipping to Finland. Everything went well and I think their prizes are pretty reasonable. The balms themselves are definitely different from my other lip balms. They are petroleum jelly free and have a grainy texture that melts on your skin, leaving just a hint of shine. Worth trying!

After taking the first photo I realized I had forgotten (at least) one lip balm that's currently in use:
C.O Bigelow's Lavender Salve, which is another petroleum jelly based balm. Works the same way as the others, but has a subtle lavender scent to it.

Besides these balms I've also tried a bunch of other lip balms and vaselines, but I'm always up for trying new ones. Does anyone have any good suggestions for lip balms to moisturize extra dry lips?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Perpetual Student Ponderings

Perpetual student. Yup, that's me. I have two bachelor's degrees under my belt (three bachelor's theses written) and two master's degrees on the way. I have a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Arts degrees and I'm working on Master of Arts (only thesis left, yay) and Master of Business Administration (lots left) degrees. I love to learn, life without learning would be boring.

Last week during my Research Tools class (part of my Master of Business Administration degree) I talked to one of my classmates. Actually we did an assignment together through email and finally met up face to face in class. He is originally from Egypt and this is his second Master's degree he's working on, so we had something in common. He is working full time for a large tech company, but decided to start a second Master's degree, since going to school in Finland is for free. Also, he wants to have an advantage in the job market, since he already considers himself having one disadvantage, being foreign. Now, I'm not foreign in Finland, and I never felt foreign in the U.S job market (or in the country itself, until I got pregnant), but I see his point. But what I can really relate to is why he is studying as much as he can, while he can. That's basically the biggest reason why I'm still studying; because I have the opportunity and because I can afford to. Talking to my classmate made me, once again, realize what a privilege it is to be able to study whatever you like, as much as you like.

Campus bus at the University of Vermont

Having/working on so many degrees raises a few eyebrows though. In Finland I've heard that I'm wasting tax payers' money and taking away a study place from someone else. In the U.S I've heard I'm just wasting time, I'm lazy for not making money and weird for not obsessing about my career. I do feel slightly guilty about using (not wasting!) tax payers' money, but I do hope I can return the favor when I head back to working life. As for taking someone else's study place, well, perhaps I was a better candidate for the spot? They can apply next year anyways. I definitely don't feel like I'm wasting time, and being a stay-at-home mom and a graduate student in two different universities can hardly be called lazy! As for not obsessing about my career, guilty as charged. I proudly admit my child/family comes before my career and I have confidence that despite not obsessing about it, I should be able to make a career for myself just fine.

I love the academia, but I also understand studying isn't for everyone. I do believe though, that high school diplomas are no longer enough, some sort of college or vocational education is needed, unless your career aspirations are to be a cashier or such. If, for example, my child turns out to be the non-studious type, I will urge him to get a degree of some (perhaps general) sort and then be done with school. I don't expect him to gain several degrees, I don't expect anyone else to either. I've only done so, because I really wanted to, had the time to and I've loved all the studying I've done. I don't plan on applying to any new schools though. If I will continue my studies again at some point, it'll be for a PhD. Hopefully I'll end up working in a learning environment, where I can use all these abilities.

I'm really curious what people think about education. Do you think everyone should aim to get a college degree? Do degrees in general matter? Should education be tuition free like it is in Finland? Are perpetual students like me annoying (wasting money/time etc.)?

Hope everyone is having a wonderful week!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Random Tuesdays 10/09/2012

North Central Nebraska in 2011. 
Our lil man wandering on mother-in-law's backyard. One of the things that I miss about Nebraska are the the vast open spaces. Behind the few (planted) trees, there is almost nothing but cornfields as far as the eye can see.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

How to fight fall gloom?

This is my second fall in Finland after a long absence and I'm once again feeling a bit gloomy. It's not just that the days are getting shorter, it's more of the fact that sun doesn't even make a quick appearance. It's just rain, rain and some more rain. The darkness never used to bother me before I moved to the U.S, it only started affecting me after I returned to Finland, so this gloom is a relatively new phenomena for me.

Do you experience fall gloom and how do you fight it?

I know some people travel elsewhere for the weekend, go to spas, watch movies, meet up with friends. Some resort to more home-y things like cooking yummy foods, burning candles or just plain sleeping more. I've resorted to online shopping, which always makes me a bit happier, to the dismay of my husband, I'm sure. This time the antidote was a lovely Disney (I know haha) bag and, surprise surprise, a pair of Rieker heels!

Rieker Raffaela heels, the correct color is somewhere in between these two pics

I think this might be my last pair of Riekers this fall, unless of course I find a nice pair of ankle boots from them, must keep my options open! I ordered the heels through Javari.de, which I highly recommend to my Finnish readers. Free shipping to Finland and very competitive (although ever changing) prices! The site is in German though and I couldn't find a way to change the language, but even with my very modest German skills (acquired when living in Germany), I managed to make an order just fine.

I also ordered the cutest bag ever from Javari: 

Minnie Mouse Zip Bow Bag (in the catalog and real life), which I think looks rather snazzy. 

I don't know if you can tell right away that it is a Disney bag, but I was a bit worried it would be like a kid's bag. No worries though, I think a grown up person like me (some might beg to differ that that's not an accurate description of this blogger) can use it just fine. Love it!

My darling husband had also noticed that I'm suffering from the gloom, so when I got home from class yesterday, these were waiting for me:

Love him!

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

When I grow old, I'd like to be...

... a motel/inn keeper. 

I know it doesn't make much sense, since I've spent years educating myself and certainly have never enjoyed working in the service sector. But when I'm older, probably closer to retirement age, I'd like to buy a small inn or a motel somewhere in the countryside and start managing it. I'd obviously hire people to do the cleaning/night shifts and I could also raise puppies on my spare time ;) I know I have way too romantic of an idea of inn/motel keeping, but a girl can dream, right? :)

photos from google

Do you have any equally weird dreams/plans that you'd like to share? :) 
Is there something you'd like to do when you grow old, after your initial career?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Random Tuesdays 10/02/2012

Homecoming Parade in Lincoln, Nebraska in 2008. 
University of Nebraska had their annual Homecoming Parade last weekend, so here's a photo of the parade taken a few years back.