Looking Back on 2014 and Wishes for 2015

What a year this has been.

As 2014 goes out with a bang, I look back on what has been a truly life-shaping year for me. With its dizzyingly huge events (such as becoming a wife and aunt), its new horizons and new discoveries, this year has also been the year of stability in ways I never expected it to be: this was the year when I found home in more than one sense. And I finish this year a slightly different person.


Christmas Present from Beyond Skin

I know a lot of girls say this but: I really love shoes. New shoes, I love even more. So when Beyond Skin offered to send me a pair, I was over the moon to say the least. Especially since I have admired and loved this vegan footwear brand ever since I discovered them. This chic Brighton brand creates handmade faux-leather shoes from environmentally friendly materials - sprinkled with a good dose of style.


Present Perfect

Oh, the beauty of Christmas presents.
The total agony of having to shop for them, the HELL of having to wrap them (mine look like the handiwork of a drunk five-year-old, please forgive the political incorrectness) - but also the excitement of trying to guess what's in the package with your name on it. And the sheer marvel of tearing open the package.


Festive London: Winterville

This Christmas is special - it's our very first London Christmas.

With my family living in Stockholm and David's family living in Milan, the question of where to spend the holidays is always a problem: whoever isn't picked gets offended and while we could technically do both (my family's Russian and celebrates Christmas on 7th January), paying for London-Milan-Stockholm-London plane tickets is more of something that BeyoncĂ© and Jay-Z could do. Last year we tried splitting up,  I went to my family and he went to his, and it was horrible. We met up on New Year's Eve, agreeing that we never want to do that again. So, for the first time, we're staying in London for the holidays.


Blogger Event at Amorino King's Road

A week ago I was invited to a blogger event at the lovely Amorino in King's Road, Chelsea. Along with my friend Annalisa from The Apple Market blog, who was also invited, I trotted off to the lovely little shop tucked away on a street drenched in Christmas spirit, twinkling into the chilly night. A part of me wondered how I'd ever manage to wolf down sizeable quantities of ice cream in the middle of icy December. If I had only known.


Interview with KING&WHY

I was recently interviewed by a former colleague of mine, Mary-Claire, a talented content editor and copywriter who started KING&WHY, a web magazine focusing on entrepreneurship.I loved doing this interview as the questions were interesting and quirky, and the project is really inspiring.

In this interview, I talk about starting Vilda, challenges and hopes for the future. Read the interview here.


Rant: Stop Asking Bloggers for Free Publicity

Photo credit: Etsy shop here

I know I should probably feel thankful for brands contacting me and wanting to "work" with me, since this is such a tiny blog (I have never gone above 700 daily visits), but this is really irking me. Every single day for the last couple of weeks, I have received emails from companies that want me to do a post on something - what I have for breakfast, what I wear to bed, my tips for staying focused when working, my tips on moving to another country, vegan places to visit in London - all of which sound very interesting. Right until the point where I enquire about compensation.

Inevitably, the reply is something along the lines of "we are a small company", "a start-up" or something else that boils down to the bottom line of "you're not getting paid". In all these cases, I'm not even offered a product to review - which I always gladly accept when offered, with no other compensation requests, and always write a nice post with as professional photos as I can.


Stocking Fillers: Brew-Dolph Sustainable Coffee

One of my favourite parts of being a blogger is receiving coffee for review - I'm sure I've told you before that one of my dreams is to become a coffee expert, somewhat of a coffee sommelier (yep, that's how much I love the stuff). A few weeks ago I was sent this beautiful Christmas coffee by Brew-Dolph at Make Decent Coffee -  and this was a special holiday-themed treat. A word of warning: it's not ground, and I had to borrow a coffee grinder to test it, but then again I should probably just buy one already (maybe something for Santa?). But I promise that the refined yet full flavour of this coffee will certainly be worth the minutes spent grinding.


My 2014 In Music

Crazy amazing drawing by Yanni Floros

I'll start this post by stating right away that it is not sponsored, which one might think due to the number of times that I will repeat how much I love Spotify. It's brilliant. I'm proud that the creators are Swedish! This service gives you all the music you love in one place, without the need for internet access and...well, you all probably already know this because you all have it. If not, GET IT now.

Anyway, Spotify has this "your year in music" thingie that I think is really cool. Or in my case, really predictable:


Cruelty-Free Beauty Review: Boots Botanics

Over the years, I have grown so attached to my skincare routine that I'm rarely bothered to try something new. The fragrances of my usual cleanser and moisturiser are as familiar to me as the intoxicating scent of coffee in the morning - a necessity. But when I came across Botanics in Boots, I was swayed by...OK, I'll admit it: it was the price that won me over. With their half-off offer, I think I paid £6,25 for both a day cream and a night cream. Bargain, huh?


She Doesn't Need Us. We Need Her.

I stumbled across this video today and instantly loved it. One of the strongest environmental messages in recent memory, Conservation International's series of Nature is Speaking films include Harrison Ford, Penelope Cruz, Robert Redford, Lupita Nyong'o and Ian Somerhalder, to name a few. And of course this one, the badassest one of them all - Julia Roberts as Mother Nature.

This is such a powerful message and it's so true - nature doesn't need us to survive. When she's tired of us, she'll simply wipe us out. As she has done with so many species before us.

We are dependent on nature in every single way, every moment of our lives. You can't artificially create everything, and even if you could, you'd need natural resources to do so. And when those resources are gone, they're gone. Each one of us must consider nature in our everyday lives - it's not a choice, it's a duty. At least if we want to survive.

Nature isn't ours: we're part of a bigger picture, not owners of it.  Nature (and animals!) is not here for us to abuse. She doesn't need us. We need her.

Find out more at natureisspeaking.org (who did not in any way, shape or form sponsor this post. I just genuinely love the videos)


One Year of Vilda Magazine

Exactly one year ago, I pressed "publish" to reveal my very first Editor's Letter in Vilda Magazine (actually, the date says 26th, but that's only because I had previously saved the post as a privately published draft and it kept the original date) - a project that I had spent almost a year dreaming about, worrying for and working on. And last year, after a long and tiresome battle called "learning Wordpress", it finally was a real, actual online magazine.

And what a ride it has been.



Things I carry in my bag at all times:

My wallet. It's from Accessorize and was a birthday present. Note to all leather-snobs: my faux-leather beauty now a year and a half old (which is like 50 in wallet years) and There's. Not. Even. A. Scratch. So there.

My wallet contains: a ticket from the first-ever 30 Seconds to Mars concert I ever went to, in Milan (I've been to three, one in Milan, one in Stockholm and one here in London...where to next, my beloved Jared?), a London Tube map - yep, after over two years here, I still need one - plus a ticket from We Will Rock You, the best musical of all times. And  a US dollar, which is a reminder of my dream to go back to Los Angeles one day. Plus, my wallet also has pictures of my sisters, which is great because I see them quite rarely. And a photo of David, which is great even if I see him every day.


Someone Else's Jeans

When I was fifteen, every morning was like preparing to step into a battlefield. In the icy darkness of Swedish mornings, I threw on on my second-hand clothes, knowing that whatever I wore, it would be mercilessly mocked. I pulled my hair back and defiantly omitted make-up - the last thing I wanted was to be like them. I read my books and listened to my music on the train in to school, like a gladiator suiting up for the arena.

It's 1998 and I am a bonafide outcast. Not one like today's famous kids who claim they were weird in school and actually were cool before their time. No, I am an authentic, true-life weirdo, complete with a high side ponytail, striped secondhand sweaters and glitter makeup. I have four friends in my class. The only thing we have in common is that we're all nobodies. None of us particularly likes the others - our togetherness is as glued on like my fake nails, and comes undone just as easily and unattractively.


Fake Fuzz

Until last week, I had never worn fur before, real or fake. As a lifelong animal rights activist, fur has always awakened rather strong emotions in me. But as we worked on launching Vilda's The Fakeover campaign,  I researched the booming faux fur trend and found that, in this day and age, going fuzzy is no longer synonymous with cruelty. No big surprises there!


Cool Things You'll Only See in London

The schoolgirl with a Ramones sweatshirt on top of her school uniform, tiny pleated skirt and all.

The LUSH cashier girl with tattoos so incredibly stunning you can't stop staring (I had to compliment her on them, lest she think I was some weirdo just staring at her arms for no reason).

Musicians randomly jamming together at guitar stores, and the spontaneity of it making it amazing.

The most devastating downpour you'd ever seen, followed by glorious, blindingly sparkling sunshine.

Some of the most innovative, vibrant artworks of the world...spray-painted across concrete walls.

The guy on the Tube at 8 a.m, gliding down the stairs in a pair of glittery heels so fiercely high that I couldn't even stand still for five minutes in them.

The best meal you've ever had...wrapped in paper, enjoyed while sitting on the sidewalk.

That guy busking at Leicester Square station, putting every single X Factor winner to shame.

A supermodel queueing in front of you at Boots.

The sunset over Southbank.


You're Doing It Wrong: "Italian" Restaurants

When I moved to Italy for the first time ten years ago, I learned so much about food. It was like a whole new world revealing itself to me. All of a sudden, I realised that I liked pasta - only because the only way I had ever eaten pasta before was in a mess of overcooked, stuck-together tasteless clumps, as pasta is usually served in Swedish school cafeterias. Turns out you don't pour the sauce from the jar - you make it yourself, garlic and everything. And coffee! The idea of having a cappuccino with lunch now nauseates me a bit - obviously you have coffee after the meal, not with it. Plus, cappuccinos are for breakfast, while espresso is for, well, anytime.

After years of feasting on delicacy after delicacy in the country with the world's best food (sorry France!), I briefly moved back to Sweden and crashed into the reality of what I now call Fake Italian: restaurants that claim to be Italian but have no clue about what Italians actually eat and how they cook it. Now that I am in London, I sometimes order Italian just to laugh (not if I'm really hungry, though).


Hello Autumn

Things I love about autumn:

The stunning colours.
The cable knits.
Making hot chocolate to enjoy in front of a movie on a chilly evening.
Seeing dogs and kids play in piles of leaves.
Biker boots.
Cuddling up on the sofa with a book while it's pouring down outside.
Chunky snood scarves.
Pumpkin spice lattes.
Seeing Christmas lights slowly begin to pop up everywhere.
That unique London sunlight that softly filters through the fog.


Alternative London

I love street art, so when my office team offsite day turned out to include a walking tour of one of London's art-rich areas, East London and Brick Lane, I was beyond curious. Organised by Alternative London Tours, the afternoon was a colourful overview of a creative, buzzing area filled with some of the most beautiful, unique artworks I've ever seen grace the walls of a city.

I have always been fascinated by street art - and I'm always so angry when it gets buffed away. It's an expression of our time and shouldn't be illegal. Naive as it may sound, I'd love for all the ad billboards all over London to disappear and be replaced by gorgeous art, or for the white-grey, boring walls of the city to be embellished by artworks bursting with colour. Wishful thinking. Check out some of East London's finest pieces below.


The Fakeover

I'm so proud to present a Vilda initiative that I'm super excited about!

To promote faux fur and minimise the use of real fur in fashion, we've launched The Fakeover campaign - a campaign that showcases beautiful brands (like Vriie - see the above photo) that focus on faux fur. We'll show off our own faux fur outfits and talk about how to wear the look.

Things the campaign will touch on:

  • Can real fur ever be sustainable? (hint: NO)
  • How to accessorise and style a faux fur coat
  • Why we don't wear fur - Team Vilda speaks out
  • Interviews with faux-fur designers
  • Vegan personalities on why they fake it
  • Best faux fur coats for winter

...and maybe even a giveaway or two!

Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and, of course, Vilda. Feel free to Tweet and Instagram us your thoughts on fake (and real) fur, plus your best faux fur looks with #thefakeover hashtag!


Going Vegan: What Not to Do

Going vegan is an adventure: it opens you up to a whole new way of thinking, perceiving, feeling and living (yeah, it's really amazing like that). As any major lifestyle change, the transition into veganism can be tricky as well as wonderful. Two years into the way, here are a few things I'd advice you to steer clear of.

Don't go cold turkey.
Several vegans I know would disagree with me. But in my experience, cold turkey just isn't the way to go. It's drastic, it's difficult and it is likely to lead to failure. Phase animal products out of your life instead. After almost 20 years as a pescatarian and vegetarian, you'd think the change was easy for me, but it definitely wasn't. Surprisingly, the first and easiest thing I cut out was cheese. I don't miss it one tiny bit! Especially when Vegustos' lovely substitutes are beyond amazing.

Don't think veganism is limited to food only.
Once again, personal opinion, but it just seems very strange to me to follow a vegan diet while wearing leather shoes and using L'Oreal makeup. Slowly but surely, extend veganism to every part of your life. Do research into vegan living. Find out how your decision to live cruelty-free is helping animals, people and the planet.


Two Years in London

Two years ago today, I sat in Milan's Malpensa airport, waiting for the flight that would take me and my then-fiance to our new lives in London. It was a cloudy day and all I could think about was the possibility that our Airbnb hosts had given us the wrong phone number by mistake and we would never be able to find our way to their house. I don't know why this thought kept swirling around in my mind as the plane took off and Milan disappeared beneath me. 

When we landed at Gatwick, the sun was shining over a summery London. One of the worst summers in the city's recent memory was over and autumn was beginning with sun-drenched days - the perfect welcome. Of course we had no trouble at all finding our Airbnb hosts and their home was absolutely stunning - our London life had started in the most intriguing way we could wish for. That evening, as we sat on a bench in Stoke Newington, eating the best falafel wraps I've ever had in my life, I felt that giddy rush of excitement: something new was beginning, and whatever this new era would bring, I already loved it. And when I woke up the next morning, sunshine blazing and our hosts' two cats sleeping peacefully by our feet in the bed, I knew that I was home.


(Veggie) Burger Mania at Antenna American Diner

Tomorrow's David's birthday - he chose to celebrate at Antenna American Diner, a US-inspired burger place in the lovely Crystal Palace area, where we just moved. The diner's closed on Mondays, so we moved his celebration to last night. I called the diner before and arranged for them to bring out a brownie with a candle in it (which I couldn't eat as it wasn't vegan, but David was delighted and found it delicious). The diner's Americana-style decor, super-friendly and helpful staff and cool blend of road-trippy music was a hit - not to mention one of the best veggie burger I've had since moving to London.


11 Things You Realise When You Move House

1. You have too much stuff. Yes, even you, Miss "I Only Own Five Pairs of Shoes" (by the way, why do you only own five pairs of shoes?)

2. On closer inspection, you have nowhere near as much stuff as your husband. Especially if he's a musician.

3. You CAN lift boxes.

4. Landlords that request that you vacate the premises at 8am DO exist. 

5. It's okay (I'd say advisable) to say no to that and take your time. Especially if the below should occur.

6. It's fully possible that your van will never show up. You can survive the move anyway - if you've got friends with cars (always have friends with cars!)


Me in GLAMOUR Germany!

A few weeks ago I was contacted by GLAMOUR Germany for an interview for their sustainability special, where I was asked questions about starting Vilda, shopping smart and vegan fashion tips. Which in itself is quite crazy - Vilda's not even one year old and we're making it to national magazines already! I had to pinch myself for this one.


Hello New Home

View from our new home!

Last Friday, my phone wouldn't stop beeping. This was the weekend that EVERYONE was in town and wanted to see me. And I had to turn them all down, as my Friday was spent packing up my entire life into boxes.

When you're flat sharing, your limited lifestyle leads you to believe that actually, you don't own that much "stuff" at all. Which is largely misleading, and you realise that on the day that you're tasked with the mission to pack all the aforementioned "stuff" into boxes. That's when you're faced with the stark reality: your "stuff" has completely taken over your life.

In my case, I was quite relieved to see how little of the stuff was actually mine. Most of the contents of our 25 boxes, four guitar cases and four suitcases (yep) were either amplifiers, amplifier accessories, guitar accessories, music cables, sheet music, music books and other, extremely space-consuming, things that indicated the presence of a guitarist. One that took his passions very seriously. Really, the few boxes I could claim as mine only were the ones containing books and shoes.


Specs-y Lady: On Facing Your Insecurities

Disclaimer: the below post consists of my own thoughts of MY face in glasses, not about people who wear glasses in general. I do NOT think that glasses are ugly or that people who wear them look worse than those who don't.

As a child, I thought nothing of wearing glasses. I got them when I was seven (just before my family's big move from Russia to Sweden) and I found them quite fancy, like a special accessory. I didn't realise they were considered geeky and unattractive until I started school, where the bespectacled kids were singled out as nerds just for the simple fact they were near-sighted. To be fair, I probably would have been branded an outcast for other reasons - second-hand clothes combined with a very colourful fashion sense, excellent grades but soul-crushingly bad at sports, vegetarian from age 11 and, thanks to my parents' continuous moving around, always the new girl - but let's just say the glasses didn't help.

Growing up, I learned to hate my glasses. I dreamed of being an actress and noted there were no Hollywood stars who wore specs on a daily basis...or in any of their movies, unless they were playing someone's mousy best friend. I asked my ballet-dancing friend why there were no ballerinas in glasses. I loved watching Miss Universe (I know, I know! Cringe) and noticed how there were never any beauty queens who wore glasses. Clearly, if I were ever to find fame and glory, the eye accessories had to go.

My mum, desperate to keep me from poking my fingers with my eyes on a daily basis (and looking at the consequences, she might have been right), made up some story about how you weren't allowed to wear contacts until you were 18. A quick ask-around at school helped me call her bluff and off to the optician I went, all of fifteen and a huge smile on my face. I would soon be free from the bottle-bottom shaped prison on my face.

As I have previously mentioned in this post, I was really happy to wear contacts. And since I mastered the art of popping them in and out of my eyes, I haven't been seen in glasses outside my front door since...could it be 1999?  Until this week, when I got a really bad case of conjunctivitis. I've had it before, but in many cases the infection was solved with a couple of days of eye drops and I've always kept wearing my contacts, despite doctors' advice (maybe this is why the infection keeps coming back every few years?) and everything's always been fine. This time around, though, for a variety of reasons, I saw no other choice except to follow my doctor's advice and stay contact lens-free for at least five days (the duration of the time when I was taking eye drops).

Which meant going to work in my glasses. 


Girl Model: the Naked Truth

This weekend I watched Girl Model on Netflix - I've wanted to see it for such a long time.

This documentary by David Redmon and Ashley Sabin documents the modeling industry behind the scenes as we follow Ashley Arbaugh, a jaded model scout, on her travels to Russia to recruit young models to work in Japan. 13-year-old Siberian Nadya Vall catches Ashley's attention and is soon sitting on a plane to Tokyo, where we get to follow her struggles with loneliness, language barriers and the harsh reality of the industry.

The opening scene of the film sets the tone for this gripping story. Underwear-clad teenage girls crowd together in a bare-walled, grey room for a casting. Some of them look pre-pubescent. One sixteen-year-old girl with the most chiselled, Victoria's Secret-esque body is told that she's going to have to lose some weight. "She looks 25", comments Ashley on another girl. 25 meaning old.


Cooking in Heels: Vegan Chocolate Mousse

It goes without saying that my husband is a better cook than me (he's Italian - enough said), but since I went vegan, I've discovered a whole new world of culinary wonder. I'm still a pretty bad cook, but I love dessert more than anything in the world. I also quite like experimenting. So when I saw Jamie Oliver whip up a decadent chocolate mousse in "under five minutes!", I decided that a veganised version, albeit a more time-consuming one, was next on my "let's try it" list.

And I was outright shocked at how easy it is to make. 


Fifty Shades of Absurd (and annoying)

When the Fifty Shades of Grey books came out, the thought of reading them never even crossed my mind. Firstly because, while I passionately defend everyone's right to do whatever makes them happy, in and out of the bedroom, the BDSM thing isn't quite my cup of tea. And secondly because, after reading an excerpt online, I found it - sorry EL - extremely badly written. The language was clichéd, the characters stereotyped and the writing was pretty much the worst I have ever had the dubious pleasure to encounter.

To whoever might label me as jealous - of course I am! Here's this woman who has done absolutely nothing to become a good writer - no research, no trial and error, no creative process, no sweating hours writing through the night - and she's living the high life as one of the richest bestseller stars on the planet! Any writer that has lived through the life-enriching experience of having to survive on 39p cans of beans (pretty much a rite of passage into writerdom) would be slightly miffed.  Unfortunately for us, the Fifty-Shady cult was EVERYWHERE. When the movie rights were sold, the mere act of logging into Twitter meant I had to endure an ever-present storm of "who who WHO will play the ubiquitous dreamboat Mr Grey?" (for a while there, I was worried Ryan Gosling might get dragged into this mess), until gorgeous Jamie Dornan was finally revealed as The One. Cue drool and swooning from women everywhere (especially in my office).

And now, the trailer for this masterpiece is out. Which means no one with YouTube will ever get any work done or look at lifts the same ever again. But while most women I know are oohing and aahing and making other noises I can't really spell, my reaction to this fine cinematic marvel can best be summarised as "yuck".


Things I Love: Summer in London!

Photo from the amazing and fabulous Southbank!

This time of year, it seems like everyone is on holiday: Facebook feeds are overflowing with seaside pictures, Instagram is full of tanned bikini bodies and most people I know are either blissfully enjoying faraway shores or frantically (yet very excitedly) packing their bags. It's almost enough to make me forget that I did go on holiday this year - and it was a pretty important one, too! But since it happened so early in the year, it basically feels like I'm spending the summer in London.

...which, I'm realising, I don't mind at all.


Why I Refuse to Do a Digital Detox

Yesterday, while purchasing a £3 book at the Southbank book market, I saw this sign saying, "The Smartphone Generation Doesn't Watch Where It's Going" and it made me smile because David always has to remind me to put my phone away when crossing the street. In the aftermath of the happy marriage between social media and smartphones, everyone seems obsessed with detoxing from everything that keeps us connected. Apparently, your kids are worried about you, tech bosses are (somehow) switching off and even Ian Somerhalder is doing it. And don't get me started on the countless YouTube videos spreading like wildfire through Facebook, all somewhere along the lines of:

I Forgot My Phone at Home and Realised the Sky Was Still Blue
I Got So Jealous of My Best Friend's Facebook Profile that I Forgot How Blessed I Am
Our Nose is So Deep Into Our Phones that We Haven't Actually Spoken For Years

...and similar.

I reserve the same brand of disdain and dislike for this kind of detoxes as I do for food-related ones.


Moving Soon!

Disclaimer: as much as I wish we were moving to this flat, we're not. It's just one of those amazing Pinterest pictures that are there to make you drool a lot and curse your paycheck.

So, after a never-ending search, we found, once again, that we're better off taking a less obvious path to our goals (it's a bit like looking for a job and how you're better off contacting companies you're interested in before they advertise the actual position, as opposed to just answering a job ad). Frustrated with soaring London rents and the prospect of "agency fees" (which is pretty much like throwing your cash into the sea, or, if you're feeling less poetic, the toilet), we had a brainstorm about what we could actually do to find ourselves a deal. What we came up with was to offer room-painting or other flat-fixing services in exchange for cheaper rent. The work itself would, of course, be done by my amazing husband. 

As a result, we found a flat in just a week - after almost a year of "traditional" flat search!

Aside from the excitement of exploring a brand new area of London, we're also looking forward to having our own space (FINALLY) and decorating (well, that's mostly me). What I'm not looking forward to is having to pay almost double rents next month - officially the poorest month of the year! But it's all worth it just to have a place to call our own. 


My Birthday Present

On my 21st birthday, I only had one birthday present - from myself. I was working in Italy for the first time and decided to give myself a treat, so I went to the local jewellery shop and found the brand Nomination, whose customiseable stainless steel bracelets were all the rage among young Italians back then. I bought a bracelet with my name on it in gold letters - and still wear it.

Ten years later, I was in Amalfi for my birthday with my new husband. And we were passing by a local jewellery shop that carried Nomination.


High Heels, Sharp Brains

One of the reasons why ELLE UK is my favourite magazine is because they have such an original view on topics close to women's hearts. Last month, they published a piece by a writer I really like, Nigerian Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (her latest novel Americanah is absolutely marvellous). In ELLE, Chimamanda talked about how, as a woman, you're expected to dress down to be taken seriously.


Stuffing My Face at the V-Delicious Show (and more)

One thing I love about London are all the stuff-your-face-friendly veggie events that seem to pop up every once in a while - you remember me going crazy at the London VegFest? Well, I've eaten my weight in vegan cupcakes twice since: once was at the Brighton VegFest and once was at the V-Delicious Show this Sunday.


Honeymooners: A Photo Post

Our honeymoon began...with a search party.

Two days after our wedding, as we were frantically scrambling our belongings together at my mum's house to catch the train for the airport, David quite matter-of-factly mentioned the small, insignificant detail that he had lost - LOST!! - his wedding ring. Yep, the one that had barely spent two days on his finger. I dropped everything and searched suitcases, bed sheets and bathroom cabinets...until it showed up in his backpack (really).  All rings on the correct fingers and suitcases in tow, we began our newlywed voyage towards Agropoli, a tiny village near Salerno, Italy, where David's mum was born and where my new husband spent most of his summers as a kid. We were also set to visit parts of the rest of the Amalfi Coast.

Sweden to Italy may seem like an easy trip, but this was one of the most difficult trips I'd ever made, mostly due to Italian trains' absolutely ridiculous scheduling problems and constant delays. We arrived at destination at 11pm and had to wake David's aunt up for the keys to the flat! Once inside, we discovered that neither the water nor the power was working, so we had to wake up yet another aunt (almost the entire building belongs to David's family) for help. As soon as we'd settled down, we took a stroll around Agropoli, discovering not only stunning views but also a little fish restaurant that were kind enough to make me a grilled veggie plate. After this late-night dinner, we finally passed out in bed, sleeping well into the next morning.


Beyond Skin Sale!

So today I clicked into what can only be described as vegan shoe heaven (or wallet hell, depends on how you see it) - Beyond Skin's vegan shoe sale. I swear, if I still lived in Italy or California, or anywhere with a climate that allows for year-round open shoes, I could make out my entire shoe wardrobe just from this sale.  Sky-high heels with stunning geometric prints, patent sandals, dainty flats - yep, I think we've got most of basic (and beyond) footwear needs covered.