Refraction: Weekly Photo Challenge

Few days ago my Instagram-feed was filled with cool, fragmented photos. I wanted in on that action too but A. the app was only for iPhones and when I found a version for Android…B. my version of it is too old for the app.

Gee. Thanks.

My obsession got even further when I saw this week’s challenge theme and I thought, maybe someone has already made a tutorial for Photoshop for this effect. No, no such luck. What is girl to do? Well, I didn’t get as far as creating a tutorial or even making something  super wow but I think I got something semi-good looking going on here:

fragmented sky in Helsinki, Finland Fragment2 Fragment3

Töölönlahti in Helsinki, Finland. I think I have potential here for some great graphic designs, don’t you think?

The rest of the interpretations of this week’s theme Refraction are HERE. All of my past challenge entries are HERE. If you have any decent ideas how to progress with this technique, please let me know in the comments.

-Thrifty Finn, terribly pleased with herself-

Pinteresting vol. XLIV

Thrifty Finn Pinterest

Wow. My blog statistics went through the roof, thanks to the Whiskeygate. I broke both my daily record and my monthly record, so thanks for all visiting! I actually have a plan to write about what happened after the #gate but new absurdities keep coming up every day that I can’t keep up. Most likely the new alcohol law will be reviewed because it turned out it conflicts with the constitution. Nice work, parliament! Full thumbs up.

So… To celebrate the Whiskeygate, I decided to gather some of my favourite alcohol bottles from my board Branding & Packaging. Enjoy!

pink limoncello, pinterest, Thrifty Finn

via pinklimoncello.com

Pink Limoncello by LiDestri. The website too is a pink explosion.

Kyrö distillery, werklig, design, Thrifty Finn, Pinterest

Image via bpando.org

Kyrö Distillery is a Finnish company. The company brand identity was designed by Werklig design agency. The awesomeness of this packaging opens up if you visit Kyrö’s website. Hipsterish Finnish men in all their glory ;)

Sangria Lolea, Thrifty Finn. Pinterest, spanish wine

Image by sangrialolea.com

Sangria Lolea. I love these bottles. They really used the spanish cultural heritage to their advantage. Flamenco, anyone? Their website is pretty gorgeous too. The rain definitely doesn’t rain on these plains.

la belle famille, wine, Thrifty Finn, Pinterest

Via emmadime.com

La Belle Famille is an imaginary wine company, imagined by a graphic designer Ali Labelle. I was kind of disappointed that these aren’t real as they are fantastic girlfriend-gifts. Oh well, there are plenty of wine in the world even if these aren’t real. Here’s hoping though.

milk vodka, destileria siderit lactee

Via evistaqrcantabria.com/

This bottle screams luxury. The content sounds disgusting though…milk vodka! Apparently milk can be fermented to make vodka. Eh, the more you know. It’s made by a spanish distillery Siderit. I like the packaging a lot although I’m not sure if it really is an alcohol bottle. Could work much better as a perfume. Do you know what I mean?

There are tons of fantastic designs out there. I rarely bump into a branding board that has less than thousand pins ;) I know that at least one of my followers collects Absolut-bottles. Does anyone else collect any other alcohol bottles for their design?

-Thrifty Finn-

 

 

I <3 Marks & Sparks

You know. I like to think I’m somewhat conscious consumer. I buy what I use and think about the ethical consequences, within my own means of course. But I do appreciate good business too. I can much easier justify spending money on clothes and support textile industry because the materials for those you can re-grow over and over again, where as for smartphones…Once the metallic is dug up, it’s not replenishing itself.

This same goes for all kinds of packaging. I like well designed packaging and I think ALL the packaging in the world should be designed well. Once you use any kind of natural resource, you should use it the best possible way and the sum of all the parts should always be bigger than the basic cost! Nice surroundings and things create nice people.

With these thoughts…Let me tell you how excited I am about MARKS & SPENCER OPENING THEIR FIRST STORE IN FINLAND!!!

Note: This is not an advertisement. I haven’t received any compensation from M&S. I’m just a huge fan of British high street.

marks & spencer helsinki

Last Saturday, after the demonstration against #TTIP (yes, I’m aware of the irony but ethics and business are not mutually exclusive things), I bumped into a friend of mine and convinced him to accompany me to the newly opened store. (I had a good reason for this. I knew I was going to get all kinds of fashion fan-girly embarrassing once in the store. Needed support and backup).

My swooning started already at the entrance. The huge bouquet and dim lighting immediately gave me a feeling of luxury. Me? A luxury buyer? Yes! Please! Butter me up! Butter me up!

marks & spencer Helsinki

The ground floor has the more expensive (still reasonably priced) M&S- brands like Autograph and Per Una. I kept bouncing from one display to one another because I loved every single outfit. This orange coat with the plaid dress with electric blue highlights is a perfect example of everyday luxury that just oozes confidence, style and good taste. And oh glorious…I checked the dress on the hanger and there seems to plenty of room for hips & butt. Praise the English and their pear-shaped lower bodies. Now in Finland!

marks & spencer Helsinki, footwear

The British have perfected the smart casual office style. Even the shoes have details that make sensible shoes cute and sexy. And the price point…I found black ballerinas, leather, with those hidden heels that make ballerinas good shoes instead flat, feet killers for 60 euros! SIXTY EUROS! Usually I have to pay over 100 for them.

M&S has four floors and they are shared with the Finnish department store Sokos. However it’s clear what’s M&S-space and what’s not. There’s signage and of course the presentation is much more well thought:

MarksSparks4

I took a separate tour to the Sokos-side so I could get a full shot of this:

marks & spencer Helsinki

Me and my friend just kept nodding and repeating “they know how to sell, they know how to sell”. Even the music supports this. Very cool, very danceable and very, very selling. It was the kind of music that makes you want you to put your best face and clothes on and go out. M&S (and H&M among others) gets it. Even if I’m buying period panties, I don’t want to think that I HAVE to buy something. I want to want it.

Even the men’s wear department got me all excited.I mean, look at this display:

marks & spencer Helsinki, men's wear

If a guy wearing any of those looks, smelling really good came to me and said even so much a hello, I would put out. Yes, I said it because it needs to be said. A smartly dressed man is same to a woman as a half-naked woman is to a man. Suit catalogs are porno for women.

I have a feeling a lot of men in Helsinki will be finding Marks & Spencer-clothing in their Christmas-socks. Men, if you do, take the hint.

Anyhoo, on the same floor is also a small food section. It mainly has biscuits, candies and other packed snack foods. Do I even need to tell you my excitement level here? If you, like me, are package enthusiast, you love this section. Every single thing in here is such that you can give it as a gift. Even if it’s cheap, the packaging itself makes it a special and more thoughtful gift than, let’s say a TV-mix, from a regular store. Bonus is that you get the fantastic shopping experience.

I bought some chocolate covered honeycomb crunch thingies. Delicious. I joked with the sales assistant that this was my breaking point. After buying this one thing, I won’t be able to stop shopping there :D

My only negative thought is that M&S was brought to Finland by S-Group. S-Group is one of the two chains that control 80% of Finland’s food retail (and presumably a lot of other retail too since they own any kind of retail chain possible), so M&S is not really new competition. That also probably prevents them from opening a full scale M&S food retail space because S-Group wouldn’t want anyone new on their turf. Although the basement of the building where M&S now resides, already has a grocery store and the space would be perfect for M&S.

What comes to the fashion retail, I think the biggest blow will be for Stockmann (that’s the “better” department store in Helsinki). Their clients are more international and they have learned to shop at M&S when abroad. M&S clothes are also better priced and like I said, feel very luxurious. But then again, M&S brought much needed newness to the Helsinki- fashion and shopping scene and could bring everyone’s sales up. From an artistic and designer’s point of view, it’ fantastic have a place where I can get international inspiration. Patterns, cuts, displays…Hopefully an endless treasure trove.

Edited to add: The opening hours Mon-Fri 9-21, Sat 9-18, Sun 12-18

-Thrifty Finn-

P.S. When I got to the lingerie department, the first thing I asked from the manager was that do you have the multi-packs? They did:

marks & spencer Helsinki

H&M just lost about 30-50 euros of business per year from me.

 

The Grand Whiskeygate of Finland

Oh my, oh my, oh my. You know. You try to love your country. See the good and participate in things that would make it even better but sometimes, just sometimes, that country of yours makes it so damn hard…

I got home about an hour ago, around 22.00 and as I always do, I got online and logged in on Twitter. What was the first thing I saw? Something, something whiskey and the hashtag #viskigate, in English #whiskeygate.

What?

Is this?

glenmorangie, alcohol law, Finland

Glenmorangie website viewed from Finland

The tweets kept coming and at last I spotted a link to an article on Helsingin Sanomat and boy, did I get some information. I’m going to try to translate it here. Pardon again about the quality. And yes, this is very much true and very much happened in the year 2014…

Aluehallintavirasto, short AVI (The Regional Government Authority), banned two Finnish bloggers from writing about whiskey if it’s connected to the upcoming Beer & Whiskey Expo. Also the organizers of the expo had to drop the word whiskey from the expo name.

Now the expo, organized under the new name Olutexpo Finland (Beerexpo Finland) got their license from AVI on the condition that no links from Google comes to their site with the search word “whisky”, tells the organizer Mikki Nyman.

Due to the demands of AVI, Nyman had to ask those two bloggers to remove from their blogs all the mentions of whiskey.

Bloggers Jaakko Matikainen of Jaskankaljat-blog and Nikolas of Mushimalt-blog tells us that originally they got a permit from VALVIRA, the authority that oversees alcohol permits in Finland, to write on their blogs what kind of whiskeys the expo is offering and describe them.

“I wanted to do everything by the book, so I wouldn’t cause any trouble to anyone. They gave us clear instructions: financial compensation from the texts wouldn’t be allowed and the prices of the whiskies cannot be mentioned. Clear advertising blurbs were definitely banned”, tells Matikainen.

Suddenly this week AVI contacted Mikki Nyman. AVI disagreed with VALVIRA. According to AVI, all logos and whiskey- related mentions are banned- both on the expo’s own website as well as on personal blogs that write about the expo.

“Nyman contacted me and Jaakko. He asked us to remove the headlines and whiskey-words that are directly connected to the even or else they will lose their license”, tells Nikolas.

“My first reaction was that has the controlling of private citizens begun? I removed all the logos and mentions as per requested. Then I thought, what if I had left the logos there? Would it have proceeded to the point where the entire event would have been cancelled, because of one person who has nothing to do with the organizing the said event?” Nikolas asks.

Aluehallintovirasto’s view is that the event advertises through private blogs. “They decided that we are somehow part of it, even though we’re not”, says Nikolas.

Jaakko Matikainen agreed to clean up his blog.

“I don’t want to be the beer blog, that prevents the entire expo from happening. It wouldn’t make sense”, says Matikainen.

Matikainen tells, that now everyone has to proceed with care that AVI won’t cancel the permits at the last minute.

“I don’t want to pick up a fight with someone I can’t win. As soon as the expo is over, I can ask if the citizens right to free speech is offended”, says Matikainen.

Last spring Mikki Nyman applied and got a license from PRH (the authority for trademarks and business names) for Olut & Viskiexpo Finland, Beer & Whiskey Expo Finland. Nyman is amazed that another authority blocks the use of a legally acquired business name.

“After the event I’m contacting PRH. I’m making an official enquiry, because I want it on black and white why I’m prevented form using my company’s official name”, says Nyman.

According to Nyman, the license to serve alcohol was granted yesterday after the two bloggers had removed the whiskey-mentions.

“If Nikolas would have continued call the event Beer & Whiskey Expo and wouldn’t have changed his writings, I couldn’t have done anything about it. The license to serve alcohol would have been evoked and I would have been driven to bankruptcy”, says Nyman.

No one from the Aluehallintovirasto was reached for an interview.

I don’t know about you but I see plenty of problems with this. Aluehallintovirasto expects one person in Finland to moderate entire Google’s content. They also specified two bloggers and decided that they are somehow paid employee’s and/or owners of the event without any basis. And then they proceeded to put those two people on the position of responsibility, effectively blackmailing them. Does this know mean that anyone can be put in this position? If someone starts a business and I write about it, can I be forced to change my text under the threat that the person I don’t know will lose their livelihood if I don’t?

Finland has one of the most insane alcohol laws in the world. We have to buy alcohol from state-owned stores, which opening hours are very much restricted. Starting from January 2015 ALL alcohol advertising is banned in Finland, however I pretty much doubt that Alko, the state-owned store has to abide by that rule.

Scottish whisky maker Glenmorangie was quick to react in the decision and has blocked their site for Finnish IP-addresses.

I can’t even right now. Anything.

Edited to add… Blogger and producer Martti Lindholm of blog.themartti.com gathered some interesting Twitter-data regarding the #whiskeygate:

whiskeygate Finland, Twitter, data, hashtags Collective 7000 tweets about whiskey. Well done, Finland. Well done.

 

-Thrifty Finn, exceptionally exasperated today-

P.S. Seems that this whole fiasco is the work of one woman, Anneli Taina, the director of Southern Finland’s Aluehallintovirasto.

Dreamy: Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s theme on the WP Photo Challenge is ‘Dreamy’. I decided on some sweet flowers in a park in Paris…

paris, park, flowers Dreamy2 Dreamy3

I used various photo actions on them. Define & Sharpen by The Pioneer Woman and Mayfair and X-Pro II from the Instagram- action set. They are all available to download for free. Just google them.

If you are interested in other interpretations of this week’s theme, they are HERE. My previous challenge entry is HERE and rest of my entries are HERE.

-Thrifty Finn-