Back to School – FIN 270 Modern and Contemporary Finnish Architecture and Design at the University of Toronto 


I love to learn. While I may have left formal post-secondary education more than two decades ago, I have continued to be a lifelong learner both formally and informally. The University of Toronto’s Finnish Studies elective courses have always been on my learning wish list since both my parents emigrated from Finland to Canada as well as most of my family were born and continue to live in Finland. When I read about the Finnish Studies and the Embassy of Finland to Canada’s brand new course in Modern and Contemporary Finnish Architecture and Design, I knew I had to enroll. I grew up surrounded by Finnish design and on a construction site too. I believe both inspired my love of architecture, design and photography. I work professionally full time, I decided to audit the course by creatively using three vacation days to attend this class to learn more. My first class completed and I am very excited about the lectures and guest speakers including a few who will travel from Finland for this course that celebrates Finland’s 100th anniversary of Independence. Finland is a young nation but it has made an amazing impact through its architecture and design in both Finland and around the world. Look forward to all my learnings and sharing my insights in the weeks ahead. Join me on the journey. Tervetuloa.

Remembering Princess Diana 


Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.” – Princess Diana 

It is hard to believe twenty years have passed since the news of Princess Diana’s death. I grew up with Princess Diana from the moment the press found out she was dating Prince Charles. I still remember waking in the wee hours of July 29, 1981 on summer holidays in Sudbury to watch the Royal Wedding and essentially fell in love with everything British and Royal. How incredibly lucky I would be that I was in Ottawa on a school trip when Charles and Diana would make their first trip to Canada in 1983. I waited on a hot and humid June day with a few public school friends and likely a teacher given our young age to just get a glimpse of Princess Diana from her car as it entered the Rideau Hall Gates. It was a dream come true. I followed Princess Diana in the newspapers, magazines and television. I loved her style and elegance but more importantly I was inspired about how she made it her mission to help others, advocate and shed light to causes that were not considered glamorous. Diana had this warmth which was evident in her interactions with others.

In June 1997, my university friend and a fellow Princess Diana fan and I planned a trip to London. The trip was originally planned for around the time of Princess Diana’s death but at some point we decided to moved it up to June. What a different trip it would have been from the one we experienced. I was up north in cottage country when I heard the news of Princess Diana with one fuzzy television channel and a radio. As the days passed, I would watch the coverage from London and once again woke in the wee hours of September 6, 1997 to say goodbye to the People’s Princess. 

Since the world lost Princess Diana, I have been lucky to see her dresses twice in Toronto, travel to her resting place Althorp with my mother on her birthday in 2002 and then onto Paris to where she lost her life that fateful day. I hope to travel to London to see the Diana: Her Fashion Story at Kensington Palace before it closes in early 2018. 

In a world that celebrates and worships all things celebrity, it is Princess Diana who continues to inspire me. Princess Diana embodied love, kindness, compassion and inclusion. I aim to embrace these values as I go about my own travels on this earth. I love seeing her boys William and Harry along with Catherine carry on her legacy and continue to champion causes that were important to her while also charting their own course of what is important to them. Diana would be so incredibly proud. As a life-long volunteer, they all inspire me to continue to contribute to my own community and helping others. 

“I think the biggest disease the world suffers from in this day and age is the disease of people feeling unloved. I know that I can give love for a minute, for half an hour, for a day, for a month, but I can give. I am very happy to do that, I want to do that.” – Princess Diana

Diana – forever remembered and missed. 💗

Scarves: My Everyday Accessory 

“Put on a sweater and really great sneakers with a big scarf, and you’ll look so stylish. For me, they are an everyday essential.” ~ Meghan Markle

Ms. Markle and I share the same style philosophy. Scarves to me are not just a piece to keep me warm but an essential year-round accessory. I absolutely love them and always seem to have one (or more) on me at all times for warmth or something stylish. I wear them with my casual outfits, with coats as well as with dresses and skirts to work. They add the perfect pop of colour to my neutral wardrobe of black, navy, grey and white. A scarf can be a great way to change an outfit, test out a new colour palate in a safe way, keep you warm and there are plenty of options at various price points for all seasons. Depending on the size, it may also be used as a shawl too. If you are looking to add something new to your autumn wardrobe, a scarf may be the perfect investment to make your old outfits new and exciting again. 

FIN 270 Modern and Contemporary Finnish Architecture and Design at the University of Toronto 

I love everything Finnish and I love to always be learning. This autumn I am creatively using three vacation days and heading back to school. The University of Toronto Finnish Studies Program in partnership with the Embassy of Finland to Canada are introducing a brand new course – FIN 270 Modern and Contemporary Finnish Architecture and Design to celebrate Finland’s 100th year of Independence. Finnish Architecture and Design is well known throughout the world and is forefront in Finland’s identity. The course will welcome guest lecturers from Finland which is very exciting. Since I don’t need an undergraduate credit, I decided to audit the course which means all the joys of learning without the stresses of studying, assignments and exams. If you love design and architecture or everything Finnish, definitely consider joining this course or one of the other courses offered by the Finnish Studies program. I am very excited to learn more about Finnish Architecture and Design and hope to share some of my findings and insights along the way. 

Simple Glowy Friday Makeup 

Simple glowy Friday makeup thanks to inspiration from Lauren of Hunter and Heels (@huntersandheels) and her new video “Quick, Easy, Everyday Makeup for Mums“. While not a mum myself, I can definitely embrace a quick makeup routine that makes me look glowy and awake. I started with my R+F Soothe Steps 1, 2 and 3, REDEFINE Multi-Function Eye Cream and then finished with REVERSE Suncreen. I started my makeup by applying Bobbi Brown Tinted Moisturizer (Extra Light). Since I was challenged with lots of insomnia this week, I applied corrector (Light Bisque) followed by the new Instant Full Cover Concealer (Cool Sand) and Nude Finish Illuminating Setting Powder (Bare). On my eyes is Ivory shadow swept across my lid, Cavier applied with a wet eyeliner brush across the top lash line followed by smokey eye mascara (black). Applied blusher (Pale Pink – a blue based pink) to the apple of my cheeks for a pop of pink and Highlighting Powder (Pink Glow). Crystal Lip Gloss applied once on the go. Happy Friday! 

Discovering Finnish Design in Toronto and Beyond 

I have always loved Finnish design and have been surrounded by its beauty my entire life since my family originates from the lovely country of Finland. I love how much of the inspiration ties back to the lakes, nature, Finnish folklore, the Kalevala and nordic simplicity. Finnish design is truly timeless design.

Since I was a child, The Finnish Place has been my resource in Toronto for all things Finnish. First located on Yonge Street in the heart of downtown North York and now a bit farther north at Yonge and John Street in the lovely community of Thornhill. They have a great selection of items made by Aarikka, Arabia, iittala, Kalevala Koru and Marimekko as well as other Finnish brands.

I have always loved the vase designed by the famous Finnish Architect Alvar Altao. It reminds me of the Finnish lakes and the Finns love their time spent by the lake at their mökki – the Finnish term for summer house and definitely not to be confused with a Muskoka summer house. I own two smaller versions of this vase but definitely hope to add a larger one to my collection in the near future. 

Happy to discover on my recent visit that one of my favourite pieces – Kastehelmi tealight candle holders – have returned to Canada and are available again at The Finnish Place. I love lighting these on dark winter evenings as my own form of hygge.

The beautiful Marimekko prints always bring happiness. I own a few of the prints as pillow covers and also have used fabric stapled to a board to create a colourful kitchen print. The Finnish Place has an extensive selection of fabric as well as clothing and accessories in these fun and colourful prints.

You don’t need to be Finnish to add some beautiful Finnish design elements to your home and luckily you don’t need a voyage to the land of the midnight sun either. Always visit The Finnish Place website to make sure they aren’t travelling back home to Finland for new items for the store. If you are not in the Toronto area or may prefer to shop online, these are two websites that specialize in Finnish brands  – Finnish Design Shop and FinnStyle. However to really experience Finnish design, definitely plan a holiday to Finland and immerse yourself from the moment you step off the plane. 

This year Finland celebrates 100 years of independence and design has been in the forefront of its identity since 1917. May this be the year you are inspired to explore, discover and hopefully fall in love with Finnish design. 

The Coach Market Tote 

Since I was little, autumn was my favourite time of year. I always loved back to school fashions and the sense of a new beginning. While it has been many years since I returned to school, I love when I can bring out my cooler weather clothes again. Every autumn I may add a few new pieces if I find something in one of my favourite colours that suit me. 

Over the last few years, I have slowly been trying to add navy instead of black to my basic neutral wardrobe. While September is still a few weeks away, I introduced something new to my accessory wardrobe – a Coach Market Tote in Navy with a Teal coloured lining. I had been looking for a navy purse and/or bag for awhile and happened upon this beautiful one when I recently popped into a Coach store for a look. I consider myself a poster girl and brand ambassador for Coach as I have owned and loved their leather goods for more than two decades. It was love at first site when I saw this tote. I love its versatility – one can open it completely as a tote or close the centre clasp for a purse look. It has a few inside pockets for your mobile or transit pass and a large zippered pocket too. Since I often stop on my way home from work, I needed something to put my work tablet in to bring it with me on the go and this bag is perfect for that. I am also a shutterbug and have been wanting to use my Canon Camera DSLR more often and this tote allows me to take it on my local travels. I love that Coach now allows you personalize your own hang tag. I kept it simple with my initials with a heart to balance them in between. I am always doodling hearts and I love the heart symbol as it represents love and sharing kindness with the world. 


If you haven’t been to Coach recently and are looking for a new purse or tote, pop in to see the new collections. Thank you to Stephanie and Manus at the Coach Store at CF Markville for the amazing service experience. I absolutely love my beautiful new market tote!