Winter Light: Letter from the Editor

photo: Classiq

During the holidays, I chose to shut off from the world. I needed a break not only from city life, but also from all the noise on social media. It’s been a very peaceful, albeit very full end of the year. So in my beginning-of-the-year letter from the editor (this is what I was writing about this time last year), I am sharing not only my carefully chosen recommendations for starting the new year in a well-cultured way, with great films, books, podcasts and things to do (they work wonderfully to battle the January blues, too). I want to talk about something else as well. About some of the changes I have made in my life and will continue to make for my own peace of mind, for the good of my family and for the better of the world around me. I hope the new year will bring change for the better.

Emily Blunt and Millicent Simmonds in “A Quiet Place” | Platinum Dunes

A Quiet Place

I have just recently watched John Krasinki’s sci-fi suspense thriller which he also co-wrote and which stars Emily Blunt. It immediately made the cut to my top movies of 2018. It is set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, where sightless alien creatures hunt their prey on even the faintest sound. It is a world in which only the most quiet and careful humans survive. There is not much that can be invented in cinema anymore, but that concept felt new and thrilling. Silence never sounded so terrifying. Emily Blunt and her real life husband, John Krasinski, play a loving couple with young kids and the story is so tense that I stood on the edge of my seat the entire time. They have to speak in sign language and walk with bare feet and even the vaguest sound can mean almost instant death. It’s clever, nerve-shredding and beautifully executed, and I kept telling myself that this can’t be so good until the end. But it absolutely is. One of the things that makes it so good is that it does not depend too much on what these creatures look like. For a big portion of the film they remain subliminally defined and the power of the unseen works brilliantly. I’d like to also recommend you listen to Terry Gross’ podcast with Emily Blunt, where they discuss Mary Poppins Returns, but also A Quiet Place.

Free Solo

There are still a few films of last year which I was looking forward to and still haven’t had the chance to watch (I wrote about all the good ones I did watch here and here), but I have to get a little more into detail about Free Solo. Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin’s documentary film profiles rock climber Alex Honnold on his quest to perform a free hand-over-foot, with no rope, solo climb of the 1,000 m face of El Capitan, Yosemite National Park, in June 2017. I love the mountain and there are few things that fascinate me more than the pursuit of great heights, literally speaking. The drive, the courage, the majesty of the mountain and of a human being up there on it. “What makes free soloing interesting is it’s life or death. In normal life you’re never facing real consequences of, ‘I could die doing this.’”

Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown

Even if you’ve watched this before, you can watch it again. Anthony Bourdain’s show that followed him as he traveled around the world from Myanmar to New Jersey to Senegal, sampling foods, meeting local chefs and embracing diverse takes on food culture. “Bourdain lived life like he treated so many of the dishes he consumed. By gnawing it to the bone. So many of us could learn to live just a little more like that. This show isn’t just entertaining. It is heartwarming, it is honest and it benefits human kind,” wrote Tanner Palin.

Spiral (Engrenages) & Trapped (Ófærð)

I have recently been recommended these two tv series. The first one is a French cop thriller show and the second one is an Icelandic series, “a mix of Nordic noir and Agatha Christie” in the director Baltasar Kormákur’s own words. And now I can not wait for a weekend when I will be able to binge-watch either one of them.

“The Clean Plate” cook book by Gwyneth Paltrow | photo credit: Goop

The Magic Lantern: An Autobiography

“When a film is not a document, it is a dream…At the editing table, when I run the strip of film through, frame by frame, I still feel that dizzy sense of magic of my childhood.” Do you need any other reason to read this book?

The Oliver Stone Experience

A no-holds-barred retrospective and comprehensive monograph of Oliver Stone, the renowned and controversial writer, director and cinematic historian in interview form. Over the course of five years, Oliver Stone and author Matt Zoller Seitz (The Wes Anderson Collection) discussed, debated and deconstructed Stone’s outspoken, controversial life and career with extraordinary candor. All those conversations are collected in this book.

My Extraordinary Ordinary Life

For all the reasons I wrote about here, I can not wait to read this memoir.

David Bowie: A Life

The only book I have been interested in reading so far about David Bowie, although not a biography, was Bowie, Bolan and the Brooklyn Boy, by Tony Visconti. I gather Dylan Jones’ book, drawn from a series of conversations between Bowie and Jones across three decades together with over 180 interviews with friends, rivals, lovers and collaborators, is a much more complete account on his life and music, and only hope is as good as Visconti’s.


Azzedine Alaïa made fashion on his own terms, in his own time. He refused to fit into the fashion system. He gave himself time, as much as he needed. He worked for years on an idea until it was perfect. He never did anything just to please someone. He didn’t advertise. He rarely gave interviews, and made no public appearances. He was exceptionally discreet in his real life. He was a master of form. He was born with it. He was relentless in his work. He never stopped creating. Everything he created, he created with his own hands. A new edition of the only major monograph published on Azzedine Alaïa, which has been out of print for over a decade, is available. Enough said.

The Clean Plate

I’ve said it before and I will say it again. I love Gwyneth Paltrow’s cook books. Her recipes are right up my alley: few ingredients, plenty of vegetarian and vegan dishes, seasonal, natural, easy to make and all so good. Her cook books, “It’s All Good” and “It’s All Easy”, are among the very few that are on heavy rotation not only in my home, but also in my parents’ home, and that says a lot.

Virtual Unreality: The New Era of Digital Deception

My interest in investigative journalism is picking up speed again with this book. The presentation of Charles Seife’s Virtual Unreality reads that journalism ideally is the practice of truth, but the Internet has changed how we identify the truth. Seife explores what happens when consensus reality breaks down, when we continually ingest deception.


“Aramburu has recognised that in the wake of ETA’s permanent ceasefire, there is another story that needs to be told and remembered in a sensitive and reconciliatory fashion. This cannot be achieved by politicians fighting over how best to facilitate ETA’s disbandment and address the legacy it leaves. It must be writers and other cultural practitioners who do that,” writes The Conversation. I couldn’t agree more. Fernando Aramburu’s “Patria” is a gripping story and devastating exploration of the meaning of family, friendship, what it’s like to live in the shadow of terrorism, and how countries and their people can possibly come to terms with their violent pasts. Also a vivid description of political mainstream error and the inescapable attraction of terror for a young misguided generation. The English version, “Homeland”, will come out in spring.

Primate Change

Vybarr Cregan-Reid‘s “Primate Change: How the world we made is remaking us” is about why we need to get out of our chairs and on our feet. Because the modern, sedentary lifestyle is doing irreparable harm to our bodies. I don’t do New Year’s resolutions, but how’s that for a lifetime’s resolution?

Japanese Children’s Favorite Stories

It is unbelievable how many questions I get from my son every time I read him one of these Japanese stories and fables. And the way his imagination takes off. It is one of those wonderful books which introduce children to different cultures and different parts of the world with such ease. The first edition of this book (by Florence Sakade, with illustrations by Yoshisuke Kurosaki) was published in 1959 and it’s been popular ever since. PS: Children’s books are not just for children.

Anthony Bourdain | photo credit: CNN

My January playlist will soon be available on the site and on Spotify, but until then, here are some of my favourite podcasts.

Terra Incognita

I’ve been long looking for an adventure podcast (not merely a travel podcast) where I could discover the why behind the stories of those who live extraordinary lives: the adventurers, the explorers, the mountaineers, the outdoors people. People who challenge themselves, who go there, who live every day to the full. Because, as Mark Twain said: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” And thanks to my favourite travel magazine, Sidetracked, I have found the adventure podcast. Terra Incognita, hosted by filmmaker Matt Pycroft, is an ongoing series of conversations with pioneers of exploration and discovery.

Fresh Air

Every week I make time to listen to almost every episode of Terry Gross’ podcast. Yes, I have mentioned it numerous times before. Because, yes, it is that good.

Halloween Unmasked

I am not much fan of the horror genre or of Halloween, for that matter. But I love a good horror movie. I love a good movie, period. And John Carpenter’s “Halloween” (1978) is one. I also love a good talk about a good film. Halloween Unmasked, hosted by film critic Amy Nicholson (it was her narration style that pulled me in), is an eight-part miniseries about the legacy of this “accidental classic”. Each episode is dedicated to a different element of the film’s unprecedented success and impact on the horror genre (including interviews with the director himself and Jamie Lee Curtis). I certainly wanted to watch the film again after listening to this podcast. PS: For more great film interviews, check out Terry Gross’ podcast (see above).

Conspiracy Theories

“We are not conspiracy theorists. But we are open-minded, skeptical and curious,” say hosts Molly Brandenburg and Carter Roy. I like their motto. Each week, they dig deep into a conspiracy theory about a famous subject, from the New World Order and Marilyn Monroe to the Illuminati and to the death of Kurt Cobain. I find this podcast very informative and a reminder to think by yourself and learn to ask questions.

Alex Honnold peers over the edge of Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park, 2016.
Photo credit: National Geographic/Jimmy Chin

Before the year ended, I closed both my personal and my website’s Facebook accounts. I barely ever used my personal account, but I used my site’s account much more often for obvious reasons. However, Facebook is a platform that has never represented the values Classiq stands for, namely a manifesto for living a meaningful and well-cultured life. And I have to say, I didn’t expect my decision to have an obvious impact on my life, but it does. That little time I spent on Facebook daily I use it now to read a paper magazine, for example, and I’m telling you, it makes all the difference. It is a simple act that makes you more connected with the real world and it is so worth it. And I don’t feel I am forced into any intake of unwanted news and newsfeeds anymore. At least now I choose which news to read.

I have finally reached the point when I don’t care about how others live their lives, nor about what others think of me. But I do care about how their lives impact others’. And I know that the majority of the people I know have more than they need and that they should give more back and be more responsible towards the world we will leave to our children. Because it is not enough to live your own life as a conscient choice; we all should do more for the others and for our world.

When I see around me people who still don’t give a damn about recycling and about climate change, it makes me sick. If my son could learn about recycling when he was two, why do grown-ups continue to be so stupid and ignorant? I am sick and tired of being asked why I don’t eat meat anymore. I am tired of getting the looks because I forbade my son’s kindergarten to give him breakfast and lunch because I had doubts about the provenience of the food. I don’t do the groceries if I don’t have my own non-plastic bags with me. I have given up to-go coffee (for the record, the coffee I make in a Turkish copper coffee pot on the stovetop at home is still the best there is in my opinion). I buy as much as I can products made of recycled paper and avoid buying products with lots of unnecessary packaging. I always buy twice before buying anything. We have switched to energy-saving lightbulbs in our home. We eat most of our meals at home, not only because of the health benefits, but also for avoiding ready-made meals which have a high carbon price tag. We have taught our son how to plant a tree. I rarely put foot in shops anymore because I go berserk when I see all the waste and it is mind-boggling how on earth all these clothes chains still thrive – on a side note, I am buying much less than before, my wardrobe is more streamlined than ever, but it also looks better than it has ever had (and I can not wait to bring you more true style stories here on the site). We recycle, recycle, recycle (including textiles). I am tired of giving explanations. Why don’t you get informed? If a family with two little kids can live without plastic, why can not each one of us make more of an effort?

I want to live with intention and I want my family to experience that feeling of freedom and satisfaction you have when you are on the top of the mountain more often. I need to be closer to nature, I need open spaces, simplicity, a true sense of community. That’s what I’m striving for. That’s what it’s all about.

Posted by classiq in Books, Crafts & Culture, Film | | 4 Comments

Final Round-Up: The Best Films of the Year

Before the year ends, I would like to highlight the latest good movies of the year I have seen. I have written about the rest of my best movie picks here, with the mention that La enfermedad del domingo (Sunday’s Illness) remains my favourite so far, and with the regret I haven’t yet had the chance to watch Free Solo, The Favourite and Capharnaüm.

Shoplifters | AOI Promotion, Fuji Television Network, GAGA

Shoplifters, directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda

Hirokazu Kore-eda’s films, through their simplicity, gentleness, quiet beauty and family portrayals, always remind me of Yasujirō Ozu’s. And this year’s Palme d’Or winner, “Shoplifters”, reminded me once again that there is a sensibility to Japanese cinema that you will not encounter anywhere else in the world. The way Kore-eda observes family life, his approach both intensive and humane, both acute and amusing, you feel an instant connection with his characters. Because the emotions they transmit are instantly and universally comprehensible. Petty theft is the main source of income of Osamu Shibata (Lily Franky) and his family. They are all liars and cheats and thieves to some degree. They live crowded together in a ramshackle house in Tokyo. It’s a family that society has forgotten and shoplifting seems to be their way to pay back the society for all their wrongs. But there is something else about this film that lingers. The warmth and nurturing love this far from perfect family are capable of questions the very notion of what makes a family. It is devastating, without being melodramatic, and uplifting at the same time.

The Sisters Brothers | Why Not Productions, Page 114, Annapurna Pictures

The Sisters Brothers, directed by Jacques Audiard

I have to admit that what raised my interest in this film, a Western set in 1851, starring Joaquin Phoenix, John C. Reilly (the standout of the film), Jake Gyllenhaal and Riz Ahmed, was the fact that it was directed by a French auteur, Jacques Audiard. This is his first film in English. And it’s a Western. I was expecting it to be different. Good different. And it is. First of all, the movie looks good (they made use of a lot of natural light), thanks in part to the director of photography, Benoît Debie, and to the beautiful scenery (it was filmed in Romania and Spain). Secondly, it’s a character-rich Western; interesting characters with imperfect souls. There’s an offbeat tone, and the dream of the Old West, and greed, for sure (the backdrop is the Gold Rush), and dark comedy in it.

Widows | Regency Enterprises, See-Saw Films, Film4

Widows, directed by Steve McQueen
After a heist goes catastrophically wrong, killing all the men involved in it, their wives (Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, plus Cynthia Erivo as a woman pulled into their midst) are forced to pull off their own robbery to settle their late husbands’ debts. Steve McQueen’s Widows is not your typical heist, mere genre movie though. But it is not a rallying cry for female empowerment either. I liked that. A lot. It focuses on the job that needs to be done, while at the same time not letting go of important issues such as politics, race, class, gender, religion, violence, grief. There is one particular scene, for example, when, in a single take, the camera follows a car from the outside as it carries a white politician, Jack Mulligan (Colin Farrell), from a campaign event in the center of his primarily black district to his home which doubles as campaign headquarters on the residential part of the same district. In that one shot, depicting the rapidly changing neighborhood along the commute, you have a clear view of the reality in Chicago (where the story is set), and in modern-day America, as a matter of fact, of the racial and economical differences. Widows, which McQueen co-wrote with “Gone Girl” author Gillian Flynn, is intense, stark, challenging, and has enough surprises to keep it interesting from start to finish. My favourite kind of action film: one that has something to say, too.
If you are in search of inspiration for living a meaningful and well-cultured life this month and year-round, check all our December stories:

If on a Winter’s Night…: December Playlist

The Most Thoughtful Gift: Pay It Forward with a Book

A Lesson in Style (and Life) from Sissy Spacek

A Passion for Plant Based Food (Just in Time for Christmas): Interview with Therese Elgquist

Living Life as a Conscient Choice: Style Talk with Photographer Nadya Zim

Of course, you can always visit our online shop, inspired by the fascinating world of cinema and by the never-fading beauty of the tangible.

And here is some more movie talk and our film recommendations for the end of the year: Watch A Non-Christmas Christmas Movie This December / The First Good Film of the Year / My Favourite Films of 2018 (Part One)

Wishing you happy holidays! See you in the new year!

Posted by classiq in Film | | Leave a comment

Women of Style: Nadya Zim

Photographer Nadya Zim

It is in our own power to redefine the luxury of fashion. Every person’s choice can make a difference. It is my belief that style and sustainability go hand in hand. So that’s the approach I’ve been taking for a while here on the site and will continue to do so. Especially that I have some incredible women to back me up. Women whom I admire, with a strong sense of self and a genuine sense of style. You can not have enough inspiration when it comes to timelessness and individuality. I thought it important to talk about true style with such a woman in December, a month that is about being kind, doing good, but also about reclaiming your true self, and, why not, about mindful shopping. So here is my style talk with Nadya Zim, photographer and co-founder of The ARTBO magazine.

”Let’s simply buy less.”

What does style mean to you?
Style is my personal way to show what I feel or think right now at this moment. That’s why I don’t have a particular style. Sometimes I want to look like a hippie, sometimes a French chick, sometimes preppy. It all depends on what I have on my mind right now.

Describe your style in three words: Victorian, sweaters, jeans.

You feel your best dressed in: White maxi dress.

Is there anything you never wear and why?
Short skirts. Too old for that (smiles).

Where do you shop mindfully?
In terms of fashion brands, I love Everlane, AmourVert, Doen, Naadam.

Do you apply the same socially conscious philosophy to other aspects of your lifestyle (beauty regimen, homeware, etc)? How else do you live life as a conscious choice?
I am trying. It’s hard, but I always think twice before buying anything. I research. I try to make sure I am not supporting with my dollar something against my views.

What does a good day always start with for you? How important is it for you to put some thought into dressing each and every morning and why?
Honestly, less is more. I don’t have a large wardrobe, so it takes me 10 minutes to get dressed (including make-up). For me, a good day starts with sunrise. I love taking photographs of the first light.

You live in San Francisco and you are a photographer. Has either had an influence on your personal style and how?
Oh, yeah. I am originally from Latvia where I loved wearing high heels. In San Francisco, I almost never wear them. I became more casual and only my love for white blouses, especially with a Victorian touch, saves me from being completely casual.

Let’s linger on a little more on the subject of San Francisco (you know my affinity for the place). It’s December. What is the best thing about San Francisco this time of year?
Crisp air and holiday mood. And layers. Lots of layers. I love wearing a sweater over a shirt, I love jackets, and scarves, hats.

What do the holidays mean to you?
Holiday time means family for me. I love when everybody I love are together like nothing else matters in the world. It’s magical.

I know and share your opinion about the intrusion of technology in our every-day lives and about how people are consumed by their digital devices. What do you do every day to make sure you are more present in the moment?
I am trying to focus on my passions more. Photography, hiking, nature. For me, it’s not a full weekend if I didn’t do any photography or didn’t go anywhere for a hike or at least a long walk. When you’re out there, there is almost never a temptation to look at your phone.

On an end note, what is your one sustainable fashion tip that may help someone else just starting out on their sustainable journey?
Start learning about the items before you buy. An ounce of research is better than a pound of regret.

Some scary numbers:


150,000,000,000: The number of new clothing items produced each year.
2,500,000,000: Pounds of used clothing that end up in landfills each year.
2,100,000: Tons of CO2 emissions produced by the apparel and textile industry each year (second only to the petroleum industry).
Between 70,000,000 and 100,000,000: The number of trees cut down each year to make cellulose fabrics such as rayon and modal.
Synthetic materials like polyester, nylon, and acrylic can take up to 1,000 years to decompose—which means that all of the polyester that has ever been made still exists.


Personally, I stopped buying rayon and other synthetic materials years ago, but still… It’s hard to avoid them completely in this world powered by corporations and mass consumption.

That being said, I am asking you and myself to try doing the following:

Let’s stop supporting companies that produce clothing made of synthetic materials. Of course, if you are buying something made of cotton or wool, it doesn’t mean that this item has a clean history (let’s face it, all these high-end super expensive brands have their hands dirty!). So let’s look for local, “traceable” companies that are transparent about their production. These companies exist! They are here and need your support.

Let’s shop for high-quality clothes that are made to last.

Let’s simply buy less. | Instagram:@nadyazim


Posted by classiq in Interviews, Style | | Leave a comment

A Passion for Plant Based Food (just in Time for Christmas): Interview with Therese Elgquist

The perfect dessert for the festive season: Cinnamon fried winter apples with nutty crumble
photo by Fanny Hansson

She is one of the foremost voices of modern, plant based home cooking. Therese Elgquist is a food creator, food stylist and cookbook author and her simple and approachable yet creative and hearty recipes inspire people to eat better and wiser, to love healthy food and cooking, because, in order to be fully nourished by our food, we must take pleasure in it.

I embraced conscious eating a long time ago, but since my recently switching to a complete non-meat (and almost entirely non-animal diet), after having only occasionally eaten only organic non-red meat and fish for more than twenty years, Therese’s plant-forward food website, Plant based by Thess, has become one of my go-to sources for cooking inspiration, even more so than before. Every new recipe discovered that I want to try out becomes one of the day’s pleasures and it’s a great reminder how, with food, too, less is more.

Because, for me, simple, fresh and healthy really does taste best. And Therese is one of those amazing persons who continue to teach me every day that, no matter what you want or need to cut out, it’s incredible how the seemingly more limited resources can feed your imagination. But also that you should always cherish the moment – that small and meaningful moment of preparing food with love and care, by your own hand, and sharing it with the people you love. Because food is not only the best medicine, but it’s also about wholesome and togetherness and about returning to the simpler aspects of life and to what makes you happy.

I have recently talked to Therese about her food philosophy, about the importance of nourishing both your body and soul and about her dream dinner guest. In our interview, she also shares a few favourite holiday recipes (which will certainly be part of my family’s holiday menu) and the latest good movies she’s seen. That’s all I could ask for, just in time for Christmas.

”I’ve never felt so free and at ease
as when I started to live without all my rules.”


Therese Elgquist photographed by Fanny Hansson

Since when have you been nurturing your passion for food and where did you learn to cook?
I’ve been working with food for almost 4 years now. It started with an internship at one of the biggest food magazines in Sweden, after which I knew EXACTLY what I wanted to do: Share my plant based passion and food philosophy in every way possible. I’ve always been cooking. Growing up in a family where food is love and to gather around food was something we did daily, cooking came naturally.

What sparked your interest in healthy food and plant-forward cooking? Is there anything in particular that has influenced your view of self-nourishment or self-care? What is your philosophy on food and living well?
Plant based food is so very creative – and as a creative person I found that cooking with plants was yet another way for me to get a creative outlet! I’ve always been pretty health conscious, coming from a home where most foods were made from natural ingredients. During quite a few years I suffered from different eating disorders and over exercising; that was a time when I was eating an extremely strict diet and lots of foods where “strictly prohibited”. Today my philosophy on living well has to do both with nourishing your body with nourishing food, instead of living by rules, to practice self care and self love + taking time to rest and be a free person. I’ve never felt so free and at ease as when I started to live without all my rules. Also, my philosophy is all about adding as much greens to your food as possible, both because it does your body (gut and mind) good, but also because it’s DELICIOUS and, more often than not, makes the planet happier.

Have you had any challenges along the way, any set-backs, since you started out down this road? If so, how did you overcome those?
To be honest, some days it feels really scary to go this road. To create my own business, follow my dream and feeling comfortable I’m on the right path. Sometimes a few days can pass without much at all happening – and then I think “okay, that was it. Is was fun while it lasted”. Especially in the beginning, I had to deal with this feeling quite often, but then, as the years have passed by, I’ve learned that those feelings will come every now and then – probably for all people. And that I can watch them, not letting them affect me in a bad way but rather see them as fuel. And then again I remember how much I love to do what I do, how much it gives me and how happy I am to get the chance to inspire and share my philosophy to so many people.

A hearty seasonal salad: Roasted butternut squash and parsnip salad
photo by Agnes Maltesdotter

What’s the difference between animal and plant-based protein? Are there plant-based foods that are complete protein sources on their own? What should a vegan pay special attention to when it comes to their daily dietary intake?
Both animal and plant based protein are made up by amino acids in different combinations; the difference is that in animal protein you’ll find enough of the essential amino acid which we need to get from our food in one type of protein (for example, in one piece of fish). In general, this is not the case when it comes to plant based protein – though it is easily solved by combining different kinds of plant protein throughout the day! ​​Buckwheat (editor’s note: here is a great buckwheat snack), hemp seeds and soy are a few sources of complete plant based protein. The most important thing is to eat a wide range of different veggies, legumes, seeds, nuts, leaf greens and cereals. And to eat enough! As unrefined plant based food generally contains less calories than, for example, animal products, you’ll need to eat more to reach your daily intake goals. It’s when you eat as much calories as your body needs that the protein can serve as building rocks to repair and build up all the cells in your body and other things we want the protein to do in our bodies.

Can you tell me the five plants with the highest protein content?
Nuts, seeds, legumes and cereals have a great protein content, for example:
Soy (plain beans/tofu/tempeh)
Hemp seeds
Cacao (!)

How much attention do you pay to the fruit/legumes/veggies/grains/nuts proportions in your daily menu? And how do you approach each meal? What’s the most important meal of the day for you?
To be honest, I’ve never weighed my food or though about the proportions that much at all. I make sure to fill my plate with a wide range of plant based stuff and eat until I’m full and that works very well! I find all meals to be equally important! I love my breakky as much as I really need my proper lunch and afternoon snack. Also, I love rounding up the day with a nice and light meal at home.

What’s your go-to snack?
Bliss balls or smoothies.

Your recipes are so approachable, yet creative and educational. What is your process when it comes to recipe development?
Thanks! I often start with one or a couple of plats that I want to create the dish out of. Then I add bits and pieces to create a complete dish – both when it comes to nutrition and textures/flavours! I let the seasons, what I’m craving at the moment and what I have at home guide me!

White bean dip with mushrooms and herb pesto | photo by Fanny Hansson


”My grandmother would be my dream dinner guest.
Also, I’d love to invite Jamie Oliver for a plant based feast.”

Do you have a favourite food memory?
Actually, I don’t think so, I don’t have a particular one that comes to mind. But what I do know is that my most precious food memories have to do more with where, with whom and in which context I’ve enjoyed the meal – rather than exactly what I ate. Of course I’ve had lots of great experiences with fantastic food, but the most memorable food memories would be the times I’ve enjoyed food cooked with loved ones served during picnics, family Friday dinners, breakfast at a beach somewhere, etc.

What are the ingredients you can not live without? And is there anything in particular you are looking forward to incorporating into your recipes this cold season?
Nutbutters! I have lots of different kinds at home. Love them! Plus whole nuts and seeds, too. Also, I love all types of brassica.

What is the one thing you can not start the day without? Do you drink coffee and in what form? If not, what is your drink of choice in the morning?
Hm, nothing really, think I’m quite flexible even though I like waking up with my routines. I really like to start the day with a workout or just a walk. I don’t drink coffee, and I never have since I don’t like the taste. But I love my cup of tea or some days I have a golden oat latte!

Are there any particular supplements, herbs, or tinctures/tonics that you take regularly and find to be helpful with your energy level and general wellness?
I like matcha and maca for my hot drinks. Then I take B12 supplements (that’s basically the only thing that is hard to get from an all plant based diet) and also vitamin D supplements during the dark period of the year as we don’t see the sun enough here in the north to get the amount we need from the sun. From time to time I also take Dong Quai, a Chinese herb that is supposed to be balancing for the hormone system.

Berry smoothies and coconut chia bowl with granola | photo by Therese Elgquist

What is your idea of beauty?
Both internal and external – but I think I see the two as different kinds of beauty! Internal beauty is what lies beneath what you first see when meeting a person. It’s the inner beauty that really touches me when meeting someone I like being around. With that being said, as well as paintings/views/things can be beautiful to watch I’d say that the external view of a human – in say a photo – could also be beautiful to watch – even if you wouldn’t know anything about that person’s inner beauty.

Do you have any beauty tips you’ve found to be especially useful throughout the years?
Have enough sleep! Also, eat nourishing food and find the beauty products that work for you and your skin. For example, I like using natural oils for my face, and not just creams.

Do you consider plant-based eating to be the single most important change you’ve made to your routine or lifestyle in terms of wellness? What is your advice to someone starting out on the same path?
Starting to eat plant based food wasn’t really a big change for me – it’s been a transition going on during the last 10 years or so! So it’s hard to see any particular change, I just know that I feel very good, satisfied and happy with eating a plant based diet!

​My advice would be to maybe read a bit about plant based food. Find a cookbook that resonates with you, it could be good to know your basic ingredients, etc., when starting to cook plant based food. I’ve written two cook books: The New Green Protein (available in Swedish, Dutch, French, Norwegian and German – the last 4 with different titles) and The New Green Salad (available in Swedish and next year also in Dutch). Start by exploring new ways to cook with the veggies you’re used to. Then, when you feel comfortable with a bunch of new recipes, you can start to incorporate new veggies in the dishes. Without even thinking about it, you’ll soon have a whole new knowledge about the plant based world – and planning for and cooking plant based food will be easy peasy.

Speaking of your cook books, I have to admit that, as much as I enjoy your recipes on your website, I’ve always found leafing through a cook book to be a different, special kind of thing. And I would love to have one of your books on my kitchen shelf. Will they be available in English sometime in the future?
I really hope they will be in the future! I’m happy that you like my recipes, and I agree on the cook books being a special thing. Love cook books myself.

Pumpkin and coconut soup with rocket and roasted pumpkin seeds | photo by Therese Elgquist

Living well is not just about the nourishment of food. What else do you do on a daily basis to feel and look your best?
Being active! I’ve just found the love in CrossFit – it’s SO much fun! I spend as much time as I can at the crossFit box, and then I run in between the workouts. Then I walk almost everywhere, standing up most of the days – if not in the kitchen when cooking also when I’m at my office writing articles, recipes, etc. Also, I’m starting most mornings with 10-20 minutes of meditation and my self care beauty routine. Other than that, I make sure to nourish myself with the company of people that I love, resting as much as I need and SLEEPING! I love sleeping!

What’s your special go-to recipe for the holiday season?
Filling a baking tray with seasonal veggies (pumpkin, kale, carrots, brussels sprouts) which I roast in the oven until soft and slightly crisp around the edges – yet al dente. Then I’d toss it all with some cooked cereals – for example cooked naked oats or sorghum – and a mustard vinaigrette. I’d add some toasted seeds for crunch, and some dried apricots for sweetness. Then I’d mix a saffron hummus with Swedish yellow peas to go with the hearty salad. And maybe I’d also make a quick kale pesto!

What about the dessert? Would you mind sharing a perfectly healthy treat that tastes every bit (and bite) indulgent for the up-coming holidays?
Of course – I’d love to share a bunch! Starting with the perfect Christmas breakky: my saffron scones with coconut yoghurt! On my website you’ll find more seasonal recipes (ed. note: like cinnamon fried winter apples with nutty crumble or these almond and apricot bliss balls with winter spices ).

Therese’s Christmas breakfast of choice: Saffron scones with coconut yoghurt
photo by Jonny Lindh


”Don’t take life too seriously. Do what makes you happy.
Be kind, loving and unpretentious.”

Tell me a favourite family Christmas tradition:
The days before Christmas our family spends together walking in the old parts of the town, visiting Christmas markets, having lunch and just spending time together. The day before Christmas we spend at home, cooking great food, write Christmas cards, listening to Christmas music and having lots of “fika”. I really love those days!

What is your favourite thing to do in Gothenburg and which you would miss if you lived anywhere else in the world?
Just hang out, chill and live; spend time by the water, in the woods, have a fika at a cosy café and cook dinner at home. My family and friends would be the one thing I’d miss most if living abroad!

Your dream dinner guest is:
I always say my grandmother when I get this question, as I’ve never met her because she passed away when my dad was young. I would find it interesting to meet a person who had such an impact on my dad – and furthermore on myself! I’m really into understanding how people work, and what affects us to become who we are, etc. So, it would be great to meet her.

Also, I’d love to invite Jamie Oliver for a plant based feast. (ed.note: I’d love to hear how that goes!)

Words you live by:
Don’t take life too seriously. Do what makes you happy. Be kind, loving and unpretentious.

I am a cinephile and I have to ask: is there any particular film you keep coming back to, one that has influenced you creatively, personally or both?
Interesting question! I actually don’t see that many films, mostly because I find it hard to be still for that long time. Going to the cinema works, but I hardly watch films at home. The films I do like though, and the ones that affect me, would be the films that are based on a true story. Films about a person and their life, especially films where you get to follow the person for some time. I like to see films which make my mind wander off to experience that particular place or time for a couple of hours. Then, I’ll always love a beautiful love story, and films with music that resonates with me!

Then what’s the latest movie that you’ve watched at the cinema and loved?
I saw Bohemian Rhapsody just a week ago and really liked it. Also, a few weeks ago I saw A Star Is Born – liked that one very much as well!

I loved A Star Is Born very much, too, but haven’t had the chance to see Bohemian Rhapsody yet. One last question now: What makes you happy at the end of the day?
To be with the people that I love and make me feel happy. Talking, cooking and sharing thoughts on life – or the last movie we saw!

The New Green Protein cookbook | photo by Therese Elgquist


Plant based By Thess | Instagram: @plantbasedbythess


Posted by classiq in Beauty & Beautiful Living, Interviews, The Makers | | Leave a comment

A Lesson in Style from Sissy Spacek

Sissy Spacek photographed by Christian MacDonald for Interview Magazine

My Extraordinary Ordinary Life. I am yet to read Sissy Spacek’s autobiography, but that great title alone offers all the reasons I need to want to read it. Being humble despite tremendous talent, dismissing disposable glamour for genuine character and unflinching dedication to her craft, having tenacity in an industry that can prop you up or make you come crashing down, eschewing Hollywood for farm life in Virginia, maintaining a low profile in the media despite forming a famous couple with production designer and director Jack Fisk (they have been married since 1974), valuing and protecting her privacy thus making the public respect it too. And there is another reason why I wish I had known about the book a little earlier so that I could have gifted it to myself this month. It’s December and I guess one of the things we reflect upon this time of year is the concept of home. I’m expecting this to be one of the things to take away from Spacek’s memoir, and I am not necessarily referring to the term in the physical sense, but rather in the sense of belonging.

Sissy Spacek | The Riker Brothers/Netflix

And if that was not a big enough lesson in style, Sissy Spacek, 68, is beautiful to look at, too, channeling a tomboyish elegance that she sticks to. It usually involves a black blazer with its sleeves and collar turned up, often paired with a classic shirt with its sleeves also rolled up. The extraordinary beauty of simplicity.

In the introduction to the interview that Andy Warhol conducted with the actress (she made her film debut with a minor role in Warhol’s 1971 Women in Revolt) for Interview Magazine in 1977, it said: “Sissy is wearing a black, wool gabardine, man-tailored pantsuit, a blue and white check, cotton shirt, and no makeup.” More than forty years later, it’s still her signature look. It’s her uniform and she owns it, just like she owns her craft. And that’s another thing I want to remember in December: own your style.

Sissy Spacek at the Premiere of Netflix’s “Bloodline” at Westwood Village Theatre, Westwood, California, 2016 | 
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Through a career that took her from Texas small town Quitman to New York City and to the 1970s Hollywood, Sissy Spacek’s performing art has established her as a trailblazer in the world of film. She began as a singer in 1967, when she arrived in New York, but being a musician was not to be for her. As life would have it, after pursuing acting instead, she would win the Oscar and be nominated for a Grammy for impersonating the country music singer Loretta Lynn in Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980), followed by the release of her own country album, “Hangin’ Up My Heart”. Sissy’s impressive filmography includes Terrence Malick’s Badlands (1973), Robert Altman’s 3 Women (1977), Costas Gavras’ The Missing (1982), Oliver Stone’s JFK (1991) and David Lynch’s The Straight Story (1999).

Jack Fisk, Spacek’s husband, is an old friend and long-time collaborator of David Lynch, and Fisk and Spacek both backed Lynch up at the beginning of his filmmaking career. The way Sissy Spacek remembers those beginnings in David Lynch’s autobiography, Room to Dream, lingers on in my memory: “I’ve always felt grateful that I met them at a time in my life and career when they were able to influence me. David and Jack are artists through and through – they throw themselves into every aspect of their work, they would never sell out, ever, and they love creating things.” But I think that’s something she already had in herself.

Sissy Spacek’s new film, The Old Man and the Gun, where she plays alongside Robert Redford, is out now.

Left: Sissy Spacek, Vanity Fair, November 2018
Right: Sissy Spacek photographed by Lynne Brubaker


Posted by classiq in Style | | Leave a comment